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Letter: Zoning plans go beyond state mandate

January 15, 2014

One of the most pressing issues facing our community is leaving the station quickly; and without public involvement city officials are on course to significantly overburden our community, reducing our quality of life. California requires all cities to share the weight of housing supply shortages by zoning for low-income housing and shelters. While we have an obligation to comply with the law and a social responsibility for those in need, our city can only absorb a reasonable amount of said burden.

The planning department created a plan based on growth and development inconsistent with our interest by rezoning for more low-income multifamily housing than the law requires. This opens the possibility of uncontrolled expansion at the mercy of developers, ignoring the costs of crime prevention, infrastructure and education.

The city is rezoning to accommodate 700-plus housing units and 18 locations for shelters while our allocation is 343 units and one shelter. Asked at the last planning commission hearing about the excess amount of zoning, the city’s senior planner stated he was preparing for the future. What future does the commission have in mind for our city?

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City officials have assured us not to worry as high land values make low-income development uneconomical. These officials minimize the amount of funding options such as California’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program used in Irvine, with one asset manager even reporting to have raised $348 million. Let’s not be naive — there is demand for real estate.

While we must comply with the law, we can responsibly absorb our allocation and better integrate low-income housing to minimize the impact on our community. However, by zoning more than the required amount of land for low-income housing close to our schools and Memorial Park we are giving developers too many options, losing our ability to control our growth, and risking our future. Why take the risk? If you believe our future should be in the community’s hands and not in those of developers you make your voice heard at or before the upcoming City Council meeting on Jan. 21.

David Rose
La Cañada Flintridge

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