This article was printed in San Bernardino Sun on April 12, 2018.
An $8.1 million housing complex for low-income veterans has received the green light from the San Bernardino Planning Commission after the developer made changes to address several concerns commissioners raised late last year.
More than six months after the commission denied the project over its compatibility with the neighborhood, architectural design and proximity to another development serving the same purpose, the United States Veterans Initiative, a nonprofit serving military veterans and their families, can move forward with construction.
The three-story complex at 488 W. 17th St. will include 29 one-, two- and three-bedroom units for veterans earning below 61 percent of the average medium income for San Bernardino County.
U.S.VETS officials expect to break ground in late 2019.
“We’re very excited to begin the project and have a home in San Bernardino and become a member of the community,” said Lori Allgood, U.S.VETS vice president and director of housing development. “We appreciate the support we’ve had through the process.”
U.S.VETS redesigned the project earlier this year after city leaders echoed concerns raised by the Planning Commission.
After working with city planners, neighbors and high school students, the nonprofit scrapped the proposed contemporary look for an aesthetic more becoming of the 2nd Ward neighborhood. City leaders reviewed the updated plans in February and sent the project back to the Planning Commission for final approval.
Last month, the project received unanimous support.
“As we are going into a community, we always want to build the best development that suits the community,” Allgood said. “Even though we had a couple hits and misses with the process, we’re definitely pleased that in the end we were able to design a development the community wanted.”
U.S.VETS officials expect to break ground on a similar, 30-unit complex on nearby E Street later this year.
The two San Bernardino developments will not be homeless shelters, but rather safety nets for the 1,300-plus veterans here on the brink of homelessness. The nonprofit has similar facilities in Inglewood, Riverside and Long Beach.
The 17th Street complex will replace a blighted lot across the street from San Bernardino High School.
“Combined,” Allgood said, “the two projects will provide affordable housing for veterans and their families and meet a critical need for housing in the area.”