[UPDATED] In his latest video to the community, Mayor Victor Gordo said the city’s recently formed Housing Task Force will take a comprehensive look at Pasadena’s housing challenges and strategies to ensure all local residents have access to safe, quality housing.
“The initial emphasis will focus on policies, programs, and funding strategy recommendations to the Planning Commission and the City Council for a comprehensive new housing element of the General Plan,” Gordo said in the video.
Last month, Gordo announced that former Mayor Bill Bogaard has been tapped to chair the task force. Bogaard will serve with Leslie Barnes, former District 3 Councilman Joel Bryant, Philip Burns, Julianna Delgado, Megan Foker, Akila Gibbs, Allison Henry, Sarah Letts, Anne Miskey, Rita Moreno, Phyllis Mueller, Andrew Oliver, Phlunte Riddle, Stan Rushing, Barry Storch, and J. Noel Toro.
The city, like the rest of the state, is mired in an affordable housing shortage.
Last year, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) ordered the city to build 9,400 units of new housing by October 2029 to meet its Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation by the state.
Gordo told Pasadena Now that the city is not going to construct its way out of the housing crisis.
“It’s going to be a combination of appropriately placed and located units, new units, and retention of existing affordable units,” Gordo said. “We have to look at all of these, all of the options available to the city and the City Council in order to ensure that there are housing opportunities for people at every economic strata.”
Gordo said the first step is to ensure the city has the capacity and meets its responsibilities under the law before going about the work of identifying funding resources.
“Certainly it’s not a Pasadena-centric problem. It’s a regional and state issue. And the region and state will have to do their fair share to assist with the housing issue. But in Pasadena, we’re certainly doing our part,” Gordo said.
“I’m proud to have appointed a housing task force that is made up of people who are insightful from diverse backgrounds personally and professionally and who I believe will contribute to our city greatly as individuals and collectively as a task force,” he said.
After the draft housing element is sent to the council for consideration and approval, it will ultimately be submitted to the state for approval.
The housing element will be a review of land uses and appropriate densities with the goal of improving the housing stock as well as protecting neighborhoods.
“I also expect that it will include recommendations on how to retain and improve existing housing, including housing that is in desperate need of investment as a means of improving neighborhoods, but also improving or also making existing units more livable and attractive,” the mayor said.
Gordo said the first draft must be completed sometime in June. After the state provides feedback, it has to be completed and sent to the Planning Commission and the council, and then a final product must be submitted to the state in October.
Gordo encouraged people to get involved and participate in the public workshops.
“It’s an opportunity for everyone to step up, including people who are interested in protecting neighborhoods,” Gordo said. “This is the moment in time when we work to strike the balance of protecting the fabric of our neighborhoods, but at the same time improve the housing stock in Pasadena. And I think we have the opportunity to do that, but it will take participation from every voice and point of view in our city in order for us to strike that balance. That’s why I appointed such a diverse group of people to this housing task force.”