Housing Improvment Task Force Activities
Foundation Area 1
The Helena Gardens Foundation Area 1 project, located between Bandera and Canoga Streets and Monte Vista and Helena Avenues, is comprised of 22 property owners and 154 units. Helena Gardens, the City's first Foundation Area was a winner of the Helen Putnam Award in 1991. As a condition of Agency assistance in 1989, the property owners in this area were required to execute Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and Owner Participation Agreements (OPAs) with the Redevelopment Agency. The property owners subsequently incorporated the Helena Gardens Property Owners' Association and brought all the apartment units up to the "5-Star" rating as defined by the City's Housing Improvement Task Force. Once 100 percent of the property owners signed the necessary documents, Agency-funded gating and landscape improvements began. These improvements were completed during the 1991-92 Fiscal Year.
The Association Board of Directors and Code Enforcement personnel continue the routine inspections of the Medeco locks, rear-building lights, and the standardized set of “House Rules” and policy for mandatory tenant screening practices. The Board of Directors has determined that strict tenant screening practices is the key to the continued success of the Helena Gardens Owners’ Association.Foundation Area 5
Cobblestone Village Foundation Area 5 consists of 195 apartment units owned by 26 property owners. The units are located between Bandera and Canoga Streets, and Helena and Ramona Avenues. The program utilized approximately $500,000 in Redevelopment Agency and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to construct landscape and hardscape improvements. The improvements consist of walls, fencing, security gates, signage, trash enclosures, and new perimeter landscaping. The apartment owners have formed a property owners' association and executed CC&Rs prior to the construction of the hardscape and landscape improvements.
The Cobblestone Village Owners' Association continues to hold monthly meetings. These meetings provide property owners an opportunity to gather together to troubleshoot and brainstorm issues related to the association and environs.
Foundation Area 10
After years of working with the owners in Foundation Area 10, construction improvements began in Fiscal Year 1996-97. Foundation Area 10, hereafter referred to as Montclair Meadows, consists of the 10300-10400 block of Pradera Avenue, a cul-de-sac bounded on the north by Kingsley Street. The neighborhood includes 40 apartment units and a single-family dwelling, owned by 14 property owners.
Problems in Montclair Meadows included deteriorated landscaping, lack of screened trash enclosures, and a general lack of quality and identity for the area. The recently constructed neighborhood improvements include new common landscaping and irrigation, decorative pavement and walks, masonry trash enclosures, and identification signage. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Agency funds in the amount of approximately $350,000 were utilized for the Montclair Meadows improvements.
Foundation Area 11
The Foundation Area 11 neighborhood includes the multifamily properties located north of the I-10 Freeway, east of Mills Avenue, south of San Jose Street, and west of Ramona Avenue. The alley improvements that were completed in Fiscal Year 2001-02 have made a tremendous visual and practical impact. The previous drainage problems were addressed and the alleys—and the overall neighborhood—have a cleaner appearance. For over five years the City/Agency worked with the property owners in effectuating these improvements. The cost of the entire project was approximately $700,000.
The Phase 1 improvements included alley repaving, curb and gutter construction, construction of trash enclosures, and the paving of parking areas in all three alleys. Specific trash enclosure-construction and the paving of parking areas were only included on those properties in which the owners had executed an Owners Participation Agreement (OPA) with the City of Montclair Redevelopment Agency. The OPAs commit the property owners to formation of a future owners association in exchange for further property improvements (Phase 2 improvements). Through formation of an owners association, the property owners will be responsible for screening prospective tenants using City/Agency-developed standards, and maintaining their properties to the City's 5-Star Standards.
Construction of Phase 2 improvements requires full participation of all the property owners in the targeted area. Phase 2 improvements are proposed to include the installation of extensive landscaping improvements, fencing construction, security gates, and monument signage. Combined, these elements will tie the properties together as one cohesive (and well-designed) neighborhood. Property owner participation for the targeted Foundation Area is currently 80 percent. City/Agency has begun the process of developing the CC&Rs and hopes to have formation of the owners association completed by the end of Fiscal Year 2004-05.
Amherst Avenue Improvement Project
The Montclair Housing Corporation was involved in the substantial rehabilitation of five of the nine multifamily properties purchased by the Agency on Amherst Avenue, which was completed in October 2003. Construction was funded through a loan to the Montclair Housing Corporation from the Agency's Housing Fund. The project, which took years in the making, was a comprehensive undertaking that is bound to have future positive benefits to the surrounding properties as well as the neighborhood block as a whole.
During the course of the years 1998 through 2003, the Redevelopment Agency acquired a total nine four-plexes on Amherst Avenue. Staff began working with a development group to discuss the development of an element of the San Antonio Gateway project that may include the substantial rehabilitation of apartments and a build-out of numerous vacant properties adjacent to the Agency-owned properties. With a real potential to develop existing vacant and underutilized properties, it was staff's recommendation that the rehabilitation construction project only include five of the eight Agency-owned properties. It was recommended that the construction project include all the properties located on the east side of Amherst Avenue and one property located on the west side of the street at 4275 Kingsley Street. This property is located on the southwest corner of Amherst Avenue and Kingsley Street and is integral to the project in that it is on the corner and will serve as an entry statement into the neighborhood. The neighborhood is sometimes referred to as Foundation Area 9.
The construction project included the following items:
- Removal and replacement of existing hardscape.
- Reconstruction of existing second-story landings for the properties located at 10313, 10323, and 10333 Amherst Avenue.
- Installation of landscape irrigation and extensive landscape planting.
- Demolition of the existing swimming pools at the properties located at 10313, 10323, and 10333 Amherst Avenue.
- Construction of wood fencing and slump stone perimeter walls.
- Exterior painting of the buildings.
The landscape designs links all five properties together through a complementary planting design. The planting materials, hardscape, and building paint colors are repeated throughout the properties thereby creating a unifying project. Play areas for the children were incorporated into the design plan making it unique to the neighborhood.
A total of 32 families have benefited from the plethora of rental opportunities made possible by this project. The project has had an enormously positive effect on the neighborhood. The once eyesores have been replaced with generous landscaping and hardscape design elements. An Open House was held in October 2003 to introduce the project to the public.
For additional information, please contact Christine S. Caldwell, Assistant Housing Director, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (909) 625-9413.