Why CA has an affordable housing crisis

Why CA has an affordable housing crisis

California population_2What a long strange trip it’s been for the Pebble Beach Company since it unveiled its Del Monte Forest development plan all the way back in 1987.

In the ensuing 27 years, PBC has revised its plan innumerable times only to have state regulators or local government bodies block the company from breaking ground on any construction project on any of the undeveloped land it owned.

There was a breakthrough in 2012 when PBC cut a deal with the California Coastal Commission that allowed the company to build 90 homes (as well as a 100-room hotel) in exchange for permanently preserving 635 acres of forest land it owned.

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors also approved the development plan, with the stipulation that PBC build a small affordable housing project (as opposed to paying an “in lieu” fee of $5 million, with which the county could build the affordable housing itself).

Two years later, PBC still hasn’t built the affordable housing project the county ordered. Not because the company has not acted in good faith. But because a citizens group – Del Monte Neighbors United – is determined to keep the 24-unit rental townhouse project from being built anywhere near their backyards.

It’s not that the citizens group is opposed to affordable housing, its members insist. It’s just that PBC’s townhouse project “is not in keeping with the single-family zoning and rural-lane, forested character of adjacent neighborhoods,” they explain.

And there’s one other issue, they say: The complex “will have a negative impact on property values of adjacent properties to the detriment of individual property owners and the community.”

Least affordable

This is why California has the least affordable housing on the United States mainland, according a recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. It’s why an average household here in the Golden State requires annual earnings of $54,168 to afford a two-bedroom rental home.

Land use restrictions and mandates by both state and local government grossly inflate the cost of market-rate housing. And nimbyism by activist neighborhood groups limits the supply of affordable housing available to households with yearly income less than $54,168.

Yet the state’s population continues to grow at 1 percent a year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and now stands at 38 million. (Click on the chart above.)

Monterey County has an opportunity to break that vicious cycle when Pebble Beach Company’s planned affordable housing project comes up for consideration by its Board of Supervisors.

In January, the county’s Housing Advisory Committee recommended that board members give PBC its long-awaited go-ahead to break ground on the modest 12-unit development.

It remains to be seen if the board backs up the affordable housing mandate it imposed on PCB or if the majority of supervisors bow to the obstructionist citizens group Del Monte Neighbors United.


Write a comment
  1. Jim Gallno
    Jim Gallno 14 April, 2014, 05:26

    When I think about affordable housing I think in terms of mobile homes / manufactured homes. I live in one. My mother-in-law lives in one. Why not go that direction? It is cheap and quick. If you don’t want them near your expensive homes, then set aside space somewhere else.

    Reply this comment
  2. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 14 April, 2014, 07:52

    Why do doomers burrow into the hot desert ground to provide their housing while progressives breathe fresh air in the temperate coastal environs behind guarded gates?

    Just sayin-

    Reply this comment
  3. Royan Herman
    Royan Herman 5 May, 2014, 17:08

    How about looking at the project from the perspective of those impacted, not benefitted. Without a doubt, if I can move to Pebble Beach and get a “low cost” town house, I will quit working and become another California bum.

    Doesn’t anyone remember that the benefits of being American has always been that American citizens are motivated to work because he who works hardest and smartest gets the goodies.

    Today the California mentality is 180 from the America I know. Elected officials demand that illegals and welfare frauds get the best and we just work and pay for it. Do those officials live among them. Gee, I don’t think so!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  4. Newport_Mac
    Newport_Mac 11 May, 2014, 06:51

    The California Coastal Commission appears to be the problem child. Instead of requiring 635 acres of forest land to be set aside it should have looked at zoning and an impact study.

    If the objective is low income senior housing or the scattered site voucher program then building in a forested area resolves the zoning and property value issues for existing residents and preserves an advantage for the Pebble Beach Company as the town homes would be highly desirable.

    Isn’t this another example of government gone bad and the need to review the Sustainability program which is causing poor governmental decision making?

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply

Related Articles

CPUC Floats $3.4 Billion Green Water Tax

MARCH 4, 2011 BY WAYNE LUSVARDI Call it the Green Water Tax. It’s a proposal advanced in a White Paper on

CA Assembly passes fast food franchise regs

As changing consumer tastes roil the fast food industry, the California Assembly passed a so-called “Franchise Bill of Rights” designed

College loans gouging graduates

June 24, 2013 By Steven Greenhut SACRAMENTO — Americans are still focused on the bubble in housing prices, which, after