Today, San Diego is failing to accommodate our growth demands. Due to NIMBY (people who oppose any new building with a “Not In My Backyard” attitude) pressure and fear, only downtown towers and greenfield sprawl sites are far enough away from them to secure any development permits. And these aren’t our best places to allow for enough attainable or affordable housing. Big, heavy downtown towers are very expensive. But so are sprawling subdivision roads, fire stations, community centers, parks, and new housing construction costs. Those subdivisions are far away from jobs, necessitate a car for every daily need. Suburbia encumbers agriculture lands and are at great wildfire risk. But, that’s mostly what we have available to us to build the housing we need to accommodate for the next 1.3 million people by 2050 (SANDAG).Continue Reading It’s Time to Take the Keys Away from Granddad
Dear Pasadena Planning Commissioners,
We’ve come a long way from Pasadena’s 2004 second dwelling unit ordinance that effectively codified irrational NIMBYism in the Zoning Code. The proposed amendment to the accessory dwelling unit (ADU) ordinance before you at the May 24, 2017 hearing represents a significant improvement; it came about as a result of the relaxed standards for ADUs by way of AB 2299 and SB 1069, as well as the passionate testimony of residents and housing advocates in public hearings and community meetings. However, a few points of contention remain – some of the “poison pills” and class-based inequalities carried over from the original ordinance – while other points merit highlighting for this latest public hearing. I ask you to take these comments under consideration as you evaluate the amended ADU ordinance for recommendation to the Pasadena City Council.
Dear Pasadena City Council Members,
A long overdue update to the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance is before you at the January 30, 2017, City Council public hearing. With the passage of AB 2299 and SB 1069, all local jurisdictions are obligated to amend zoning ordinances to facilitate easier pathways to building accessory dwellings units (ADUs). As the staff report notes, the new state laws came about in response to a statewide affordable housing crisis. We see it in Pasadena. It’s rendered in the presence of homeless encampments, occupied vehicles on city streets and parking lots, and the existence of unpermitted housing on private properties across the city.
Continue Reading An Open Letter to the Pasadena City Council Urging a Comprehensive Overhaul of the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance
Dear Pasadena Planning Commissioners,
A long overdue update to the City of Pasadena’s Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance is before you at the December 14, 2016, Planning Commission public hearing. This will be the first of many hearings in response to the passage of Assembly Bill 2299 (AB 2299) and Senate Bill 1069 (SB 1069) and the upcoming Housing Element Implementation Program. At this juncture, I see three compelling reasons for your Commission to advocate a comprehensive overhaul of Pasadena’s Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance.Continue Reading An Open Letter to the Pasadena Planning Commission Urging a Comprehensive Overhaul of the Second Dwelling Unit Ordinance
Trade Joe’s stores are so popular that zoning laws are drafted to accommodate them while keeping out competitors, and communities swoon to receive them while staunchly opposing other businesses selling the same types of goods. Continue Reading Zoning for Trader Joe’s – is there a better way?
When I signed on as a contributor to UrbDeZine I promised Bill Adams that I would post at least once a month. I think I’m slightly off schedule. My excuse is that I’m in the middle of a move from Pennsylvania to Colorado and things have been a little bit stressful.
But while I was in Colorado recently searching for a rental house I had a dilemma that seems relevant to this blog’s subject matter – a serious housing crisis in Northern Colorado.Continue Reading Colorado Has a Housing Crisis
Earlier this summer, I published an article on these pages remarking on the growing scholarship on informality in the U.S. housing market.  My article was intended as an opening salvo to planning academics who, as I see it, fail to understand American informal housing from the implementation side of planning—the enforcement and regulatory standpoint. Continue Reading Response to Comments: The Informal Housing Debate Remains Open
Nobody likes uncertainty. Certainly not the developers of a billion dollar mixed-use project that encounters community opposition due to traffic impacts. Nor the public transportation agency that runs into fairy shrimp on the future route of a trolley line. Nor the city planners for multifamily housing around a transit station that face a revolt from their single-family neighbors.Continue Reading In Defense of Uncertainty
A city makes many investments, such as infrastructure improvements, life and safety services, and in their employees. To fund such, cities rely upon new development and construction to fuel its economic generation engine with new jobs, housing, shops, parks, fees, and tax revenues.We have all experienced the difficulties with building new developments in Southern California. It is either too difficult to build something great or too easy to build something terrible. Most city planning departments have to overcome a past of allowing for deplorable new buildings that challenged the character of beloved older communities.Continue Reading The Value of Planning in the Age of Economics.
What does a creative live/work community art center look like? Does it even exist? Well, it certainly does and we have a wonderful example of such a facility here in Los Angeles. Continue Reading Art Share L.A.: Promoting and Supporting the Arts