Villa Park Orchards Packing House development final decision expected today – Orange County Register

A proposed 402-bed student-housing project at the historic Villa Park Orchards Association Packing House is expected to receive a decision Wednesday, July 26, the city staff said.

The proposal arrived at the desk of Bill Crouch, the city’s community development director, after receiving approval from the Design Review Committee earlier this month.

Typically, a project approved by the committee would go directly to the Planning Commission. But this project falls under the Chapman University Specific Plan, so the community development director will make the decision or whether it is approved.

First proposed in 2013, the packing-house project is a key player in a pledge by Chapman President Daniele Struppa to board at least half of the university’s students in campus housing. Other efforts to meet that goal include housing plans on property purchased from the city for $6.5 million, adjacent to Panther Village where the I-5 freeway meets Chapman Avenue.

The latest project would include a new student housing building alongside renovations of the 99-year-old packing house at Cypress Street and Palm Avenue. The packing house’s historic exterior would be fully restored, while the inside would be renovated to house student services and provide a permanent home to Chapman’s Hilbert Museum of California Art.

The student housing building would feature three full stories, a stepped-back fourth story and a basement level accessible from a sunken courtyard.

The community development director’s decision on the project can be appealed to the Community Development Department within 15 days, accompanied by a $1,000 fee.

If appealed, the project would go to the Planning Commission. If the commission’s decision were appealed, the City Council would make the final decision.

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