Opinion: Vote Yes on Measure U — Support Affordable Housing

Opinion: Vote Yes on Measure U — Support Affordable Housing

LET’S BUILD A FUTURE TOGETHER

We ask Encinitas voters to approve Measure U – The Housing Element Plan, so affordable homes can be built for our seniors, our millennial and family residents as well as for our workers, who earn between $15-$20 hour and who are commuting long distances or finding difficult living situations in order to stay here in the city they serve. These individuals are our children, parents, grandparents, friends and co-workers.

Over 45 percent of Encinitas workers and almost 30% of Encinitas residents are eligible for affordable housing, including: preschool teachers, eldercare and home health workers, artists, life guards, city wide support staff working in our schools, hospitals, service organizations, businesses and restaurants.

There are currently 984 households on our city’s affordable housing rental assistance waiting list. The wait time is 8 years! There is no vacancy and long wait lists at our existing affordable communities.

The State requires all cities, through its Housing Element Plan, to accommodate its fair share of regional housing needs for all income levels, which for Encinitas includes 1,286 affordable homes for low and very low-income singles and families. In the past 7 years, only 145 affordable homes have been built in our city of approximately 25,000 homes and 60,000 residents. Encinitas is the only city in San Diego County without an approved Housing Element Plan.

We can do better! The first step is an approved Housing Element Plan.

This plan will add zoning for a total of 1,504 new housing units (not exceeding 3 stories) across 15 city-wide sites. No specific project is approved; all projects remain subject to public review and will be required to pay for necessary road improvements. State law and our high cost market dictate that approximately 15% – 25% of the new housing planned (225-325 homes) will be affordable.

Also, the plan requires that the affordable homes actually be built, as a condition of any project approval. As a result, the plan has the potential to yield more than twice the number affordable homes built in the past 7 years. That’s progress.

This plan will put us in compliance with state law and will end the lawsuits that have cost our taxpayers almost $1 million and counting. Instead Encinitas would again be eligible for state grants to improve our roads and reduce traffic congestion. New state laws are in place to increase enforcement of noncompliant housing plans, including potential fines and referral to the State Attorney General. The rules are changing and so must we.

What about Proposition A? The City is defending Proposition A, which is why Measure U is on the ballot. Measure U supports Proposition A and defends it by ensuring the city establish an adequate timeline for future Housing Element votes.

Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers and lawsuits, let’s comply with state law, maintain local control and focus on quality communities that fit well in our neighborhoods. Let’s take the money spent on lawyers and lawsuits and invest in improved sidewalks, bike lanes and transit options to reduce traffic congestion. It’s in our shared interests to build affordable housing for our seniors, workers, families and future generations. It’s the right thing to do.

Please Vote YES on Measure U.

Lois Sunrich is an Encinitas community member and housing advocate

Bob Kent is an Encinitas community member and housing advocate

www.Keys4Homes.org

keys4homesencinitas@gmail.com

2 Comments
  1. Kim Piker 4 days ago

    Great article and wonderful cause. YIMBY!

  2. Joan Wapner 1 day ago

    Excellent article! It really says it all.

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