The California Department of Housing and Community Development has approved the City of Lancaster for funding under the Local Early Action Planning Grants Program (LEAP Program). The City has received a letter that constitutes a conditional commitment of $500,000 to be awarded.

The LEAP Program reflects the state’s commitment to work in partnership with local governments to address California’s critical housing needs. Under the grant, local governments may use the funding for the preparation and adoption of planning documents, process improvements that accelerate housing production, and to facilitate compliance in implementing the sixth cycle of the regional housing need assessment (RHNA). The City plans to use these funds towards the Parkway Village Specific Plan.

The Parkway Village plan would replace the Amargosa Creek Specific Plan, allowing for a variety of residential uses where it was once prohibited. In addition it will allow for a range of housing and affordability from single-family residential development to multi-family residential development.

All residential development, excluding projects that require discretionary action, would be included in the specific plan moving this type of development from a prohibited use to a non-discretionary review.

As a result, residential developments are processed administratively, providing assurance to these types of developments as it would not go before a public hearing unless appealed or in conjunction with a tentative tract or parcel map. This creates a more expedient development process. The environmental review process would also be streamlined as the completed Environmental Impact Report would indicate the impacts associated at full build-out and would not need a project-specific environmental review if within the scope.

City officials said by having a specific plan and funding to develop a plan, they can better ensure an expedited development.

“The City of Lancaster has been growing dramatically in the last decade. We continue to support and improve the city. I am excited for the opportunity to create a smart city — a community of the future. And this grant will help us accomplish our plan to create a brighter tomorrow for our residents,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “The City of Lancaster is pleased to announce our approval for the LEAP Program. The City looks forward to further developing the Parkway Village Specific Plan and continuing to address the housing crisis head-on.”