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Guest Opinion | Pasadena Affordable Housing Coalition: Enable the Building of Affordable Housing

Published on Wednesday, March 2, 2022 | 9:39 am

The Pasadena Affordable Housing Coalition is committed to ensuring that Pasadena lives up to the vision expressed in the City’s Housing Element: “ All Pasadena residents have an equal right to live in decent, safe, and affordable housing in a suitable living environment for the long-term well-being and stability of themselves, their families, their neighborhoods, and their community. The housing vision for Pasadena is to maintain a socially and economically diverse community of homeowners and renters who are afforded this right.”

The Coalition is also committed to ensuring that the City plan realistically for nearly 6,000 units of affordable housing in the next eight years, as required by its Regional Needs Housing Assessment (RHNA)

For this reason, the Coalition calls on the Pasadena City Council to continue amending the Draft Housing Element that it submitted to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) on December 29.

On Monday, February 28, the Coalition forwarded to the Council a copy of its assessment of the Housing Element revision sent to Sacramento by the City last December.

In its February 10 communication to the HCD, the Coalition observed that the “Revised Draft” of the Housing Element turned in by the City does not adequately address the deficiencies pointed out by the State in October to the City.

Among the areas in the revised draft of Housing Element the Coalition stated needed to be addressed further are: flawed site analysis, failure to adequately address “affirmatively furthering fair housing” as required by State and Federals law, lack of commitment to streamlining Pasadena’s cumbersome and subjective entitlement process, promising to study ideas rather than detailing actionable programs, and overestimating future production of Accessory Dwelling Units.

The Coalition also noted that the City has failed to achieve adequate public participation from various economic segments of the community. Or, to take notice or mention the 26 specific policy solutions recommended to the City in public comments last summer.

“The Draft Housing Element in its current form does adequately address the current status of affordable housing when hundreds of Pasadena renters face eviction, thousands struggle to pay rent and young families are priced out of home ownership,” said Ed Washatka, one of the Coalition’s leaders and a board member of Pasadenans Organizing for Progress.

All Southern California cities are required to revise their Housing Elements in 2021 as blueprints for citywide housing policies over the next eight years, including demonstrating to the State that they can produce the target number of new units required by the RHNA.

Pasadena’s new RHNA target is 9,400 units to be built in the next eight years, of which nearly 6,000, are required to be affordable for very low, low and moderate income households. In its revised Housing Element submission to the State, the City did not submit any modification of the current land use policies and practices.

“The City will not be able to meet the affordable housing unit mandated targets unless it changes its land use policies,” said Washatka. “We look forward to continued public dialogue with City staff, the Planning Commission and the City Council to devise workable policy solutions that address our community’s affordable housing needs.

Mayor Victor Gordo’s Housing Task Force invites the public to participate in a pair of Zoom community workshops to discuss the status of the Housing Element, and the state’s comments to the City on its current draft. The meeting will focus on gathering community input on future housing policy and growth in Pasadena to be included into the Housing Element.

These are the links to The Housing Task Force Zoom community meetings:

March 16, 6-8 p.m.

March 30, 6-8 p.m.

The Pasadena Affordable Housing Coalition is made up of 15 community and faith-based organizations formed to encourage informed community input to the City’s updated draft of the Housing Element. The members include ACT, Affordable Housing LA-San Gabriel Valley, Affordable Housing Services, Clergy Community Coalition, Democrats of Pasadena Foothills, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, League of Women Voters-Pasadena Area, Making Housing and Community Happen, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, Complete Streets Coalition, Foursquare Church Pasadena, Pasadenans Organizing for Progress (POP), Pasadena For All, Social Justice Committee of the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center.

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One thought on “Guest Opinion | Pasadena Affordable Housing Coalition: Enable the Building of Affordable Housing

  • Sorry but building CONNECTED multi story dense housing can not lead to affordable housing. Theis is literally the most expensive form of housing to build. This form of housing is extremely materials intense and labor intense to build. It requires elevators and staircases that meet the firecode and eat space. It requires soundproofing galore. more insulation than a detatched building to control heat and cooling between units. More lights because of less natural light. More mechanical ventilation due to decreased cross flow. HALLWAYS space sucking hallways. bigger HVAC units for each unit because they are all placed on the roof near to each other and transfer heat. More steel to wood connectors, larger wood framing members as you go up in height closer together. Thick floor OSB larger diameter plumbing supplies and drains. More nails to the shear paneling due to the fact that the moment on your structure in both wind and earthquake goes up dramatically as you go taller. larger size studs to put all those nails into. The siding and doors have to meet much higher fire safety standards than for R 1 homes. By the time you are done there are no savings since your costs have risen higher than the savings on land. The only real saving is in the roofing but again these are very expensive roofs and the apparatus for roof penetrations are very expensive. There is nowhere to save here by the time you go above two stories and meet the code.
    The developers do make out under the new State laws that force speedy planning approval, and that mandate all local concrens and voices be ignored. The people in the units and surrounding them lose as the sewerage natural gas traffic and electrical grids are never updated to meet the impacts from these developments,,

    Of course the state makes out like a bandit on the titanically increased taxation per acre while again providing nothing to meet the increased infrastructure impacts