Like many of the residents of District 6, I’m disappointed that the Anaheim City Council overruled the neighbors surrounding the Serrano Center by approving the housing project proposed by John Saunders.
As you know, I’ve been public in my opposition to this project – chiefly because of the potential loss of a vibrant commercial center beloved by the community. Anaheim Hills has so few commercial centers, which makes this loss even more impactful to residents. Because of my vocal and public opposition to the project – both during the election campaign as well as in front the Anaheim Planning Commission, California law required me to recuse myself at the council discussion.
Unfortunately, even if I had been allowed to cast a “no” vote, the project would still have passed with the four “yes” votes from my council colleagues. This is an unintended negative consequence of district elections. Residents opposing a local project are finding it hard to get the support of a majority of council members because most of the council are not directly accountable to them.
Going forward, we’ll be researching options available to change the trajectory of this project, and I hope to share some positive news soon.
It’s also important that we stay involved in the important discussion of housing in California, as we address our critical housing shortage. But let me be clear: state law does not require us to rezone our limited commercial space into residential to meet this need, as was unfortunately done for the Serrano project. However, we will need to be supportive of good projects throughout the city, including those with an affordable housing component.