Voices of Elk Grove - Affordable housing shouldn't be just apartments

During the October 11, 2023, Elk Grove City Council meeting, a renowned smart-growth advocate said Elk Grove should expand affordable housing options, not just through additional apartment units.

During public comment on non-agenda items, Lynn Wheat noted that as the city adds new single-family dwellings, affordable units should be included so families can have the opportunity for home ownership (see video below).

Wheat noted that through the years, Elk Grove would designate specific areas in the general plan for affordable housing only to change the zoning to other designations. 

She said developers should be encouraged to include "inclusionary housing and having some of our developers build affordable homes that some of our residents can purchase and actually live in."

For various reasons, there is a need for so-called starter homes nationally. One primary reason is that profit margins are more significant for bigger dwellings. 

"Developers often build larger homes because they are more profitable," Eclipse Cottages CEO Justin Draplin, who is developing communities of green tiny homes in South Carolina, says. "They can sell more square footage and charge higher prices for larger houses."

Draplin added, "Most 1,000-square-foot units are stacked onto each other and developed as apartment complexes."

According to Realtor.com, "In the 1940s, homes were affordable, making climbing the rungs to wealth building through property possible. In 1947, starter homes cost between $8,000 and $12,000. That's $109,000 to $168,000 in today's dollars."

Recognizing the problem, as seen in this video, during the June 22, 2022, city council meeting, Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen committed to making more affordable starter homes available in Elk Grove. 

"We also need to create homes, those entry-level homes, because that is also part of the affordable housing crisis," Singh-Allen said. "It's not just to be able to rent a place."

So far, there has been no movement to add additional starter homes in Elk Grove.     

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

Granite Bay runs the show folks! The Sacramento region developers have ruled the roost ever since plywood was invented and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Let them build the biggest homes with minimal government interference they say. Turn your back on Granite Bay and you'll find yourself out of a City Council post, unless you can find financial support from somewhere else.

Roseville and Davis are the nearest communities that impose inclusionary housing requirements on developers. Davis political support is dominated by the people themselves (what a novel concept!). Roseville has a superior housing market and demographics, so  Granite Bay plays the game because it still pencils out handsomely for them. 

When our Mayor now speaks of wanting more affordable ownership units, don't think for a minute that Elk Grove has grown a backbone and Granite Bay will hop to it. No, this is a dog whistle that says there is free government money waiting for them if they voluntarily build low income homes. That dog whistle is not a bark or even a growl--it's just an offer of a Milk Bone if they don't jerk our leash too hard!

Renegade said...

As usual, Lynn is right. She knows no one is listening on the dais, but she has more drive, determination and knowledge than anyone sitting up there. Her views may not be popular but they are always offered for the greater good of society, not reelection.

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