Mission Viejo has entered into a negotiation agreement with Brinshore Development to explore affordable housing at a lot near the Mission Viejo Animal Service Center (Photo by Jeong Park, Orange County Register/SCNG)
A 109-unit apartment complex proposed in Mission Viejo would significantly help meet the city’s affordable housing target set by the state, officials said.
The City Council recently approved a negotiation agreement with Brinshore Development and the two will now spend the next six months determining whether housing is feasible on an approximately 8.5-acre lot by Hillcrest and Center Drive.
Mission Viejo is considered to be 47 units short of its target as of 2018, according to a database from the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
“The city is pretty much built-out,” Mayor Greg Raths said. “We’re more of a city in where if we do build, we’d really like to see it being affordable housing.”
The development, tentatively called “Aspire,” could also address some of the student housing needs at Saddleback College, a half mile or so away. Although Aspire wouldn’t be a campus project, it would set aside units for single parents who are studying at the college, Brinshore Senior Vice President Whitney Weller said.
But she cautioned that the company has yet to flesh out many of the details, such as how many units will be built and how those units will be allocated for different income needs. It’s uncertain if the site is even buildable, she said, given it’s on a steep hillside.
“The site is a bit challenging topographically,” she said. “At this point, we do believe there will be options on how we are going to develop the site, but we are at the very early stage of making that determination.”
The City Council will also need to approve the final development proposal. And, Brinshore is counting on receiving a federal low-income housing tax credit, which is a competitive process. The company expects to apply for the credit in early 2020, Weller said.
If all goes right, Weller said, Brinshore could break ground in fall 2020 and have the apartments open by mid-2022.
The city rezoned the lot, along with two others, for affordable housing in 2007, after the Public Law Center sued Mission Viejo for failing to provide enough housing for low-income residents.
One of the lots became Adagio on the Green at 26600 Oso Parkway. A developer also submitted an application for affordable housing near the Mission Foothill Marketplace, but the property has yet to be developed.