Citizen Marin

County Housing Plan Won’t Foster Workforce Housing

County Housing Plan Won’t Foster Workforce Housing

County housing plan comment link to MarinIJ

Contrary to the Marin IJ’s Dec. 14 editorial, the Marin County 2015-2023 Housing Element will fail to provide affordable housing.

Similarly, massive plans to build high-density housing near transit in the nine-county Bay Area will not diminish, but will worsen, the plight of low-income people.

The evidence comes from Plan Bay Area itself.

Yes, the stated objective is “to plan sustainable communities by supplying housing affordable to the full range of Marin County’s diverse community and workforce.” But high-density development, such as the WinCup apartments in Corte Madera, isn’t providing affordable housing now, nor will development in the future.

Plan Bay Area’s own study, “Strategy for a Sustainable Region,” concludes that high-density housing near transit will increase the amount of household income needed to cover housing and transportation costs for low- and lower-income residents. Its EIR already concluded that it will not reduce greenhouse gases.

The Housing Element EIR Addendum approved by the Board of Supervisors names the key operating objectives: to minimize risk to funders and developers, minimize discretionary review and streamline the permitting process.

When direct and indirect costs are calculated, new housing can never be affordable. The “penciling out” requirements will guarantee investors and developers all the benefits, not the poor on fixed incomes, young adults, seniors or laborers.

Adjustments in developer costs, by way of density bonuses, will be subsidized by taxpayers.

The streamlined permitting process will reduce local control to be inconsequential. And the poor will continue to struggle to make ends meet in this unjust social, political and economic system.

— Susan Kirsch, Mill Valley