Saying the city needs more time for community input, the Sacramento City Council this week postponed picking a private developer for its planned overhaul of the Alder Grove and Marina Vista low-income housing projects in northwest Land Park.
The council decision Tuesday came after area residents complained they had not been adequately included in the planning process or told what housing officials have in mind for the site.
The council instructed City Manager John Shirey and officials at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency which oversees the 751-unit project to come up with a new process that combines the housing project remake with other city development plans for the broader neighborhood, including the industrial area to the west, the Broadway commercial strip and the nearby Sacramento riverfront.
Shirey said he wants residents, the city and housing officials to come up with a shared vision "to build a new neighborhood in Sacramento that is close in (to downtown)" and that offers children in that area a better chance to advance out of poverty.
SHRA has proposed knocking down the aging World War II vintage housing units at Alder Grove and Marina Vista, formerly called New Helvetia and Seavey Circle. The projects house 2,500 people.
The plan is to replace those buildings with new low-income units and allow all current residents to return. The new development, however, would not be a stand-alone low-income complex.
Instead, using private development dollars, city and SHRA officials say they hope to mix in new market-rate housing including owner-occupied units on the 68-acre site and possibly surrounding area, creating an economically integrated neighborhood.
SHRA, the city's low-income housing agency, had initially asked the council on Tuesday to OK exclusive negotiations with a private development team led by Related Companies of California, a low-income housing builder.
Officials agreed, however, it is too early to take that step.
"I do think that you don't really have any choice at this point, frankly, but to take a timeout and almost start over," Shirey said.
City staff is expected to bring a progress report to the council in early January.