NORTH SACRAMENTO -- A neighborhood is standing together against what many residents view as an unwelcome addition to their community.
A San Diego developer plans to bring new affordable housing to North Sacramento by adding a 128-unit apartment complex to Arden Way.
Sondra Bentancourt is one in a group of nearly 20 neighborhood association leaders and business owners who signed a letter opposing the project
“We care, we care very deeply about what happens to our community,” she told FOX40.
She said the two, four-story apartment buildings planned to replace the Lumberjack site will cause more harm than good in the area by concentrating low-income residents in North Sacramento instead of spreading them out across wealthier parts of town.
"It just appears as though we had developers that are trying to push new developments to line their own pockets rather than considering what the needs are of the area, what the character is of the area and what will actually enhance our quality of life,” Bentancourt said.
Those in opposition to the plan also raised questions about why community input wasn’t considered in the project’s proposal and why the site was exempt from routine environmental testing.
“Why are you trying to rush this? Yes, we need housing, but we don’t need to put people on possibly poisoned land that may need more mediation, more testing done,” said Billie Boothe, who is the president of the Dixieanne Community Association.
Despite the wave of resistance, Councilman Allen Warren believes the planned facility in his district could new bring opportunity to an underdeveloped part of town.
“I think there’s a shortage of housing, including affordable housing and housing for the homeless. And I think we need to be open to good projects,” Warren said.
Councilman Warren said he’s hopeful that the new development will drive new investment to the area.
“And you have to remember that retail likes to be in a place where there are rooftops or housing units,” he told FOX40.
Construction is set to begin in December 2020, with many neighbors hoping the city conducts an environmental assessment of the space before they break ground.
Community HousingWorks, the nonprofit behind the Arden Way project, reached out to FOX40 Thursday. As far as concerns about contamination, the nonprofit tells FOX40 the lot was cleared and checked but they plan to do additional remediation if necessary.
They say they have been taking part in community outreach since November through public meetings and separate conversation with leaders of nearby neighborhood associations.
The nonprofit says the new complex will have units ranging from studio to three-bedroom apartments. It will also feature a walking trail, organic community garden, pool and outdoor play place for kids.
"This project is developed with seniors and families in mind," the nonprofit said.