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Calexico denies fee waiver to Fresno developer

August 08, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — A Fresno developer asked the City Council here to waive more than $500,000 in sewer and water fees for 200 low-income homes planned for land east of the city near the All-American canal.

After the council decided it wouldn't waive the fees, the developer, Robert Sanders of Fresno-based Affordable Shelters, said he and his partners would just have to "cut the quality of the project."

He walked out of City Hall saying, "We've spent one and a half years on this project!"

Before Sanders left, City Councilman Javier Alatorre told him, "We have a lot of problems here providing essential services. I will not support waiving anything."

Sanders said, "Everybody's got problems."

City Councilman Gilbert Grijalva asked Sanders to tell the employees gathered in City Hall how the council could waive fees for a developer when the city doesn't have the money to pay for all the employees it would like to hire.

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Sanders said, "If you've got other problems here I can't help that."

"You're asking for a lot of money," Grijalva said.

"Yeah, but I'm also going to house a lot of people," Sanders said.

Sanders is proposing to build 96 units of senior housing and 176 units of family housing.

He said rents on the units would be under $400 and be available for those making $6-$8 per hour.

Mayor Victor Carrillo saluted Sanders for his "noble" effort to bring affordable housing to the Calexico area but said the project didn't pass muster on three accounts.

1. It wasn't listed on the agenda as an action item. The City Council couldn't legally vote on his request.

2. The land Sanders wants to build on is county land.

3. "The project hasn't followed the process we need to follow by law," Carrillo said.

Sanders asked, "What sort of timeline are we talking about?"

City Public Works Director Mariano Martinez told the council that Sanders had been advised of the chronology of events he needed to follow.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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