RANCHO PENASQUITOS (NEWS 8) - Residents of an affordable housing complex on Wednesday packed a planning board meeting in Rancho Penasquitos to fight to save their homes from being demolished.
Developers want to knock down Rancho Penasquitos Village along Carmel Mountain Road and replace it with primarily high-end apartments - leaving more than 300 low-income residents having to find new affordable places to live.
The Planning Board on Wednesday 9 to 5 in favor of the new development plan that would include 28 low-income rental units. The rest the over 600 renting units would be higher-end market rate housing that would be out of reach for most Rancho Penasquitos Village residents.
"Think about what your doing," Rancho Penasquitos Village resident Velma Smith said. "It's not just about tearing down a building. It's ruining people's lives."
Felix Tinkov, an attorney for the property developer, Lennar Homes, spoke at the Wednesday meeting.
"This is going to be a massive improvement for the community, nearly doubling the housing opportunities available to it," Tinkov stated.
Residents aren't giving up, though. Many, including supporters, showed up to the meeting to voice their discontent.
Father Anthony Saroki said that according to the local community plan, the land is supposed to be reserved for low-income residents.
"I don't know what they intend, but what it says is 'We don't want poor people in Penasquitos.'"
Velma Smith thinks the mayor should intervene.
"The mayor's talking about taking care of the homeless, well then step up to the plate and don't let them do this," Smith said. "Otherwise you're going to have a heck of a lot more homeless people."
The property owner, Atlantic-Pacific Properties, has claimed it has have already helped 70 residents find new places to live and maintains they are "trying to be good neighbors."