Tag Archives: affordable housing

Whoops: Portland city officials over-estimate (by 5 times) the number of new homes they expected an infill project to create

Wonder how long it will take Portland bureaucrats to create affordable homes to solve their homeless crisis with this kind of “planning?”

From Oregon Live: Portland planners publicly overstated by five times the number of new homes they expect a controversial infill plan could create over the next two decades.

City officials boasted that their plan projects “the addition of 24,000 units in triplexes or fourplexes” by the year 2035.

But the city’s own forecasts paint a much different picture.

Planners expect a net of fewer than 4,000 new units to be built in residential neighborhoods citywide under their infill plan, according to numbers obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive and not previously disclosed by the city.

What’s more, the plan isn’t expected to deliver those new homes to the inner eastside neighborhoods as planners have stated, an analysis of those numbers shows. Instead, it would disproportionately steer a majority of new units to poorer neighborhoods east of 82nd Avenue, where the risk of displacing residents is high.

It’s not clear which number might ultimately prove more accurate.

But planners have trumpeted the higher figure of new homes when they talk about ways to offer more housing options to keep prices affordable while using the lower figure to analyze specific neighborhood impacts and the potential that vulnerable residents could get pushed out to make way for the new homes.

The infill proposal could become official city policy by this summer. The city’s volunteer Planning and Sustainability Commission is expected to vote on the proposal Tuesday before referring it to the City Council for final action.

While forecasting home construction is an inexact science, city officials acknowledge they haven’t adequately communicated their infill projections. Nothing in their work was intended to be misleading, they say.

“We need to be more articulate,” said Donnie Oliveira, a spokesman for Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

Planners say their overarching objective isn’t to hit a quota for new infill but rather to create more choices about the types of homes available in residential neighborhoods. Changing the zoning code is the only way to add new housing options, they say, even if it takes several decades for developers to build significantly more infill units.

“It’s a major step in removing the regulatory barriers, but not the market barriers,” said Morgan Tracy, a lead planner on the project.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

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Seattle to spend “about” $450,000/unit to build “affordable” homes

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan

Unlike private developers, Seattle doesn’t have to worry about making a profit (or even breaking even). There’s always more taxpayer dollars available for the taking!

From MyNorthwest.com: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is moving forward with her about $90 million plan to redevelop Discovery Park’s Fort Lawton into more than 200 affordable homes.

Fort Lawton is a former military base located in Seattle’s Discovery Park and near the Magnolia neighborhood.
The plan includes 85 homes for seniors, approximately 100 homes for low-income individuals and families, and up to 52 homes designated for ownership opportunities.

Senior housing will come equipped with support services. Rentals will be priced for households making up to 60 percent of the median area income. Homes for sale will be reserved for households under 80 percent of median area income.

Sixty percent of the site will be reserved for park and park-related uses.

The Army currently leases the land to Seattle, but avoids tax burdens if it transfers the acreage to the city. One catch: The land must be used for parks or homeless housing to get the tax breaks.

The latest draft updates the 2008 plan to make it consistent with the Fort Lawton Army Reserve Center Environmental Impact Statement issued in March 2018. The city also did community outreach and hosted public hearings to get additional input.

Durkan has scheduled a public meeting for Feb. 11 to take comments and said she would send the plan to Seattle City Council in upcoming weeks.

DCG

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SF Mayor commits $100 million to modular housing factory, predicts savings of $50,000 per unit

Mayor London Breed: Taking a $100 million risk with taxpayer dollars

Like many west coast, progressive run cities, San Francisco has a homeless crisis. The city has doubled the amount of taxpayer money they spend on the crisis and as of 2017 there were almost 7,500 homeless citizens.

The homeless are allowed to defecate and urinate on the streets and also use drugs. I’ve chronicled the many problems on the streets of San Francisco. See the following posts:

Yesterday Mayor London Breed announced that taxpayers will be committed to spending $100 million to attract a modular housing factory to build more affordable housing. See her press release here.

Excerpts from her press release:

  • Mayor London N. Breed today announced a commitment of $100 million in City taxpayer funding to purchase affordable housing made using modular construction built in San Francisco. The commitment represents the first production order for a new modular housing facility that will be built in the City in partnership with the San Francisco Building Trades.
  • The City selected the international design firm Nelson Worldwide to conduct a feasibility study for a new modular housing factory on Port-controlled industrial lands. Nelson Worldwide has already started conducting stakeholder meetings, data collection, and analysis necessary to support a future facility to determine capital investment requirements, operational and staffing goals, and supply and demand targets. The second phase of the feasibility study, expected to be completed by the end of year, will develop the business plan for the future factory.
  • “We are in a housing crisis and the reality is we need to produce affordable housing much quicker than we currently do, or we will continue to see displacement of our low and middle-income communities,” said Mayor Breed. “By building a modular housing factory in our own backyard, we can create housing faster and more cost-effectively, while also creating great union jobs in partnership with our labor leaders.”

Whenever government utters the words “cost-effective” and “union jobs” in the same sentence, I question what they have been smoking.

Anyhow, the good mayor left some details out of her press release that I came across in the SF Chronicle story. For example:

  • The city does not know at this time who will run the facility.
  • The mayor hopes the city’s promise to buy modular homes will entice an operator to open a facility.
  • The modular housing manufacturer won’t be providing any homes for YEARS.
  • The city is hoping that modular homes could bring down construction costs by 10 percent as technology improves.
  • Of the total cost for a modular home and land (up to $800,000), city taxpayers fund approximately $350,000 per unit after grants and other funding sources.
  • The mayor thinks the city can shave $50,000 off the cost of each unit.
  • The city is estimating that the $100 million will provide around 400 apartment units.

Read the SF Chronicle article here.

There’s quite a bit of “hopes,” “thinks,” and “estimates” in this taxpayer-funded project.

I think it’s cute that the mayor can make a prediction of cost savings per unit when the feasibility study isn’t even complete. Is she an expert in predicting future construction costs and real estate market values?

I understand a long-term solution is desirable yet question just how competently a progressive, government-run project can effectively solve any issue. One thing I know for sure, that union endorsement is going to pay off for the Teamsters.

DCG

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How Seattle spends taxpayer dollars to solve homeless crisis: A $14 million permit system that delays projects

The homeless situation in Seattle/Q13Fox photo

This is a repost of an August 2018 post.

As with many progressive-run cities on the west coast, Seattle has a major homelessness population.

So how did the bureaucrats in Seattle decide to spend waste taxpayer dollars to solve the crisis and build affordable housing at a more rapid pace? By spending $14 MILLION taxpayer dollars on a new construction/permit system.

The system has been described as a failure, nightmare and debacle. Just about what you would expect from a government agency.

Here’s the report on Seattle’s latest attempt to keep the homeless industrial complex alive and well.

From the Seattle Times: Debacle. Screw-up. Nightmare.

Those are some of the words builders use to describe Seattle’s new $14 million online system for construction permits, inspections and complaints.

The botched rollout of a flawed system has cost time and money, they say, angered clients and delayed projects the city needs to house its exploding population.

Soon after launch, the new system repeatedly stalled and permit documents appeared to go missing. Tempers grew so hot that at one point the city called the police on a livid customer.

“This system has been a pretty big disaster,” said Maria Barrientos, whose company develops mixed-income apartment buildings. “I don’t know why there are so many problems and glitches, but they should have been vetted before the launch.”

The Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) began planning for the new system years ago but chose to transition at an awkward moment — the start of the warm-weather construction season at the peak of a historic building boom.

The department already was dealing with severe backlogs, and the chaotic April 30 transition made them worse, affecting projects ranging from kitchen remodels and backyard cottages to stores and apartment buildings.

“The recent launch … did not meet our expectations for effectiveness and service,” SDCI Director Nathan Torgelson acknowledged in a public message July 2. “We know that this rocky rollout had a negative impact on our customers and the public, and I am very sorry about that. We’re working hard to make this right.”

The number of permit applications completing initial review plummeted 75 percent from April to May, from 266 to 66, meaning some 200 projects were initially set back.

Read the whole story here.


I’m fresh out of empathy for progressives. You continually elect ineffective leaders who do nothing more than waste your hard-earned money.

If voters in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, etc. truly cared about the homeless, they’d start electing officials – other than democrats – who can actually address their citizen’s needs.

 

DCG

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