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Residents Slam Santa Fe Springs City Council Over Developer Agreement





By Brian Hews

Controversy surrounds the opening of the Miro Luxury Apartments in Santa Fe Springs as nearby residents descended upon city hall demanding to be made whole over a botched shared use agreement sanctioned by city officials in 2012.

The 150-unit Miro Development, built by Fairfield Residential, is located within the gated walls of the 384-unit luxury Villages at Heritage Springs (Villages) community along Telegraph Rd. between Bloomfield and Norwalk Boulevards.

Villages Homeowner’s Association President Ron Beilke spoke at the meeting and addressed what his membership called, “a huge problem created by the city.”

The 150-unit property in question was sold to Fairfield Residential by Comstock Homes in early 2013.

Sources are telling HMG-CN that during the time of the sale, Comstock’s three agents on Villages’ HOA Board secretly entered into and recorded a “Common Property Shared Use & Reservation of Easements Agreement” that in effect changed the conditions spelled out in the development’s original 2012 EIR addendum.

In a letter sent by Comstock to Villages homeowners on July 26, 2012, Comstock identifies itself as the developer of proposed 155-unit property.

Beilke noted “obviously at one point it was Comstock’s intention to build the apartments themselves which is why the EIR specified that HOA dues be paid accordingly for shared use of the property.”

Beilke suspects that at that time it was in Comstock best interest for the apartments to fall under one HOA umbrella but once they enlisted Fairfield to take over the project, the HOA was “thrown under the bus” and Fairfield was afforded a heavily-reduced reduction that flew in the face of the EIR requirements.

The problems began when Comstock, in a conflict of interest, decided to sell the property to Fairfield while simultaneously acting as majority representation on the HOA Board.

During the time of the sale, Comstock entered into the Common Property Shared Use & Reservation of Easements agreement.

In a letter received by the HOA on January 21, 2015, from one of the Villages’ two sub-associations, it was pointed out that “although required by law, it does not appear that the Agreement had been placed on a Master Board of Director’s Meeting agenda, nor was it openly discussed or voted on properly.”

The Master Board did notify Comstock in early February of its concerns about the legality of the Shared Use Agreement, but received no response.

At the City Council meeting, Beilke brought 85 signed homeowner petitions supporting the suspension of the issuance of “Certificates of Occupancy” at Miro.

Beilke reminded the City Council and staff that in 2012 dozens of Villages residents vehemently protested the approval of apartments inside Villages.

Beilke stated to the council, “the residents of the Villages pleaded with you back in 2012. The only protection you afforded was the EIR that clearly stated we would be compensated for use of our property that we pay to maintain…that did not happen.  You created this problem and now we expect you to fix it.”

Longtime homeowner Jose Fabio Lainez explained to HMG-CN that when he purchased his home in 2010 he was lead to believe the property across the street would be made up of more high value homes.  He now claims that apartments so close to his home will hurt his property values.

Lainez said, “I opposed the apartments when they were announced back in 2012 and the city didn’t listen just like they’re not listening now. I get so disgusted when I see them sitting up there not even acknowledging the damage they’ve done to our 384 homeowners. The entire city should take note of that come the November city council elections.”

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  • Carlos Guzman says:

    I live at the Heritage Villages. I was against this move for apartments. Why couldn’t Comstock just finish the project with more homes. Well I honestly believe if they have the right to use our facilities then we have every right to use their gym and facilities as well. We were told they would pay $62 a month H.O.A dues for use of the roads. I suggested they had there own entrance behind the bank. We need to get compensation.

  • son nguyen says:

    This is sad really. The city politicians have bucked under pressure. We must now make them realize that they are accountable for these actions!

    Let us get out there this November and vote every member running for reelection out of the Council! They must be held accountable.

  • Theo Lieu says:

    Although I look forward to this situation being resolved, this community should not forget that this city’s elected officials give preference to developers over the residents that they are in office to serve.

    I am deeply disturbed by the city’s indifference and have little faith in their resolve to help our community. I sense this comes down to campaign promises and other forms of gratitude.

    A similiar situation existed when the city allowed in a waste water recycling operation to open on the old oil refinery property even though the company had not secured the proper equipment to process the waste. As a result, the sludge was allowed to be stored in leaky tanks and we suffered in the end.

    Poor decision start at the top and in this case I have no faith in our government and it’s leaders. Thank you for running this story Mr. Hews.

  • Need to say this says:

    2 of my friends bought homes in 2010 and 2012 in this community. There were some green area and homes in the sales office later modified with more condos and rental properties.

    The builder hold most of HOA seats and do whatever they want, change what they want with city though the ALL 5 city councilman talked to residents they are highly doubtful of allowing the change of original plan to build a gated community back in 2012. Sooner enough when there is no residents showing in city hall, the all 5-0 vote for the change of turning remaining un-build zone into rentals and more homes.

    City councilman said in the newspaper that the city found 15% homeowners in the community already rent out their places that means the additions rental apartments won’t effect anything.

    The problem is how do they (councilmen) know?! Unless the builder were the homeowners and rent them out which I know 2 of homes in master plan rent out by one of 2 builders. City won’t have data nor do HOA members. This is just totally fishy between the councilmen and builder.All 5 said to residents would likely to block the change then all 5 for it.

    Buying home is hard and choose the right city and builders should be another thing to watch out.

  • Ed P says:

    Thanks for running the story. I live at the Villages. Looks like some people got compensated for this deal. Folks doing business in SFS should look into the city’s business a little more closely. They’re willing to treat RESIDENTS unfairly. Makes you wonder what else is going on with these city officials. Now I’m curious….

  • Javier from the Villages says:

    Great story! Thanks Ron & Jose for speaking up for our community. I think we all realize now how hard we should have pushed to get Comstock out of here earlier. No doubt they took advantage of the fact that many of us were in the process of moving and settling in so they had no problem selling us on their double-talk and lies.

    My question is, why did the city back up these developers and their greedy request? Why did the city allow Comstock to change the originally approved design from only 128 comfortable homes to 150 compact apartments while also squeezing in a pool and community center complex? How could the city think they were creating a better quality of life for future residents?

    I love this city but I feel betrayed. I want to accept the apartment people as innocent renters just looking for somewhere safe and nice to settle, but it’s hard considering the people they write their checks to are using us and our property that we fight so hard to protect. I hope I get over this feeling.

    Thank you Community News for writing about this issue and helping us to raise awareness. I liked your other stories as well that I found on this site. Wish you published in Santa Fe Springs and exposed our contemptuous City Council.

  • Miro Tenant says:

    Villages HOA,

    A friend was sent this article and she forwarded it to me. I had no idea these issues existed. When I signed my lease last week I was assured that I was moving into the 2nd most friendliest place on earth. In fact, I was told you can even hear the fireworks from Disneyland at 9:45pm every night.

    Now that I’ve read this story I feel that I’ve been lied to as well. I was told to make friends and I could use the big pool and the basketball court. I’m glad I now know the truth.

    I want to say that I’m sorry for what Miro has done to you people. A big part of my decision to move here was based on the city and the community that I thought we shared. I think once others hear about this injustice they’ll think twice about paying so much to live in community where we’re not wanted.

    • Miro Tenant says:

      I was told today by our proiperty manager Efren that we are not to cross the street onto village property. He said that they are fighting to keep our rents low and that using that property isn’t worth paying extra. I told him that in any city people should be free to take a stroll and enjoy the scenery and he said that wasn’t allowed in this city. I’m confused and wish I hadn’t leased here. I intend to give notice as soon as my lease allows. I don’t think anybody would want to live here knowing your not wanted by your neighbors and I’m angry we were put in this situation.

  • Homeowner says:

    Now that the truth is out I can’t wait till SFS elections. Time to change up the corruption from this to probably other shady deals going on to fill their wallets.

    To the renters at Miro, you are only innocent people caught in the middle.

    Time to spread the word that SFS needs real leaders who care about their community and not just which businesses will keep filling their pockets.

  • Village resident says:

    it is a sorry situation. The city of SFS needs to do better. I think we all want to live in a nice community, but not at one persons expense. Unfortunately, the leasing office for the Miro apartments are wrong. The apartments have their own pool, and that’s about it. The apartment tenants can’t even park over night in the HOA streets I believe. It’s too bad they are misinformed. It’s too bad we are all victims of greed by SFS officials and Comstock .

  • Dirty Deeds says:

    After living in the Villages for over five years I’ve seen a lot of dirty tricks and stunts pulled by the City of Santa Fe Springs and Comstock. I understand that this devvelopment was important to the city, but as the years went by the city bent over farther and farther to keep Comstock happy. I wouldn’t be surprised if some didn’t get a home or two?

    Our HOA learned thru experience that we couldn’t trust Comstock and that’s why a few of our leaders like Ron Bielke fought so hard to get them out…but the damage was already done. I was at City Hall in May for the city council meeting and they just ignored Ron and the rest of us there that night. Not one of them acted like they cared and the only response Ron got from the council was to hurry up and finish.

    This is the first time I have ever read a story about this city in the press. We need to stay informed and I signed up for your email alerts. Thanks!

  • Villager says:

    Moved into the Villages in 2013. Was told by the agents representing Comstock that the large dirt area was going to be turned into “luxury condos.” We already don’t have enough parking to suit our own residents. Now, you’re going to allow another 150+ vehicles in? SHAME ON YOU, SFS OFFICIALS. All you saw was money, and you gave ZERO consideration to those of us who PAY to maintain this private property. Miro renters have NO RIGHT to use our facilities if the are not paying fair dues. Sad to know that they are being lied to as well. Fair warning: things will not be so friendly around here if we see you in our common areas!

  • Jeff says:

    Send this link to all your friends and relatives that live in SFS, so that come November the council members can be voted OUT, OUT, OUT. Time for new blood in SFS.

  • Concerned Villages Resident says:

    Wake up! All the Villages’ Board’s are difunctional and have individuals on there that think they are kings! They can’t even do contract bidding right! We get what we deserve.