Supervisor Federal Glover put out a press release Tuesday saying that he is opposed to a proposed 49-unit senior complex known as Berrellesa Palms, because it is now slated for very low-income, or Section 8, seniors.
"The residents of Martinez do not need or want another Section 8 project," Glover said in a press release his office issued Tuesday, shortly after he pulled an item off the Board of Supervisors agenda to issue $18 million in bonds to fund the project. "I am pulling this item and sending it back to the Martinez City Council so that residents have the opportunity to weigh in.
"The Martinez City Council needs the opportunity to weigh in on whether they want this approved housing project to be Section 8," Glover added in the release. "If or when it comes to the Martinez City Council for a vote, I will be standing there side by side with Martinez residents in the public hearing voicing my objections."
Though it seemed clear he was opposed to the project from the language in the press release, Wednesday morning Glover's position was more guarded.
“I’m not opposed to the project,” he said Wednesday morning. “If the city and the citizens don’t want a Section 8 project, I certainly won’t be pushing it. If they think they have had enough and they don’t want any more, fine. I’m definitely not in a position to tell them they need more Section 8 housing. That’s for each community to decide.”
Glover said in the release that the city was attempting to “pass on” the controversial project to the county.
“If we had gone forward yesterday (with approval of the bond), we would have made a decision that the city was not in agreement with. The council needs to go back and decide whether they want this project or not, and then send it back to the board.”
Glover said made it appear that the Berrellesa Palms project was a county project.
“This is not the county’s issue,” he said. “This is for the city to decide.”
City Manager Phil Vince denied that the city was trying to pass the issue on to the county.
“The city is not passing it on to him,” Vince said Wednesday. “We weren’t even notified by the county that this was going on the supervisors’ agenda as a consent item. This is their funding mechanism.”
He said city staff has been working for the past six weeks to gather information on the change of the project, from a land use and a legal perspective. So far, he said, there have been no conclusions as to whether the project is still entitled based on the 2010 City Council approval, despite the change in tenant requirements from 30 percent Section 8 tenants to 100 percent.
“We’re not going to know anything until March 21,” Vince said. “I have no idea where it’s going or how these issues are going to be resolved. I don’t think anybody can tell that now.”