Jun 5, 2009
commented on Thinking Small
I support affordable housing, but that doesn't mean I support any project that a developer slaps an affordable housing label (any more than I support every initiative touted as "green" or every corporate tax break that will "create jobs").
Whether you support or oppose this project, it's fair to question whether doing an end-run around zoning laws and building overly-dense transient housing units in a single family neighborhood is going to help the larger cause.
Let me ask this: you readers who are so quick to brand as NIMBYs those who question or disagree with this project: would you support siting a McDonald's in the middle of Fremont? Would you support a prison-release transitional housing next to an elementary school? There are very good reasons for zoning. It's completely appropriate for people to work toward preserving the character of their neighborhoods, whether it's Broadway or Broadmoor. And that means imposing limits and boundaries and controls.
Let's work toward a more economically diverse neighborhoods, but let's do it in a thoughtful, balanced way. Let's not rush to embrace anything dressed up as "affordable housing." Perhaps this developer has a great solution that will help create more diverse communities. Perhaps he's just another slum-lord looking to get rich and leaving the neighbors to pick up the costs: overcrowding, crime, drugs, litter, vandalism. But this project clearly merits very close scrutiny. And let's put in place some protections so that if the worst does happen, the neighborhood can do something about it.