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Patriot Project Military Housing Wins

Posted by KirE Builders Inc on November 4, 2011
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By Julie Pendray
Original Article

The complex described as ‘affordable’ is suggested for an area south of 16th Street, behind McDonald’s.

Veterans and active military would have new housing options in Ramona if a Poway company succeeds in moving its project through the county approval process.

KirE Companies brought its 64-unit complex before the Ramona Community Planning Group, at its meeting at Ramona Library on Thursday night. The project is in the conceptual phase so planning group members were not able to cast a vote on it.

“The county has told us we can’t do that,” chair Jim Piva said.

However, members did give feedback.

“I’m a veteran,” said Angus Tobiason, “so I’m very interested in this. If we have to have low-cost housing here, I’m very much in favor of us veterans having a chance to get it.”

“I like the idea of military housing in our community,” Piva told company representatives Josh Santa and Adam Hutchinson. “I refer to the military housing we already have on 11th Street. It always seems to be clean and quiet. We have some other projects in the community that I couldn’t speak as highly of.”

The density of the housing complex—called the Patriot Project—would be approximately 22 dwelling units per acre and all units would be two-storey, Santa told the group. The type of architecture hasn’t been determined yet, he said.

Santa said he conceived the idea after living in Ramona for a long time.

“I’ve built rentals in Ramona. My best tenants have always been military. They always pay on time. I came up with the idea of having subsidized housing for military and veterans.”

A group called Chelsea Investment Corporation, based in Carlsbad, is working with Santa to help fund the project.

“We propose an affordable housing project,” Erin Montgomery, the project manager, said. “Funding for these types of projects typically comes from a variety of sources, including the county.” The Patriot Project had to come before the planning group as a first stage in seeking county funding, Montgomery said.

Chelsea Investment Corporation has built similar projects in Santee and Lakeside.

“We develop, construct and manage,” she said.

The concept includes services for the residents, which might include enrichment classes or tutoring for children. Security would likely include a gate and fencing, Santa said.

Planning group members cautioned the proponents to consider drainage and parking. The conceptual plan includes 125 parking spaces.

Torry Brean told the developers that Ramona is considering design standards.

“They’re not approved yet, but I recommend you look at ProjectRamona.com,” he said.

Another project came before the planning group Thursday night. This time, it was extra housing for rabbits.

The planning group gave unanimous approval for additional buildings on a property off San Vicente Road, where research rabbits are raised.

Architect Bruce Steingraber of Ramona presented the plans for the Prosci Inc. property to the group.

He said the proposed rabbit coop buildings—totalling 28,800 square feet—would be set about 800 feet back from a private driveway off the road, near Bunny King Lane. The existing building area is about 3,800 square feet.

“You can’t actually see this property from San Vicente,” he said.

Steingraber said the business needs more rabbits due to the demand for HIV research by San Diego companies. He said no actual research would be done on the Ramona property, but rabbits would be shipped to a facility in Poway.

“They inject the rabbits, then take the serum out of the rabbits to inject into people,” he said.

Steingraber said waste from the Ramona property would be collected and hauled off the site every other day and that the odor is a lot less than with other animals.

Thirteen planning group members were present for the meeting. Carl Hickman abstained from the vote.

Before the meeting ended, Piva summed up a recent planning group meeting that included a County presentation on suggested flood control improvements.

“You can see why the problem is the way it is today,” he said. “It is a real mess. I was not aware of how bad it is. It’s a bureaucratic nightmare. The County can come here and make presentations, but their hands are so tied. On top of that, they have no money. I felt that it was a very good presentation that they put on—very informative. The flood control people have about $500,000 for Ramona. There’s going to be a follow-up meeting.

“Kelly Street is number 42 on their priority list,” Piva said. “We have an opportunity to move that up the list and that’s what this body is going to do.”

Planning group secretary Kristi Mansolf reported that County Supervisor Dianne Jacob had offered encouragement when the subject came up at the recent meeting of the Ramona Revitalization Committee.

“She said she wants this on the matrix (of projects),” Mansolf said. “She said that if there’s a road attached to the flooding problem, then that’s good. If there’s a chance to knock off two projects with one project, then she’s encouraging us to do that.”

In other business, Piva mentioned that there’s a status meeting for the emergency evacuation easement in the next 10 days. Mansolf said Jacob reported at the revitalization committee that the project is moving ahead.

“The next thing is the memorandum of understanding between the agencies,” Mansolf said.

“I think it’s a good thing for the community,” Piva said.

He also reported that he’d received an email about a stakeholder meeting with the U.S. Forest Service about Cedar Creek.

“There’s a plan of action, but we’re not to comment on it yet. We will have a follow-up meeting and I attend those meetings.”

Ramona Community Planning Group meets at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday each month, in the Community Room at Ramona Library.

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