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Indybay Feature

Housing on the Agenda at Santa Cruz City Council

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
4:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Event Type:
Micah Posner
Location Details:
Santa Cruz City Hall
809 Center Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Dear Community Members,

I know it has been a long time since my last email. I have been focused on taking care of the family while Akiko (my partner) goes to school more than full time to become a teacher.

I have also been having a visceral experience with housing. I am building a 'tiny house' with permits behind my home. By supervising the project and doing most of the work myself I am getting a hands on experience of what it is like to build permitted housing in Santa Cruz. We just poured the slab (I hired someone to help float it), and should be starting on the walls next week.

In the meantime, THIS TUESDAY, September 26th, the City Council will take on two important proposals to address the housing crisis here in the City. The first is to close a loophole in their inclusionary housing ordinance. The City theoretically requires all developments of 6 units or more to include 15% affordable housing on site. Affordable housing allows working people to live in Santa Cruz because it sets rent at less than the average income and requires proof of that income to be eligible for the housing. However, developers are commonly let off without actually providing anywhere near 15% affordable housing. One gaping loophole in the ordinance states that condominium and townhouse developments can rent their units at full market rate without providing affordable housing and need only provide the housing when they are sold. This is exactly what many of the largest developers intend to do, including a very large proposal that would rebuild most of the buildings on Front and Pacific south of the Metro Station. Unless the Council closes the loophole and shows a firm resolve, downtown will be recreated with large buildings that have no affordable housing. This item will be heard between 4PM and 6PM, so come at 4PM to City Hall at 809 Center Street. And/or weigh in by email to citycouncil [at]

Then, at 7PM, the City Council will consider eliminating additional vacation rentals as a way to preserve rental housing and protect neighborhoods. Vacation rentals in the City of Santa Cruz have increased from 71 to 572 in three years due to the ease with which they can be advertised via Airbnb. This represents a net loss of rental housing in the City, which gained 263 new residential units in the last 3 years. In San Francisco, 30% of rental housing is consumed by short term vacation rentals. Vacation rentals in Santa Cruz are likely to significantly, and negatively, effect our local housing market if left unchecked. Vacation rentals also create instability in neighborhoods. Instead of neighbors looking out for each other and developing resilient communities, vacation rentals fill residential houses with people staying for a night or two that have no commitment to our neighborhoods. Come to the City Council Meeting or weigh in by email to citycouncil [at]

Housing is the way that capitalism oppresses people here in Santa Cruz. Please get involved.

Micah Posner
Added to the calendar on Sun, Sep 24, 2017 11:08PM
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