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Groundbreaking Friday For Orinda Senior Apartments

Dignitaries will wield shovels to dig a hole for the 67-unit affordable housing complex at 2 Irwin Way, Orinda.

Shiny shovels will turn the earth at noon Friday for Orinda's long-awaited senior apartment complex downtown.

Orinda Senior Apartments at 2 Irwin Way will be Orinda's first affordable housing community in 30 years, said Catherine Relucio, communications manager for Eden Housing of Hayward, the manager of the project. It will feature 67 affordable rental apartments in "a quintessential infill site conveniently located in the downtown area, in close proximity to transportation, services and community amenities," states an Eden Housing news release.

The target completion date is June 2014, said Relucio. The name for now is "Orinda Senior Apartments" but authorities are thinking about coming up with a new name. Tell us in the comments below if you have a bodacious idea to name the complex.

At the noon Friday groundbreaking, there will be shovels ready for Orinda Mayor Amy Worth and the City Council, Congressman George Miller, Assembly Member Joan Buchanan, and other dignitaries.

Amenities at Orinda Senior Apartments will include:

  • on-site management offices.
  • a large community room with a full kitchen.
  • an exercise room.
  • a library/computer center.
  • laundry facilities.
  • a courtyard with a barbecue area and community garden.

The apartments are available for senior households "earning at or below 30 to 50 percent of the Contra Costa County Area Median Income," according to the Eden Housing press release.

MFH January 24, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Why is this a good thing? I can be convinced, just curious. Not sure this town can handle more population with its current infrastructure.
Orinda mom January 25, 2013 at 12:09 AM
The residents will be seniors, most without a car, who can walk one block to Safeway, Rite Aid, the post office and banks. It's an ideal location on the old library lot for people who can no longer drive. I think it will be a great addition to downtown, much as Orinda Senior Village has been. (Let's hope we don't hear from the people who protested OSV, OrindaWoods, and other housing. I well remember people saying they didn't want OrindaWoods, because it had townhouses, and would attract "undesirables"! I hope those negative people have moved on, one way or another.)
KFrances January 25, 2013 at 08:36 AM
The Agenda 21 One Bay Area Plan for high density low income housing in suburbs without the proper infrastucture - (ie. police and fire services and schools...) is drastically going to change the quality of life for residents. It is a centralization of unaccountable regional power. Something is amiss when people who are concerned neighbors are made out to be 'protestors' who hopefully have moved on ...one way or another.... what's another ? I don't know....something doesn't ring true. Senior Housing is a good thing but there are things not adding up. In utopian theory it sounds wonderful to be able to walk to Safeway and Rite Aid ...but has anyone tried to check out at Safeway lately ? Usually if you follow the money lately it leads to (even an L.A.) T.O.D. (or transit oriented developer) who is funding a local political campaign, getting waivers on EIR's and putting 'strip mall' aesthetics on 'ghetto' housing. Local residents should not be maligned...it is not respectful to a town with dedicated and educated leaders, volunteers and contributors.
Richard Colman January 25, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Paradise Lost ought to be Orinda's new name. The Eden Housing project at 2 Irwin Way in Orinda will add to the city's already horrible traffic and parking problems in the downtown area. The project is likely to violate Orinda's downtown height limit of 35 feet. The project will block views of the nearby hills. The project should have been built in another part of Orinda. Orindans were never given a chance to vote on the Eden project. The Orinda City Council never held town-hall meetings on the project. The project could hurt Orinda's schools and lower Orindas' home prices. Richard Colman Resident of Orinda TEL (925) 609-2820 ext. 203 E-mail: rcolman@biocorp.com
S. Lucier January 25, 2013 at 03:41 PM
I live in Orinda; I have a permitted rental 'cottage' in my property as do a surprising number of homes nearby (none of our homes are particularly large but in the older section of Orinda). Filled in these "in-law" units are single older people who have been here a long time. Without exception they are on extremely limited incomes so the 'rents" we receive are way below market, at the detriment to us. But where are they to go? They are still independent but usually with some physical deficit. These neighbors/tenants desperately need this new "Village" option. They are already are part of our community! They already use our 'amenities', quietly, gently, effectively. I am approached regularly about renting our 'cottage'...we have had the same tenant for 26 years! She will eventually need more amenities for help, as will the others. Until you have walked in these shoes (i.e, helping those who become increasingly financially devastated and physically challenged), you have no idea the need for this new facility. Bravo, bravo to those who prevailed on this project. The rest of you may never know what a godsend this facility will be.
Dive Turn Work January 25, 2013 at 03:47 PM
This rant makes as much sense as giving crack to a drug addict.
KFrances January 25, 2013 at 05:03 PM
I love the sense of community for looking out for the elderly and I think it great that so many people are quietly caring for each other. This is what family and community is all about. A well planned facility within the right height limit would be voted in by the citizens. Now we have a dictatorial group that decides how Orinda should be. Has anyone been to a joint Planning - Orinda Town Council Meeting lately - ? There is deliberate disregard for open conversation and debate. Big money is trying to drastically change Orinda. The rules that tax paying residents have been following for years are being trampled on by regional unelected policy (by many California outsiders) that are blackmailing smaller towns in the Bay Area. Just be mindful of 'sustainable' facilities that box people up. It is local authoritarianism and it must be acknowledged. It's not right. It is very disrespectful. It does matter. With that being said, I am glad local seniors have a facility for their next stage in life.
Katrina Bergen January 25, 2013 at 05:21 PM
This housing is for low-income seniors on fixed incomes. They cannot afford market housing. Eden Housing, the developer and property manager, does beautiful, quality work and manages properties so that both the residents and the community are happy. This is a very very good thing. Orinda is lucky.
Valerie Sloven January 25, 2013 at 05:54 PM
@Richard Coleman: The senior housing project has been discussed for years. There have been countless meetings, joint meetings and newspaper articles. Candidates running for city council have made this project part of their campaigns. To say the community has not had a chance to vote on this is utter nonsense.
Dan DeBusschere January 25, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Somehow I cannot get out of my mind the image of large high rise public works buildings getting dynamited by the authorities in south side Chicago because they become unmanagable and crime infested. Let's see how this works out before we build any more. Maybe we should get some committments on this strategy.
Joe Hallow January 25, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Yes: Robert Taylor Homes=Orinda Senior housing. Somehow I cannot get out of my mind how ridiculous that it.
Dede January 26, 2013 at 03:39 AM
How about naming the place "NIMBY ORINDA" ? Or "Orinda-No Old People Ever" to be called "Orinda NOPE"?
Peter Kendall January 26, 2013 at 05:02 AM
@ Valerie Sloven: It is only "utter nonsense" to assert Orindans had any chance to vote on this project, which you know they did not have. Certain Orindans, yourself included, had chances to express their opinions, but that's it.
Valerie Sloven January 26, 2013 at 07:16 AM
Peter, you and other community members have had many opportunities to express your views on the senior housing development. We elect city council members to vote yea or nae on such matters.That is the system of government we have in Orinda. If you don't like the outcome, you can gather signatures to overturn their decision or you can vote them out of office. You and others may not approve of this development but it most certainly had a very lengthy and public airing. I stand by my "utter nonsense" comment.
Chris Engl January 26, 2013 at 02:27 PM
1) Orinda was just named friendliest city in California and 2nd friendliest in the US. 2) Orinda loves and cares deeply for everyone including elders, children, and those who need extra special care. 3) Orinda understands that publicly subsidized housing completely changes the character of communities.  Does it have to be in one of the most expensive communities in the Bay Area? 4) There are many beautiful places to live on this planet; why does the public have to pay for the difference between what a person can afford and the actual market price?  If that person's family doesn't want to subsidize their loved one's home, why should a everyone else be forced to do it? ...To be continued...
Chris Engl January 26, 2013 at 02:33 PM
...continued... 5) who do you think is benefiting the most from such a development?  You wouldn't let a stranger walk into your home and take money from you but it's ok when the government does it?  Do we really trust their intentions, in one of the most indebted states in the Union? 6) By changing height restrictions, increasing densities, limiting individual transportation, entirely waiving environmental impact reports, forcing redevelopment, we are changing the character of this small town forever.  There are another 400 to 600 units that the government is forcing Orinda to build in the next 8 years, all right around the city center.  Where?...How?...Why? 7) Perhaps most importantly, we have been divided by our governments for years by race, creed, religion, wealth, controversial issues, etc; each government blames the failings on the ones who came before. Their divisions have only created a culture of fear, suspicion, and isolation. Why are we letting the government divide us? Because then we won't stand united against them and their desire to regulate our lives with bigger and more expensive bureaucracy.  The government has repeatedly been the worst steward of the public's hard work (ie wealth, tax money).  Yet, this time, we think they will get it right? "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." -Albert Einstein -Orinda resident and father of 3
Peter Kendall January 26, 2013 at 06:49 PM
@Valerie: I didn't say I opposed the new Senior Village (and I do not). I only wanted to correct your statement that Orindans had a chance to vote on the project; again, they did not have a chance to vote on it. I stand by my statement which corrects your claim.
Valerie Sloven January 26, 2013 at 10:24 PM
50-100 years ago people were probably lamenting the loss of their "small town". Yet, here we are today. Change happens whether we like it or not. It has been this way since the beginning of time. I don't fear my government and I don't believe government is to blame for your feelings of anger, fear and paranoia. Orinda resident and mother of 3
Chris Nicholson January 26, 2013 at 11:03 PM
If we must have high density development for low income households (must we? I don't know), then I view a senior living facility to be a lesser evil (as compared to low-income housing for younger families).
Chris Engl January 27, 2013 at 05:28 AM
@ Valerie Sloven -- you responded by mirroring my signature, suggesting that my whole point was that I dont like change and hurling an insult. Let's keep the open discussion going and avoid cheap shots along the way.
Valerie Sloven January 27, 2013 at 05:53 AM
Okay, and I apologize for the insult.
Eastofthehills January 27, 2013 at 07:33 AM
@Valerie 50 to 100 years ago we didn't have subsidized housing; you bought where you could afford. One funny thing I have noticed is that everyone is subsidized housing seems to drive a car nicer than mine! Additionally when I went though the garage of a section 8 apartment I noticed their cars are nicer then my neighbor hood in Moraga! The idea behind subsidized housing should be to encourage people to move out of it not encourage them to stay.
Janet Maiorana January 28, 2013 at 07:42 AM
Why do so few people know about the One Plan Bay Area devised by MTC/ABAG? This plan will impact Orinda more than anything ever has. Orinda City Council should have Town Hall meetings to inform citizens of all the facts. MTC/ABAG should not take control of our General Plan. Orindans should be allowed to vote on any MTC?ABAG plan for Orinda..

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