The currently approved Five Lagunas project from 2016, which included 988 multifamily units (and any additional housing if approved in the proposed plan), will help facilitate the redevelopment of the property by replacing obsolete retail space for which there is shrinking demand. The approved housing is consistent with City planning policies and the City will evaluate if additional housing units would be consistent. Generally, by proposing a balance of uses that fill a need in the market, the community benefits by having new vibrant buildings and spaces, productive retail stores, and office spaces that provide jobs in the local economy. Newer multifamily housing provides older existing residents who are looking to downsize the opportunity to remain in Laguna Hills while providing a housing choice for younger residents who can’t yet afford to purchase a home in Laguna Hills. The proposed housing will also help the City meet its housing obligations to the State. In addition, MGP must pay $15,636 per unit in “Quimby Fees.” Quimby Fees are fees authorized by State law which the City collects to build new park and recreation facilities, or rehabilitate existing facilities, when new multi-family residential development occurs. If approved, the project would result in the payment of between $18 million and $23 million in Quimby Fees, depending on the number of units built in the project.
Housing was always anticipated to be included in the Urban Village area, which was analyzed in the City 2009 General Plan update. While the General Plan estimated that an additional 200 units would be built, it also determined that as properties transitioned from one use to another or property owners rebuilt in certain areas (such as the Urban Village), land uses and intensities would gradually shift to align with the intent of the General Plan’s Land Use Element. For the UVSP area, this means creating an urban village consisting of civic, retail, recreational, housing, hotel, medical offices, and general offices (Laguna Hills General Plan, pp. 29-30). Further, the UVSP anticipated that land uses could be interchangeable and that property could be developed to its maximum intensity provided that the UVSP Trip Budget was not exceeded and trip generation impacts created were within acceptable levels identified by the General Plan (UVSP, pp. 35 & 36).
Laguna Hills General Plan & Urban Village Specific Plan
Laguna Hills Municipal Code Chapter 8-06 – https://www.codepublishing.com/CA/ LagunaHills/#!/LagunaHills08/LagunaHills0806.html#8-06