Message from Dan Beal, WPRA President, Spring 2021
The worst laid plans…
I know, community planning and zoning are likely arcane subjects that the average resident doesn’t – and shouldn’t really have to – understand in depth. That is, until you find out how critical they are to your assets and your way of life, and how thoroughly the state legislature already has – and continues to – muck them up. I’ve written before about the state’s arbitrary and complex allocation of – supposedly – “fair share” new housing units for which cities are supposed to plan and zone. It’s called the Regional Housing Needs Assessment. Pasadena’s “fair share” was somehow calculated as 9,409 new units by the year 2029. Pasadena lost its appeal of this unrealistic goal and will, as a result, have to figure out how it will zone for those new housing units in the next iteration of its General Plan Housing Element, which is due this October. But at least Pasadena will have some say in those decisions. Not so with proposed state legislation that would essentially end single-family neighborhoods as we know them. Described in more detail on pages 4-5 and the subject of our May 27 annual meeting, some legislators have decided that cities are deliberately ignoring their housing needs or are incapable of handling their own land-use decisions. At the extremes of the current proposals, a block of 10 single-family homes, as one example, could turn into 80 or more units, some as high as four stories, squeezed tightly together with too little parking, too few trees, too little privacy and inadequate infrastructure. Oddly, the proposals, at this date, do not require the units be made available for low or moderate-income buyers or renters either. The theory is that a greatly increased supply will lower housing costs. If that were true, Manhattan would be a very cheap place in which to live.
Thanks again, Pasadena!
You’ve heard me express gratitude before when warranted, and it sure is now. If you’ve ever wondered why Pasadena, almost uniquely in the state, maintains its own Public Health Department, our experience with COVID-19 should … um … trump any arguments against it for a long time. PPHD was much better than most similar departments. Our department, under Ying-Ying Goh, MD, MSHS, was and continues to be well-prepared and equal to the tasks of inspection, education and, when available, distribution of vaccine. My wife and I can’t speak for everyone, but we (and a number of friends) went through PPHD’s signup portal by completing a fairly simple form. We qualified for and received an appointment opportunity shortly thereafter, made our appointments, were reminded of them, and spent no more than half an hour getting the injections. As I write this, hundreds of non-residents have cut the line and caused sessions to be cancelled, but PPHD is fixing that.