It's obvious that "affordable" and "housing" rarely go together in California. We're known for having some of the highest rental and housing prices in the U.S.
But some Californians are taking action by:
* fighting for more funding for affordable housing construction
* authoring laws that create higher-density housing and forces cities to meet their housing goals
* demanding rent control on apartment buildings, and demanding the repeal of a law that forbids it
And come November 6, you'll be voting on some of their actions, because there's going to be at least one affordable-housing measure on the state ballot, and possibly a rent-control measure on our local one in Sacramento.
We found this really good and detailed article on Urbanist LA - "25 Solutions From a Builder's Perspective to Fix the Californian Housing Crisis." A Los Angeles-based developer who says "enough is enough" suggests things like:
* Allow 100% Residential Development on Commercially-Zoned Properties. "The City of Los Angeles is the only jurisdiction in the state that I know that allows 100 percent residential developments to be placed on most of their commercially zoned lots. This is a big part of the reason they are a major state leader in housing production. Most other jurisdictions ban residential outright and some allow for residential to be placed above the ground level."
* Stop Killing Housing By Delaying Approvals. " Many jurisdictions in California take three, four, or even five years to approve straightforward housing projects as a tactic to frustrate builders into giving up. By delaying projects this long, these jurisdictions are sending a clear message to future builders: “Do not come here”. Message received."
* Create New Zones for Missing Middle Housing. "We need all kinds of housing in the state. There are numerous problems with having half of housing coming from “mega-projects” sized fifty units and over. They are the most expensive housing type to construct and they take longer to construct than smaller projects. This is why most new apartments you see are luxury units . . . We don’t have to go from one-story homes to all seven-story apartment buildings with two levels of underground parking. There is housing called “missing middle”.
* Reform, Don't Repeal The Law That Bans Rent Control. " The Costa-Hawkins Act will never be repealed. The apartment lobby is too strong. If it were to be repealed, new apartment buildings would not be built in California. Multi-family residential development is some of the most expensive construction there is. . . There is room to reform Costa-Hawkins. Maybe rent control doesn’t start for 15, 20 or 25 years. Maybe older single-family homes should be rent controlled. Maybe annual rent increases at first can be more than the rate of inflation, but not unlimited. I would like to see an academic, not an activist, propose some solutions."
The developer calls out the University of California, CalPERS, city and county governments, among others, to help bring change for the better to the homebuilding process in this state.
It's a long read, but a good one -- especially this year when you'll be voting on housing reform.
This article, along with the podcast recording of our March 19 "Policy and a Pint: Affordable Housing on the Voting Ballot," will come in handy.