As director of the Catalysts for Local Control group, I think it’s time to push back against housing element craziness. We’re being force-fed housing solutions that don’t deliver on the promise of housing that is affordable.
First, the state housing quotas are double what they were eight years ago. Researchers at the Embarcadero Institute show how the California Department of Housing and Community Development ended up with inflated numbers. Where is the evidence that Marin’s population will or should double in the next eight years?
Hazards like fire, flooding, parking, congestion and drought are made worse by high-density housing, yet these factors are ignored.
Something’s fishy when community welfare is threatened by unreliable state quotas.
Instead of being a partner in meeting housing needs, the state is prepared to bully jurisdictions into compliance. For example, if cities fail to meet the unrealistic Regional Housing Need Assessment numbers, the state threatens to sue, impose hefty fines or hire a court-appointed outsider to bring a city into compliance.
Meanwhile, legislators gave developers, not constituents, the authority to set rules about heights and setbacks through density bonuses. Accessory Dwelling Unit legislation passed with a height restriction of 16 feet, equivalent to two stories. But legislators like state Sen. Bob Wieckowski aren’t satisfied. His bill would raise the height to 25 feet, equivalent to a three-story building in your single-family residential area.
Marin County’s public participation process was tightly controlled to hamper, not enhance, wisdom. The two-hour workshop on March 29 was the fourth in a series. Who believes you can get sound decisions for an eight-year plan with a series of two-hour Zoom calls? The “discussion” was reduced to questions in a chat box. The workshops lacked proportionality to the complexity of an eight-year plan.