On Tuesday night, the Buena Park City Council unanimously approved plans to redevelop the Buena Park Mall’s old Sears property to build 1,300 one- to three-bedroom units, studios, and three-story townhomes. The future “Village at Buena Park,” at the corner of La Palma and Stanton Avenue, will make a significant dent in the city’s nearly 9,000 Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) and will include 10% affordable apartments in a city with no inclusionary housing policy.
The redevelopment is said to have 176 units designated to be affordable housing, “with 5% restricted to low-income households and 10% restricted to moderate-income households for a period of 55-years” — it can potentially add 3,000 people to Buena Park’s population.
People For Housing OC (P4H) Live-Tweeted from the City Council meeting to capture the discussion leading up to the City Council decision. Opposition to the redevelopment came with many “Not in My Backyard” (NIMBY) undertones. Many of the NIMBY comments opposed to the project focused on concerns over increases in traffic, public safety, and overall disdain towards having “too many apartments” in Buena Park.
Despite the NIMBY opposition efforts, many people showed support for the redevelopment, citing the benefits more housing will bring to the community to combat low enrollment rates in schools and the need to “build up” to bring progress and change.
The redevelopment will be designed to include walkable paths that will provide convenient access to the shopping mall, providing thousands of more customers to the stores as well as access to public transportation for residents. The site’s access to public transit creates job accessibility for future residents and a community park will be available for public use.
The revitalization brings more opportunities to Buena Park Residents and adds more diverse housing options to the community. It also provides tangible solutions to the housing shortage in California and especially in Orange County, where the housing shortage has created systemic problems impacting communities and residents of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The housing crisis is complex, but an increase in housing production is a big step toward ending the affordability crisis. If the Buena Park City Council were to pass an inclusionary housing policy, more housing and deeper levels of affordability could be produced. Nevertheless, P4H acknowledges the redevelopment of the Sears site as a step in the right direction for pro-housing solutions and for the city.