Housing Crisis Top Topic

houseing crisisNew data from the CIRB, Construction Industry Research Board, indicating building growth when they released their August 2016 data, which details the number of new building permits in California during a given month. In August there were 4,059 new single family units and 5,216 multi-family units, totaling 9,275 new homes. 2,300 more as compared to last August.

The need for new housing is a top topic for candidate for election of the 5th District who say addressing the housing crisis is their top priority, though their ideas on how to address it differ.

One candidate’s strategy focuses on streamlining the permitting process for new development and creating other incentives for developers to build new units.

The other candidate has said she would require developers to include on-site affordable housing in all new residential and commercial developments, expressing strong support for so-called inclusionary zoning laws.
In either case, increased building  will likely remain top of mind in the SF Bay Area as the housing crisis only grows due to increasing population and the booming Tech
Economy .

Fast Track for Affordable Housing

multiplex image for all trussIn the May revision to the 2016-17 state budget, Gov. Jerry Brown addressed California’s severe housing shortage by suggesting legislation to expedite the permitting process for developers who include affordable homes in their projects. The report also said, however, that requiring developers to set aside 20 percent of housing for low-income households may prevent some developers from taking advantage of the proposed streamlined approval.

The California Association of Realtors applauded the voluntary permitting process. “With a historically low homeownership rate of 54 percent and record high rents, the dream of owning a home in California has become increasingly more difficult to attain,” said C.A.R. President Pat Zicarelli. “C.A.R. recognizes the urgency of California’s housing crisis and fully supports Gov. Brown’s efforts to reduce development costs and improve the pace of housing production.

All Aboard! SMART train to drive population increase and building in the North Bay

Smarttrain image for all trussSmart Train is almost here with a launch date slated for the 4th Quarter 2016. This is predicted to provide another housing ramp up in the North Bay!

With the recent announcement of the fare structure for the SMART train, businesses, schools and government agencies in Marin and Sonoma Counties are gearing up to provide shuttle service to and from the train for their employees, including discounts.

About 30 train trips will be daily, mostly geared toward commuter hours. SMART has been working with other operators, like CityBus in Santa Rosa, Petaluma Transit, Marin Transit, and others to coordinate service.

A special pass purchased through an employer, school, social services agency or other institution will provide rider with a discount. The year-long SMART EcoPass discount will range from 23 percent for less than 50 passes purchased, to 44% for 500-plus passes. There will also be a 50 percent discount for seniors, college students and veterans.

“More than 70 percent of respondents to a recent survey at Santa Rosa Junior College (Santa Rosa and Petaluma campuses only) showed students and employees willing to consider taking the SMART train- So that’s a great start. And we greatly appreciate the proposed discount for students and employees.” said Dr. Frank Chong, president of the college, which has approximately 3,000 employees and 28,000 students. “SRJC is dedicated to sustainability and encouraging greater use of public transportation, as well as bicycles. We’re going to continue working with SMART officials to incentivize greater usage of SMART trains. ”

SMART is working directly with various companies to help coordinate shuttle service for their employees, and the chambers of commerce in Santa Rosa and Novato are working with local employers acting as a bridge between businesses and shuttle services.

Those businesses in Marin include Buck Institute for Research on Aging, BioMarin, Sutter Health, Birkenstock, TravelSmith and Novato Unified School District. In July, the Novato chamber will be coming out with a document listing a menu of options for creating a shuttle service program that outlines tax benefits, provides a list of shuttle companies and cost quotes.

The initial 43-mile train route runs from the transit station in downtown San Rafael to the industrial parks near Charles M. Schulz—Sonoma County Airport.

Article excerpted from the North Bay Business Journal
Authored by Cynthia Sweeny

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