Housing Development Sparks Backlash in California

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By Ric Oberlink

Ric Oberlink is the Executive Director of CAPS

July 23, 2019
 
Decades of unprecedented population growth has taken its toll on California. Cities in California are among the most polluted in the nation. Water shortages continue to plague swaths of the state. What were once seasonal wildfires in California now rage all year long, fueled by the “wildland-urban Interface,” or areas where human development butt up against nature. 

The problems are many - and will likely get worse as the Golden State grapples with another symptom of unsustainable population growth - its burgeoning housing crisis. As the state reaches 40 million residents, the rate of new housing construction has not kept up with population growth. According to one report, 3 million new homes must be built in California by 2025 to satisfy demand. 

The L.A. Times’ Daily Pilot recently spotlighted the problem in Huntington Beach, CA, where housing development has divided residents and sparked a legal battle among locals and residential developers: 

In Huntington Beach, developer Tahir Salim recently appealed the Planning Commission’s denial of a plan to build 48 residential units at the northeast corner of Beach Boulevard and Ellis Avenue. The Elan Huntington Beach luxury apartments are across the street from the proposed site. Such high-density developments are criticized by residents who feel they strip the city of its beach-town charm.

In January, California sued Huntington Beach over what state officials described as the city’s failure to allow enough homebuilding to accommodate a growing population. The case is continuing.

For decades California has tried to treat symptoms of its housing crisis by building more homes, rather than addressing the underlying problem. Unsustainable population growth fueled by mass immigration has created a vicious supply and demand cycle that is taking its toll on California.

Before millions of new homes are built across California, Governor Newsom and lawmakers should take a hard look at policies which have created California’s housing crisis.  
 

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