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Affordability and Home Ownership for housing in Arcata

Community Development Director David Loya’s ideas and writings on how to achieve Affordability and Ownership: Click here.


How will we achieve affordabiity?

State Density Bonus Housing Law — How it affects us here in Arcata

Reading time 12 minutes -- "Project proponents will be driven by the Density Bonus provisions. And our design standards and Community Benefits programs are unlikely to be implemented due to waivers and concessions." So said David Loya. We need to look at just how the State Density Bonus Law will affect the Gateway Area Plan, and what decisions can be made so we get housing built in the form that we want.

State Density Bonus Laws / Inclusionary Zoning / Community Benefits — David Loya presentation

“And our design standards and Community Benefits programs are unlikely to be implemented due to waivers and concessions.” --- Arcata's Director of Community Development David Loya has provided this video presentation of the various affordable housing programs. 15-1/2 minutes, July 28, 2023. VIDEO and full TRANSCRIPTION.

The Gateway Community Benefits program — Details of the “points” proposal

The Gateway Community Benefits Program is simple in concept. In order to construct a building higher than three stories -- and have it go through the streamlined "ministerial review" process -- a developer has to provide something for the community.  But the existing State Density Bonus laws may entirely subvert our Community Benefits program and render it meaningless.

Housing at reasonable rents in the Gateway proposal will not happen unless you demand it

If the Gateway Plan is not going to provide truly affordable housing for the people who need it, then what’s the point? --- If working people can’t buy a home and they can’t afford the rent, then we need to think this through more.

The Gateway Area Plan at 18 months: The Promises Still Seem Unlikely

Now at eighteen months from the introduction of the Draft Gateway Area Plan, the wonderful world that was promised by the plan seems ever more unlikely. I refer to that wonderful world of “thousands of housing units that are environmentally sustainable and affordable to people in all income ranges” and “a broad range of housing densities and types, including rental and owner‐occupied options” that is promised on the opening page of the Draft Plan and continued in that theme throughout the document. *** Let’s look at what’s been ignored over these past eighteen months.

Inclusionary Zoning

Draft Gateway Form-Based Code yields very little Inclusionary Zoning homes

The long-awaited initial draft of the Form-Based Code finally arrived. As promised, it does contain requirements for Inclusionary Zoning in the Gateway Area. *** Unfortunately the Inclusionary Zoning requirements are ridiculously low. To even call this "inclusionary zoning" is a stretch. This would be laughable except that this is a such serious matter -- and so important for the people of Arcata and for the future of Arcata.

Gateway Plan needs inclusionary affordable housing requirements, says Rebecca Buckley-Stein

Rebecca Buckley-Stein spoke to the City Council on March 1, 2023, about the need to have inclusionary affordable housing as part of the Gateway Plan. What is Inclusionary Zoning? Your questions answered, plus additional resource links.

Wendy Ring – June 16, 2023 – Inclusionary Zoning

*** If we can't be leaders in this space, at least let's not be laggers. *** I do support the plan's requirement for a percentage of affordable units. This should not simply be an optional "community benefit" to be rewarded with additional building height because California's Density Bonus Law already does that. ornia's Needs: The average percentage of affordable units required in city and county ordinances is 15%, compared with 3% in the current plan.

After telling the Council we’ll see Inclusionary Zoning, what Loya has provided is worthless

David Loya spoke: "There is the full intent to have an inclusionary zoning requirement in the Gateway Area Plan." -- "... in the Mission Statement is to create mixed-use, mixed-income projects. And so the way that we intend to do that is through Inclusionary Zoning." ** Unfortunately, the "inclusionary zoning" that is there is worthless.

Inclusionary Zoning, objective design standards approved in Santa Cruz

Read time: 7 minutes. Skim: 2 minutes. -- We can look at how Santa Cruz has dealt with some of the same issues we face here in Arcata. Santa Cruz already had an existing 20% inclusionary requirement. New proposal: Projects with a 25% inclusionary requirement get a 30% density bonus. Projects with a 30% inclusionary requirement get a 50% density bonus. Other issues: Public hearings for new larger construction.

Home Ownership

Survey says Home Ownership is what’s desired — in a big way

August 16th Survey shows "Home Ownership" of supreme importance to the 50-or-so participants during the two minutes of voting. What's the possibility of Home Ownership Opportunities to be written into the Gateway Plan? Very likely to be Zero.

Humboldt Association of Realtors: Let’s see some ownership opportunities

Letter from the Humboldt Association of Realtors requesting at least a 10% requirement of owner-occupied units to the Arcata Gateway Plan. 

Former Arcata Mayor Susan Ornelas says: Let’s create opportunities for Home Ownership

Susan Ornelas served on Arcata's City Council for eleven consecutive years, from 2008 through March, 2020. She was Mayor of Arcata in 2011 and 2017. Among Susan's concerns for the future of Arcata's citizens is the difficulty for younger people to buy a home. "We know when people own a home in a town, they are more likely to volunteer for City boards, school boards, PTAs, as sports coaches for their kids, etc. Home ownership helps to create the kind of town we all want to live in!"

Rentals Percentage in Arcata: “Do the math”

Arcata's Gateway plan could add 3,500 apartments to our town, as Cal Poly Humboldt expands. Unless more than 60% of all new apartments are owner-occupied condos, Arcatans will have small chance of owning their homes.

Townhouses and Condominiums

The Housing Market Needs More Condos. Why Are So Few Being Built?

The Gateway Area Plan's stated intent is to have "home- ownership opportunities" -- that is, condominiums -- in the Gateway Area. The share of condo units built for sale in 2021 was less than 5.4 percent, nationally. The rest were rental units. The shortage of condos adds to the lack of affordability in the homebuying market.

Research and Reports

The cost of Regulations when constructing new housing: How much, and how can it be reduced?

Basic reading time: 10 minutes -- The Gateway Plan and recent & upcoming State laws all will tremendously help with the regulatory costs of building new housing. Here in Arcata, the Gateway Area Plan is specifically designed to lower the regulatory and development costs of new construction. Includes a Terner Center report on state legislation and the real costs of housing.

US Congress Research reports: Housing Trends & Policy Considerations

Reading time: 5 minutes to an hour -- At their September 12, 2023, Planning Commission Yodowitz introduced a Congressional Research Report on housing. This article contains that 16-page report , excerpts, and commentary. Plus 3 shorter reports (3, 4, 5 pages) and links to the full 50-page report to Congress.

US Congress Research reports: Housing Issues report – July 14, 2023

Read time: Charts 2 minutes. Full report 60 minutes -- The report to Congress from June 2023 on housing. Includes 4 easy-to-view charts:  Median rent prices, Median sale prices, Mortgage rates, Consumer price index for Shelter expenses.


David Loya on Affordability

David Loya on Supply and Demand — and how that relates to Affordable Housing

"So the way that we add equity into our community... is by increasing the demand." David Loya speaks at the Feb 12 2022 Planning Commission on housing supply and demand. This article was originally written May 30, 2022 -- over a year ago. It exposes the vast misunderstandings and distorted viewpoints of David Loya, Arcata's Community Development Director, with regard to what determines the costs of housing. Please read and see if you can make any sense out of what Mr. Loya is proposing for Arcata.

David Loya on Affordable Housing – May 9, 2023 staff report to the Planning Commission

Affordable Housing, Home Ownership, and Gentrification were featured topics for discussion at the May 9, 2023, Planning Commission meeting.  But there was no discussion of affordable housing or home-ownership opportunities at that Planning Commission meeting.  No discussion at all -- just a staff report on this crucial topics. **** This is that staff report -- with COMMENTARY.

David Loya at the Environmental Planners workshop – November 10, 2020

Presentation by David Loya at a "brown bag lunch" November 10, 2020. Hosted by the  Redwood Coast Chapter of the Association of Environmental Planners / American Planning Association.  45 minutes.

David Loya on Home Ownership

Condensed version of Complete Nonsense: David Loya’s May 23 Staff Report on Ownership Opportunities

Providing housing for people is the key purpose of the Gateway Area Plan. "Home ownership opportunities” is defined as owner-occupied housing that’s affordable to people of all income ranges, including middle-income and even lower-income households. *** David Loya told the Planning Commission how these home ownership opportunities could happen. In my view, what he describes as being feasible is nonsense.

Complete Nonsense: David Loya’s May 23 Staff Report on Ownership Opportunities

Providing housing for people is the key purpose of the Gateway Area Plan. "Home ownership opportunities” is defined as owner-occupied housing that’s affordable to people of all income ranges, including middle-income and even lower-income households. *** David Loya told the Planning Commission how these home ownership opportunities could happen. In my view, what he describes as being feasible is nonsense.

David Loya on Home Ownership – May 9, 2023

As David Loya puts it: The Gateway Area Plan has three primary means for increasing ownership opportunities. First, as the unit count in the area increases to meet the housing needs of the rental sector, new units with comparable rents to bedrooms in single-family homes that are older will attract the current market sector renting single-family homes. The single-family housing stock currently in the student housing market will become less attractive as an investment asset, and those homes will open to the for-sale market.

More Loya Nonsense: High Density Apartments will cause vacancies in Houses

Arcata's Community Development Director David Loya explains his version of how single-family houses will become available for sale. As more apartments are built, people will want to live in apartments and rental houses will become vacant, and the owners will sell. Could this be true?

Other articles

Berkeley modular “village” housing with rooftop garden

Garden Village is a 77-unit student-orientated apartment building located in Berkeley, California completed in August of 2016. Designed to echo the massing and rhythm of the community, the innovative design departs from the standard single-volume building. Instead, 18 distinct building volumes are spread out in a garden and linked by exterior walkways in a design that seamlessly integrates into the surrounding fabric of the community.

Windowless bedrooms? Sunlight is considered a luxury benefit

In recent years, windowless bedrooms have become somewhat normalized on college campuses. Students at the University of Texas, Austin and the University of Michigan are currently renting dorm bedrooms without windows. Sunlight in your bedroom could become a luxury as cities debate allowing landlords to rent windowless rooms in former office buildings to alleviate the housing crisis.

Pre-Fab Modular Housing – a dozen articles and more

Modular housing could be an answer to state housing crisis. A collection of articles from other sources, and lots of photos. Modules can be assembled into apartment buildings 40% more quickly and 20% cheaper than traditional construction. ------- From factories in Vallejo, Sacramento, Klamath Falls OR, Idaho, Canada, and China.

Does Building Luxury Condos Create More Affordable Housing?

This article is a re-print of the article of the same name in the July 25/August 1, 2022, issue of The Nation. It...

Three things California must do to address Affordable Housing

Changing the RHNA allocation and Tax Credits could do more to help build Affordable Housing. An article from The Marin Post.