Mountain Housing Council announces Regional Housing Implementation Plan | SierraSun.com
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Mountain Housing Council announces Regional Housing Implementation Plan

Council addresses housing emergency, discusses new plan

 

A housing development underway at Coldstream.
Elizabeth White

There are currently 9,528 local workforce households that are inadequately housed.

The Mountain Housing Council wants to change that.

The council was formed to help different organizations within the region come together to collaborate on solutions. At its July meeting the Mountain Housing Council declared a housing emergency in the region in order to address the immediate needs of workforce and community housing.



Its latest meeting was held Friday, Oct. 22, and hosted by Mountain Housing Council Project Director, Tara Zuardo. At that meeting new laws and a plan for housing were announced.

HOUSING POLICY

Brittany Benesi, the Sierra Business Council’s government and community affairs director, guided the group through newly implemented policy decisions in California related to affordable housing. Benesi said the historic California state revenue surplus of 2021-22 allowed for additional funding of affordable housing developments.



The council’s Policy Working Group stood in support of Senate Bill 9 and 10. Beenesi said SB 9 allows for single-family zone parcels to be split into two, with up to two residential units contained on each parcel. SB 10 allows for greater density in transit or job-rich areas as defined by the state.

“Both of these bills will take effect January 1, 2022, and will basically make it easier for Californians to build more than one housing unit on many properties that for decades have been reserved exclusively for single family homes — and will also give cities greater flexibility to place small apartment complexes in neighborhoods near public transit,” said Benesi.

THREE-PART PLAN

MHC-Regional-Housing-Implementation-Plan_Executive-Summary.pdf

At the meeting, Stacy Caldwell, CEO of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, presented the new Regional Housing Implementation Plan. That plan includes renewing housing data for more accurate statistics, site “pitch sheets” with useful land information to help streamline the process for housing developers, and creating a housing hub that helps meet the needs of both the community and developers.

The most recent housing data was taken from the 2020 census. Caldwell said that a new methodology would be needed to acquire more up-to-date statistics that would ideally be updated more frequently.

“Ultimately, we need to make sure that our region holds a space for aggregated data across the jurisdictions on an annual basis. In addition, that needs to be dis-aggregated by race to make sure that we’re also looking at diversity, equity, and inclusion,” said Caldwell.

Caldwell also introduced the idea of doing pitch sheets. These sheets are intended to be forms that contain data and necessary information on parcels of land available for development. They will be ready for housing developers who may be seeking opportunities in the Truckee/Tahoe region.

The pitch sheets, according to Caldwell, are intended to be handled by a “housing hub” that will serve the purpose of aiding housing developers in the sometimes arduous process of purchasing land and building — while also finding community-driven solutions to the housing emergency.

Steve Frisch, president of Sierra Business Council, sees the pitch sheets not only as a means of outreach to the development community, but believes that they play a valuable role in the housing hub.

“Having a professionalized organization or set of staff outside of the jurisdictions who can work directly with the development community to balance community vision with the aspirations of the development community… so that… there has been early discussions with neighbors and surrounding businesses about what the regional impacts or benefits might be,” said Frisch.

The different functions of the housing hub will be to provide technical assistance to developers in order to help them navigate the development process, as well as to secure funding for the developments. It will also be used as a way to manage different programs such as rental and home buyer assistance and hold land or funding for the deployment of housing projects or programs — if the council decides to move forward with this plan.

“The great news is that there’s all of this growth and new capacity happening. We now need to be super strategic in these next 18 months to put the right energy into the right things,” said Caldwell.

Elizabeth White is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at ewhite@sierrasun.com


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