Summary of Visit of Councilman Moreno to Anaheim
Senior Center “Regarding the Open Space Adjacent to the Downtown Anaheim Community Center (DACC)”
By: Bob Prichard
Councilman Jose Moreno was welcomed at 1 pm on January 17th in the Senior Center lounge area of the DACC. Councilman Moreno was elected in November to the City Council representing of Council District 3 (the downtown area including the area where the DACC is located). Nearly 100 people were present for the meeting.
Councilman Moreno addressing questions from the audience (left), and Andy Vogel of the Anaheim Housing Authority on the right.
Councilman Moreno was first asked if he was to vote today on the sale of the 3.03 acres adjacent to the DACC to builder Brookfield, knowing what he knows so far about the project, how he would vote, and he said would vote against the sale. He went on to say that he favors open spaces, and that in the past his two older daughters played soccer on the grass area next to the DACC parking lot.
Drawing showing the lots that make up the 3.03 acres, and the six lots that make up the DACC parking lot:
The property is owned by the Anaheim Housing Authority (AHA), is zoned for housing, and it would need to have the
zoning changed to parks if it were to be sold to the City and left to be used as it is presently used.
Andy Vogel, (employed by the AHA) project manager for the Brookfield town homes, said that the plan, so far, adds 25 parking spaces south of the existing 15 handicapped spaces that are next to the DACC entrance from the parking lot.
Philadelphia St. would be extended to go over to Center St., and so there would be a total of 40 parking spaces would be along Philadelphia. Obviously this is of no significant help since the entire parking lot would be gone.
Vogel said he thought that if the parking lot were removed from the plan, that Brookfield would most likely say no to the project because of the decreased value. When asked if Brookfield would consider looking at other properties owned by the Anaheim Housing Authority, he said he didn’t think so because of the investment Brookfield had already made in the proposed project. Also that if the town homes project were to be approved that the various requirements of the permitting process, entitlements, environmental, etc., would take five or six months.
Mr. Vogel also said that the Brookfield town homes would be very much like the Domain Condos built in Anaheim in 2015.
The Domain was described as gated and secure housing, with a pool, the building is 3 stories with a two car garage on the first floor, and stairs leading up to the living quarters on the upper two floors. A common problem with the two car garages is one of them get used for storage, and those home owners with two cars end up parking the second car on nearby streets.
Rendering of Anaheim Community Square from the Anaheim.net website of the proposed building(s) that would make up the 100 town homes on the 3.03 acres:
During the nearly 2.5 hours of the meeting many speakers, some with canes and walkers, stated in strong terms they did not want the parking lot to be sold and used for constructing town homes. That under no circumstances would they be willing to park in the two multi-level parking structures near the DACC. Two speakers challenged Councilman Moreno to make a “fierce” commitment to support the seniors in the parking lot dispute with the City’s Housing Authority and Brookfield. One father was adamant that his kids needed the park as an open space to play in.
Many other subjects were discussed including the City Council elections, street parking problems in various neighborhoods, high housing density (especially in the neighborhood around the DACC), the homeless, crime in the city, the impact of new housing on local schools, etc.
Near the end of the meeting Mr. Vogel, who took copious notes, said he would meet with the developer Brookfield, discuss what had been discussed and suggested and demanded at the meeting and would get back to us in about 30 days with several options.
Councilman Moreno summarized the discussion and audience input at the end of the meeting as follows:
• The parking lot is essential for users of the DACC
• The parking structures are not a good alternative
• The City should buy the 3.03 acre property, and not develop it
• The grass area is an essential open space
• That we should meet again in 30 days to review Mr. Vogel’s options