Sonoma needs affordable, not ‘market rate’, housing

Posted on April 14, 2022 by Sonoma Valley Sun
Sonoma’s projected $1.9 million city budget surplus is a reflection of our vibrant economy, which is based largely on tourism. However the lack of affordable housing for local workers is a crisis. We will not have great restaurants and wineries if workers do not have a place to live.
The only option local workers have is to commute from homes that they can afford that are farther and farther away. Commuting by car spews CO2 into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. The City Council has passed a Climate Emergency Resolution and I think that this should be foremost in their decisions. Therefore providing affordable housing should be required. I urge the City Council to follow the Planning Commission’s recommendation for requiring a residential component in all developments.
We should mandate that these new housing units be affordable, not “market rate”. Workers at local shops and tourist business cannot afford “market rate” housing. The homes on both sides of my house are second homes, which reduces the housing stock available to local workers, teachers and public safety workers. Approving more “market rate” housing will just bring in more second home owners and vacation rentals. If we continue with this status quo, where will the workers at the local businesses that attract visitors live?
Given the perilous state of our planet’s climate the Sonoma should not allow development that encourages more visitors and assumes workers will continue to commute long distances.
— Matt Metzler, Sonoma


4 thoughts on “Sonoma needs affordable, not ‘market rate’, housing

  1. If people just sold their homes to the lowest bidder, the problem would be solved 🙂

  2. I feel that additional affordable housing is a great idea. Not to be a downer … but how would below-market development get paid for?

    1. The city and the county has partnered with non profits in the past to do affordable housing and can do so again. They could also form trusts that would govern who gets the homes, so they can be given to Sonoma valley residents and not be open to all Californians. Trusts can also partner with financial institutions to provide loans, and factor in sweat equity from applicants. Transient occupancy tax could be increased to help fund housing construction. There are creative ways to do this.

    2. California Community Reinvestment Corporation
      • California Debit Limit Allocation Committee
      • California Tax Credit Allocation Committee
      • City of Los Angeles HCID – HHH
      • City of Los Angeles HCID – HOME
      • City of Los Angeles HCID – LMIHF
      • Los Angeles County Development Authority
      • Los Angeles County Department of Health Services
      • US Bank

      This is an example of the many layers of funding required for affordable housing with supportive housing for Homeless

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