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Newport Beach Jerks Throw Hissy Fit Over Housing For Vets & Seniors

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Some residents of Newport Beach are pretty mad about a new, affordable housing project for veterans and seniors, with one claiming that his neighborhood of Newport Shores has become the "dumping ground" for Newport Beach. The Newport Beach City Council voted to spend $4 million total on three affordable housing projects, either by making improvements to existing apartment units or developing new ones, the L.A. Times reports. The City Council decided Tuesday to spend $2 million renovating a 12-unit apartment at 6001 Coast Blvd. in the Newport Shores neighborhood that will ultimately provide seven units for veterans and five for low-income seniors. A manager would live on site.

Some neighbors are upset about the project for several reasons, with dozens showing up at the City Council meeting on Tuesday to express their opposition. Some complained they didn't have enough time to research the project, while others are concerned that the development is close to a park and may change the feel of the neighborhood. Others said that if the money was spent in a different, less expensive neighborhood, it would go towards even more units.

Neighbor Leslie Long said that residents want to help veterans, but want to know more about the project. "It's not about not taking care of our military men; that's not what this negativity is about. It's about the… unknown factors that this project proposes," she said.

Some were more blunt. Brent Duque, a lawyer who has lived in Newport Shores for five years, called the development "the projects of Newport Shores" and said that the neighborhood has "effectively become the dumping ground for Newport Beach," according to the OC Register.

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When the City Council was not moved by their protests, the residents angrily left the meeting, shouting things like, "Don't dump on us!" Mayor Ed Selich was surprised by their behavior. "I've lived in Newport Beach for almost 40 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this," he said.

Councilman Tony Petros, who reps Newport Shores, said that the Council should have given residents more information and more time. However, he also said he supported the project.

The apartment building currently provides month-to-month leases for its residents. Community Development Partners, a company that specializes in affordable housing, is buying the building and plans to start renovating in July, finishing in early 2017. They'll be working with nonprofit Mercy House and the Department of Veteran Affairs, and residents are expected to pay between $500 and $1,012, based on income. The average for a one-bedroom elsewhere in the neighborhood is $2,000/month.

The City Council decided to also provide Habitat for Humanity Orange County with $600,000 to make repairs to 30 homes belonging to low-income seniors. Another $1.5 million will be given to Seaview Lutheran Plaza to rehab a 100-unit building in Corona del Mar that houses low-income seniors.