Manual The Best Laid Plans: Our Planning and Affordable Housing Challenges in Marin

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Table of contents



These represent the vast majority of housing growth opportunity sites in Marin. Housing for the elderly and assisted living facilities: A rapidly growing need, these would include a variety of types that are either not addressed by the Plan or not recognized by RHNA as qualifying units. Housing for people with disabilities and special medical needs: This is a growing need that remains under-served. In light of well accepted data on health and pollution, it is not recommended that this demographic group live in proximity to major highways or other sources of air pollution.

Please also note that this correlation between proximity to freeways or major rails lines e. Homeless shelters and abused women's safe houses: This is another area where housing need is increasing that is under-served and largely unrecognized by the RHNA quota system since almost all shelters are communal living.

In addition, shelters and safe house facilities are most advantageously located within existing communities, which in the case of Marin means they will not be in direct proximity to Highway or significant public transportation, and not best suited for transportation oriented development. These units are typically only partially or sparsely finished and therefore by definition generally more affordable.

Affordable Housing

The opportunities for these types of projects are typically on marginal land near suburban downtowns where there is little public transportation besides occasional bus routes. Co-housing may be one of the biggest emerging trends in housing that is likely to impact the types of housing built over the next 20 years, particularly in places like Marin County. It is also typically moderate density development.

Ownership is either fee simple or a form of condominium or both. This very important housing type has significant advantages because it frees up larger existing housing as older residents downsize and move to smaller co-housing , it conserves land use, reducing auto use for socializing, and is generally less energy intensive.

This would discourage any city from assisting in this type of development. The Plan, as it is written, with its emphasis on transit oriented development, actually discourages this important housing trend. Some examples of co-housing applications include communities for active seniors, migrant and seasonal worker housing, homeless and family transition housing, young singles housing and micro unit complexes. Apartment building preservation, reconfiguration and substantial rehabilitation: Renovation and rehabilitation of existing market rate, affordable housing projects is probably the biggest need and the biggest impact opportunity in Marin County in terms of preserving communities, allowing existing affordable housing residents to remain in place, and improving the lives of those most in need of assistance a required criteria under SB However, as written, the Plan does not in any way acknowledge or encourage this need.

To continue to promote the construction of new, highly impactful, high density projects while allowing existing affordable housing to fall into disrepair or worse, disuse, makes no social or economic sense whatsoever. Prevent the Loss of existing public affordable housing: A related category of affordable housing need would include existing public housing units that are falling out of service due to the expiration of Housing Assistance Payments HAP Contracts, loss of economic use due to aging structures and too much deferred maintenance, or the voluntary withdrawal from the Section 8 program by the landlords.

The annual loss of units in this category is a significant public housing problem in Marin and other Bay Area counties that the Plan does not address or acknowledge. The lack of federal or state funding subsidies, tax credits or other financial incentives to support the preservation of this essential affordable housing stock adds to the problem. Again, for the Plan to promote the construction of new, high impactful, high density projects while allowing existing affordable housing to fall into disrepair or worse, disuse, is a waste of public funds and makes no social or economic sense whatsoever.

The Voice of the Community

Building conversions from commercial to mixed use residential: Another major affordable housing opportunity throughout Marin, and places like it, are existing structures that lend themselves to conversion to residential and residential mixed use commercial or retail redevelopment. Deed restriction on for sale housing amounts to nothing more than a form of indentured servitude that is contrary to why anyone buys a home for equity appreciation. However, they still get to directly benefit from the rewards of ownership and their hard work to improve and maintain their home. This method is effective for either new housing or existing housing purchase programs.

However, because it does not generally create new housing units, it is ignored by RHNA and consequently ignored by the Plan. Very small starter rental and condo units: However, in Marin, this again lends itself more to smaller scaled, infill, mixed use development that is atypical, both in location and proximity to significant public transportation options, than what is supported, analyzed and promoted by the Plan.

Similar to co-housing, these projects often have condominium shared spaces and shared amenities that are not aligned with RHNA, which deters cities from promoting their development. The Plan fails to consider this need. Marin and many other parts of the Bay Area would benefit from a more liberal and creative definition of second units. As it is, these are typically a battleground that pits small cities against HCD as to what does or does not qualify.

The Plan does nothing to alleviate or clarify or help promote the construction of this critical category. The Plan, as written, with its single-minded obsession with questionable high density multifamily housing as the only solution to the requirements of SB is both short-sighted and detrimental to promoting the types of affordable housing that are in critical need in Marin County and similar suburban and rural communities in the Bay Area. In fact the types of housing needs noted above would also apply to most ex-urban communities as well.

Top Selected Products and Reviews

The Plan seems to only be suited to urban areas, while ignoring feasibility in other areas impacted. How can the Plan justify its conclusions and proposals in light of the need for the many types of housing and affordable housing that it fails to consider or at all analyze? With local zoning and planning tools zoning bonuses, density bonuses, site designation lists, fast track processing, etc. These are the only types of projects that can be profitable with our high land costs in Marin. The Plan only makes all of this worse.

The Plan is a disincentive to private investment in affordable housing and other types of needed market rate housing. The Plan ignores many unintended consequences of its policies and programs. The problem is that the Plan, as written, only promotes one interpretation of SB and the Housing Law: How can the Plan justify its methods and goals in light of the fact presented above?


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If its charge is to create more affordable housing, how can it fail to acknowledge that its approach essentially excludes success in more than two thirds of the Bay Area impacted by the Plan? How can the Plan claim to have adequately analyzed and considered the actual housing needs and growth opportunities in Marin County or similar Bay Area communities, and arrived at the Plan in its present form?

Section 4 b 2 B of SB states: The analysis presented above item 1 indicates that the Plan has failed to accurately identify the general location of uses, residential densities and building intensities with regard to the actual needs and housing opportunities Marin County and other similar Bay Area locations. Sam Davis, a Professor of Architecture at University of California Berkeley, first discusses the function of the architect in affordable housing, as a reformer, a community activist, community development corporations, and discusses various Perception, Reality, and Social Policy.

Wonderfully useful look at the history of public housing. I work on housing issues for a non-profit in New York and I found this to be very useful background.

cv-partners-1 | Our Affordable Housing Needs in Marin

The research is insightful and well organized. These homes are a result of a design competition using as program the Habitat for Humanity guidelines: In addition these homes needed to be environmentally friendly. Among the designs are some very conceptual ones that actually will never be built, but is a good theoretical approach. I believe some of the winning designs are up for construction. This is a perfect book for students, professionals, environmentalists and people who appreciate progressive architecture in general.

Available for download now. Davis does an impressive job of humbly sharing his story as well as sharing his vision for the housing industries. Going Tiny is an action-packed, relatable read for all.

See All Buying Options. A Practical Guide for Nonprofit Organizations. Usually ships within 1 to 4 months. Did not realize it is just a small guide of definitions. Only 12 left in stock more on the way. Intelligent, knowledgeable and fascinating. A first hand look at how to successfully create affordable housing, making lives and neighborhoods better. Building an Affordable House: This book has snappy writing and good ideas, but seems to suffer from "magazine-frenzy-layout.

But sometimes this is just distracting. Some of the ideas are not explained or pursued, which leads me to suspect that portion of the text was lifted as-is from a magazine article. The book is only pages light-weight pages considering so many extraneous pictures. Sorry for so much griping, but I have come to expect more from Taunton Press, and it is sad to see their quality slipping. It is refreshing to have such forward-thinking ideas presented all together in one place and compared.

I appreciated especially the chapter on insulation for its side-by-side analysis of several Only 1 left in stock - order soon.

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Thanks for this book, I like it as it was described. My girlfriend bought this and she would like to buy more. Hope you will find one here. The Best Laid Plans: The subtitle of this book refers to "housing challenges in Marin. The last time I bought five copies of any book was approximately never, but Silvestri's message is that important. In small insulated cities like mine, residents tend to focus on the local community and issues that directly affect our quality of life.

Most of us don't pay that much attention to what is happening at the state level, making us vulnerable to frog-in-pot syndrome.