Keep eye on the ball
As City Council reconsiders our effort to provide affordable housing for our work force, I respectfully request the Pilot & Today to keep its eye on the ball: Today, we can expect 15 percent of our new development in the city to be affordable. What level of affordability will we get when this City Council process is done?
The recent argument from Mary Brown that plays open space off against affordable housing does little to advance our effort. It offers a list of questions but no tool to better create affordable housing. In my opinion, Ms. Brown presents an illogical proposition: Open space has the same priority level in our surveys as affordable housing, so the tools we apply to create open space should resemble the tools we apply to create affordable housing.
If you accept that flawed premise, you then need to explain how a state-funded effort to create publicly owned open space could resemble a local effort to create housing owned by private individuals.
I agree with Ms. Brown that the survey priorities are meaningful. In my opinion, the surveys are meant to inform important area plan updates. But the more serious discussion of an area plan cannot fully adhere to a survey's priorities. For example, I would remind Ms. Brown that neither of her competing priorities, open space or affordable housing, are the community surveys' top issue, as she alleges. That top issue is growth management, as indicated in the 2005 survey and the more recent Vision 2030 survey. All of which represents a detour from the task of shaping policy to create affordable housing.
Let's keep our eye on the goal - creating more affordable housing, not less.