In a move that suggests signs of recovery for the local housing market, Hesperia's planning commission has approved its first plans in four years for a new affordable apartment complex in town.


The 114-unit subsidized housing project would be sited on 5.6 acres along the south side of Live Oak Street, between Eighth and Ninth avenues. Plans, which were approved on a 4-0 vote at the city's most recent planning commission meeting, call for a three-story complex that would include 12 low-income and six very-low-income units.


It's the first apartment complex approved in the city since September 2008, according to Dave Reno with Hesperia's planning department. However, with the Great Recession dampening the market, construction never started on that 104-unit complex planned west of E Avenue and south of Muscatel Street.


The new project, proposed by private developer TMS Construction, still has to be approved by the City Council at an upcoming meeting in order to move forward.


This extra approval is needed in response to the site's use of Hesperia's Density Bonus Program, which allows developers to build up to 20 units per acre if the project includes low-income housing that will help Hesperia meet affordable housing goals established by the state.


"While some may be wary of encouraging the addition of low-income residents, they shouldn't be," former city spokeswoman Kelly Malloy said. "Affordable housing gives opportunities to a wider range of people, which is a very important component of a successful community."


The complex would be built within Hesperia's High Density Residential (HDR) District of the Main Street and Freeway Corridor Specific Plan. It would include a 2 percent density bonus thanks to the 18 affordable units proposed.


Malloy noted the site and others like it encourage developers to offer creative opportunities for current and future residents, helping to satisfy the housing element of Hesperia's general plan.


"It is the planning commission's recommendation that the City Council approves the density bonus in this scenario," she said.


Hesperia has been aggressive about pursuing affordable housing projects in the past, partly to comply with state laws dictating that communities include housing for all income levels and partly to comply with laws stating


20 percent of all redevelopment money collected go toward affordable housing. However, that second motivation has evaporated after the state dissolved all redevelopment agencies to direct those tax dollars elsewhere.


The last apartment project completed in Hesperia was 154 units on the southwest corner of Sultana Street and C Avenue, Reno said. The project was finished in October 2009.