Sorry for the non-substantive post today, but I only have a couple minutes to write today.
Since I promised more on the affordable housing report in yesterday's post, I'll lead off with a few choice excerpts to see if we can spark a discussion or at least ruffle a few feathers.
A list of barriers to creating more affordable housing starts off with the predictable – high cost of land due to limited supply – but quickly moves to others:
Government regulations and procedures, including zoning and permitting processes, have not kept pace or been updated to handle the changing state of housing and development in the County.OK, sounds reasonable.
Growth control mechanisms such as the County's Housing Allocation system which limit supply without addressing demand contribute to increased housing costs.
Econ 101, and something I touched on a while back.
Limits on the authority and powers f the County Housing Commission and/or Housing Department to intervene or initiate affordable housing preservation or development opportunities.This one kind of gets at what I was talking about yesterday – namely, the need for a stronger non-profit housing sector that is freed of the chains of bureaucracy but without the inherent distrust or encumbering commitment to massive profit margins. The report expands on the difficulties facing government agencies.
The processes of government are slow and the ability of the Housing Commission or the Department of Housing and Community Development to act in a timely manner is constrained by the need to obtain legislative approvals. For instance, the Commission has not fully utilized the tax exempt bond cap available to the County, likely due to bureaucratic difficulties.I've only begun to scratch the surface of this report.
I left the transition team public forum early last night. I didn't have anything to say and was getting pretty hungry. When I got home, though, I couldn't resist watching some of it on GTV. I lead a boring life.
Anyway, it occurred to me that these kinds of meetings (i.e. public meetings) are pretty inefficient. Don't get me wrong, everyone deserves a chance to have their voice heard – and to have their voice strengthened by the physical presence of supporters -- but I don't see how it's in anyone's best interest to sit through long, often-repetitive sessions. And as the only ones who aren't paid to attend these meetings, citizens, it seems, get the rawest deal.
Of course, I don't know that there's a better way of doing this.
If anyone still reads my picture blog, sorry for the lack of updates. I blame the sun -- it sets too darn early in December. There's a new (from the archive) photo up today.
Finally, a few people have mentioned to me in person this great house in Owen Brown where the Christmas lights illuminate the entire neighborhood. I was immediately excited to learn about this heretofore unknown Columbia gem and planned on including it in my holiday tour. Alas, I'm too late.