Habitat for Humanity building 7 townhomes in Downey

An artist's rendering of the new townhomes Habitat for Humanity plans to build in Downey.

An artist's rendering of the new townhomes Habitat for Humanity plans to build in Downey.

DOWNEY -- Habitat for Humanity plans to build seven new townhomes in Downey exclusively for low-income, first-time homebuyers. 

Partnership Housing Inc., an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, is purchasing .42 acres of city-owned land located at 9303-09 Elm Vista Drive, where the townhomes will be built. 

The City Council on Tuesday approved the $750,000 transaction. Downey acquired the land for $1.05 million June 2007 with the intent of creating low-income housing. 

Each of the townhomes will be three bedrooms, two-baths, with 1,215 square feet of living space. A two-car garage will be attached to each unit. 

The complex will have four total parking spaces for guests. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles will act as the general contractor. 

The $3.1 million project will be financed by a $750,000 commission land loan, $1.145 million from Downey's federal HOME funds, $1 million from the developer, $105,000 from the federal  home loan bank and WISH program, and $84,000 from in-kind gifts and private sponsorships. 

According to terms of the deal, the townhomes will first be offered to eligible renters already living on the property before they are marketed to other Downey residents. 

Details of the project still need to be approved by the Planning Commission. 

In other action, the City Council: 

•Awarded three-year franchise agreements with Titan Transportation and United Tow, who will provide towing and storage services for the Downey Police Department. 

Titan and United have provided towing services for the police department since 2012, but their contract ended June 30. 

As part of the deal, the city receive 20% of each company's gross revenues for services provided to the city.

The police department impounds approximately 1,300 vehicles per year. Vehicles are impounded for a variety of reasons, including parking in no stopping zones; expired registration past six months; five or more unpaid parking citations; driver's arrest; and for evidence when the vehicle is involved in a crime. 

•The City Council also approved a restructuring of certain city positions, some of which came with pay increases. 

The Computer Systems Manager position is now the Information Technology & Systems Manager and includes additional oversight of city-wide information systems and related contract services. Compensation increased 15.2%.

The position of Accounting Coordinator was aligned between the existing classifications of Junior Accountant and Accountant. The new position requires a greater level of analytical skill and judgment than a Junior Accountant. The pay range was set at 10% above Junior Accountant and 12.4% below the Accountant level classification. 

Another new position is the Economic Development & Housing Manager, which combines two positions which had been vacant for the past few fiscal years. The pay range was set at what was already established for the Economic Development Manager, which is $7,381-$9,005 per month. 

The position of Keep Downey Beautiful coordinator was altered to add the responsibilities of recycling and waste coordinator. The pay increases from $23 to $28.59 per hour. 

The new position of Assistant Superintendent of Facilities & Maintenance incorporates the job duties of the existing Equipment Maintenance Supervisor and broadens the job duties to assist in supervision and management of the Facilities and Maintenance Division. Hourly pay increases from $32.30 to $40 per hour. 

The classification of Maintenance Worker III was added to the Maintenance Worker job series to distinguish increased knowledge and technical abilities. Hourly pay ranges from $19.17 to $23.75 per hour. 

The job of Transit Coordinator was updated to include supervisory oversight of Dial-A-Ride and Downey Link transit operations. The position maintains administrative support responsibilities and serves as a back-up transit driver when needed. The pay range is $19.75 to $24.47 per hour. 

Changes in the job specifications is expected to cost the city about $140,000 annually.