Monday, May 1, 2017

Just in case you missed this from yesterday.

Do you know what a “YIMBY” is? And thoughts about “Making Room for the Middle”, housing and city planning by Jeff Perlman:

“I’m in the boat, pull up the ladder” is not a strategy for economic sustainability.
Jeff Perlman, community activist, author, and former mayor of Delray Beach.

The blog post below is from April 2016. If housing, Millennials, western sprawl, and similar topics are of interest to you here in Lake Worth, look around and see how far we’ve progressed over the last year and where you think there’s a need for improvement. Are we doing enough as a City to help solve the lack of housing in Palm Beach County?

Jeff Perlman is going to get a lot of people talking with this article. And that’s a good thing; but not so good for others. He doesn’t mention any names, groups, or “movements” locally here in Palm Beach County and neither will they be mentioned in this blog post. That effort would take a long time. If you’ve been paying attention to planning issues, housing, and zoning you already know who the opposition always is to new development.

In short it comes down to a disconnect. The very same people that will decry the lack of affordable housing and/or economic opportunity will rise up in opposition to nearly any development at all. That opposition, to cite one example, housing, has resulted in the pace of new homes, condos, apartments, etc., being much too slow keeping up with demand and — per market rules — prices have gone up. Especially so now that we’re in another boom period in south Florida.

What occurred in San Francisco is a cautionary tale and those lessons need to be heeded here in Palm Beach County. So, without further ado, a few excepts from the Perlman article on “Making Room for the Middle”:

     “The headline blared ‘Build, Baby, Build’ in Sunday’s New York Times.
     The story focused on the growing YIMBY (yes in my backyard) movement [emphasis added] in the hyper expensive Bay Area of California.
      The lack of work force housing in the San Francisco area is stoking a movement to pressure local governments to allow the construction of more housing. Led by young professionals, groups are forming to confront those who fight new development.

and. . .

     “Several local elected officials have welcomed the YIMBY movement saying it is important for young professionals to feel they have a future in the region and that cities need to be thinking about ways they can plan to accommodate their needs.
     It’s an interesting debate and one that may soon break out in the Sunshine state.
     In case you haven’t noticed, housing is expensive around these parts and if you know your economics one way to lower prices is to increase the supply.

     While that is a simplification of the issue, it’s hard not to include density in any serious argument about addressing the need to create workforce housing.

and. . .

     “[T]he best economic development strategies would include plans to make our cities appealing to young professionals. There are several legs to that stool: abundant job opportunities, good schools, low crime rates, amenities such as arts, culture, parks and recreation, good transportation and attainable housing.
     Regardless, to ensure a positive future you have to plan for it. The operative word is plan. Perhaps, there would be less antagonism toward new development if it was tied to a long term vision or strategy. If that strategy is to make room for young families or to plan for our kids to come home it may resonate. Still, just about any plan for the future would require making room for those who may wish to live here. ‘I’m in the boat, pull up the ladder’ is not a strategy for economic sustainability.

That last line is a really good one, isn’t it?