Senior Housing: Dumosa site slated for senior housing

By Rebecca Unger for Hi-Desert Star

YUCCA VALLEY — To avoid further “analysis paralysis,” Mayor Chad Mayes Nov. 16 led the town redevelopment agency to authorize an exclusive agreement with a nonprofit company to provide senior housing at Dumosa Avenue and Twentynine Palms Highway.

The RDA also authorized staff to propose an agreement for the agency to buy the property from the town of Yucca Valley.

The vote was 3-0-1, with Frank Luckino voting nay and Lori Herbel absent.

Staff last month recommended the redevelopment agency use the 3-acre vacant lot, which the town owns, for senior housing, which the RDA is required to provide.

During his presentation, Town Manager Mark Nuaimi examined three other sites that could also qualify for funding from Housing and Urban Development.

“One of the key criteria for evaluating sites is proximity to amenities,” Nuaimi reminded the agency. “The various funding sources look for amenities that are adjacent to the project we are proposing.”

Qualifying amenities include public parks, libraries, a senior center, grocery stores, medical clinics or hospitals and pharmacies.

The first alternate site was the 8.5-acre Sky Drive-in swap meet.

“In 2007 the agency did an appraisal of $1.2 million,” Nuaimi said. “That didn’t meet the appetite of the owner at the time, so it’s a sizable property with a value that would have to be met.”

Next up were the vacant 5.8 acres behind the Vons shopping center, zoned commercial and valued at $625,000 today.

The third site was 8.7 acres zoned residential off of Airway Avenue, adjacent to the Rite-Aid under construction and the Morongo Basin Transit Center. It is listed at $699,000.

During public comment, longtime Yucca Valley resident Jan Morrison suggested that the proposed 70-unit development be spread out over three different sites.

Michael Hildebrand of Yucca Valley recommended the La Quinta model of buying real estate owned properties for subsidized housing.

Hi-Desert Water District President Sarann Graham found the preferred site “exciting,” and an ideal location for seniors.

Luckino could not be sold on putting housing on the highway in a commercial corridor. “If we build this, we can’t pick it up and move it,” he commented.

Staff informed the agency that so far the only other buyer expressing interest in the land is the neighboring Super Eight Motel, which would use it for big-rig parking.

RDA member George Huntington agreed with Nuaimi’s recommendation.

“The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages,” he said. “That lot has not been sought after in the commercial realm. Why spend money out of what limited funds we have to purchase another property?”

RDA member Dawn Rowe also favored Nuaimi’s site.

“Having a mixed use in our retail area helps those local businesses thrive. Rather than preserve an empty parcel that isn’t returning any money back to our community, I would love to see it bring rooftops because rooftops bring money to invest in our community,” she said.


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