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Housing Conundrum – Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

We have a housing conundrum in Alameda. Since the 2008 housing crisis, California has not built enough houses to meet demand. As a result, housing has become hard to find and hard to afford for many. The state is now requiring California cities to add housing. It’s asking Alameda to build 5,353 housing units between 2023 and 2031 and to spread out the new housing so that it’s fair for all income levels. The City’s plan is detailed in the Housing Element document available at www.alameda2040.org/housing. The document details the allocation of the 5,353 units along with 1,031 additional contingency units.

On the flip side, Alameda’s citizens have made it clear that we don’t want our housing to get too dense. We passed Measure A in 1973 and updated it in 1991 to limit residential density. In 2020, the City Council asked Alameda to repeal Measure A with Measure Z and we rejected it by a 60-40 margin.

After those votes, the inclusion of a clause to upzone 16,530 homes is especially egregious. It upzones 2,500 acres in the hope that enough of those homes will add space or sell to developers to add 270 housing units over the next eight years. However, once the 16,530 homes are upzoned, every one of them will be eligible for dense multi-family development. Without those 270 units, the housing element still includes 6,114 units (5,353 plus 761 contingency) fairly spread out across Alameda.

I encourage the Council to reject the dramatic 2,500-acre upzoning portion of the Housing Element. Let’s get the balance right between meeting the state’s requirements and protecting our neighborhoods.

Paul Beusterien

Editorials and Letters to the Editor

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