Now you see ‘em–Now you don’t!

They say they need to build high density 75’ buildings to
bring affordable housing, but then the units are luxury!

T.O can do Better
Write the Council Members—
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From Acorn Newspaper, Letter to Editor, April 29, 2021

By Michelle Koetke, CVASP

The newly posted Preferred Land Use Alternative does not reflect a
consensus of the residents. I urge even the skeptical to take the new Survey. The City asks us to accept substantial changes to our General Plan through pages of details. The reality is that the solution to the affordable housing problem lies in the City’s hands, as it has all along. Kari Finley, Planning Manager, admitted to the Acorn, the City’s Inclusionary Housing Policy, is “outdated.” Currently, it does not require a percentage of affordable units. If it had been changed, they could insist developers include affordable units in all new projects or forfeit their deals. As it is, the new
Lupe’s project, located on the Boulevard, has no affordable units, and rentals as high as $3850/month. The State mandated the City approve 2621 additional housing units, of which 28% are for very low income ($45,200/yr. for two persons.) Whether they will remain such is another matter. This pattern is nothing new. After our community fought to keep Dos Vientos’ density down to about half the developer’s original number, developers won the request for an additional 200 units of affordable housing. Years later, the developers claimed these affordable units didn’t pencil out. Rather than demand the 200 units be deleted, the Council moved affordable housing units to another project; years later they vanished, while the developer built an additional 200 high- end homes.
The State is not forcing an updating of our General Plan. The City must state that these are separate actions. Approving the housing number, is required. The General Plan Update is not. However, SB330 suspends planning tools that ensure projects meet the City’s standards until 2025. Herein lies the reason for the rush to change the General Plan. The City has long played a legal shell game in interpreting Measure E, which requires significant changes be put on the ballot. The latest is Density Transfer, whereby 33,000 units (68.8% increase) that could have been built if every lot in the city were maximized for development, became fair game. Wake up. Combining Density Transfer and SB330 is a developer’s dream.


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