New housing is change for a community, and existing residents can be fearful of change as well as newcomers. But debunking the myths is important. For example:
–Will my property values go down? Not one study exists that building new housing decreases existing property values; in fact, some studies actually show the opposite.
–Doesn’t new housing cause traffic to worsen? In fact, more commute into OC to work than the other way around. Irvine’s population doubles every day because it is such a strong jobs magnet. Traffic congestion and longer commutes occur when folks can’t live near where they work, and when local leaders fail to plan. Houses are where jobs go to sleep at night.
–Our city is “built out”. In fact, no city is “built out” unless, perhaps, they have no children and no jobs. Every city can repurpose aging strip malls and retail sites for modern uses, including housing.
–Why can’t our children just live in San Bernardino (or wherever)? By state law, every city is required to plan for, and implement those plans, for growth in jobs and population. Sending “our children” and workers and teachers and health care providers and firefighters to “San Bernardino” means greater commutes, traffic congestion, poor quality of life.
–Why can’t everything just stay the same? Because innovation is happening every day, faster than imagined. Retail stores are giving way to online shopping. Entertainment preferences are different. The use of Uber, Lyft and other mobility technologies thrive in addition to a future of automated vehicles. An aging workforce remains, with retirees are living longer lives. Young families are relocating to more affordable areas. We can plan for change–and implement those plans–or that change will plan us! State government needs to get out of the way, streamline processes, develop environmental rules that are predictable, reward jurisdictions that are doing the right thing with new funding, and come down hard on those who choose to send their growth to others to deal with. Legislation is needed to limit ridiculous CEQA lawsuits that are used for contract leverage, not real environmental issues. Limit recovery in CEQA lawsuits to additional mitigation, not project “do-overs”. Local governments must cut the red tape, plan, zone and mean it, allowing builders ministerial permit opportunities.