Novato Community Alliance Supports the City's Draft Housing Element for 2007-2014

"We the undersigned Novato residents support the City of Novato Draft Housing Element received for review by the Department of Housing and Community Development October 25, 2012."

Dear Novato Residents:

The executive board of Novato Community Alliance invites you to support a petition that says:

"We the undersigned Novato residents support the City of Novato Draft Housing Element received for review by the Department of Housing and Community Development October 25, 2012."

Novato is a suburban/rural community of 52,000-plus residents. In 2012, Novato city planners submitted the Draft Housing Element for 2007 to 2014, to the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in Sacramento. This document describes how Novato will meet state mandated guidelines to provide land zoned for a diverse range of housing needs.

In order to comply with state regulations, Novato city planners have zoned 20 units per acre for low income multifamily housing. Opponents from special interest groups believe that the 20 unit per acre designation is inadequate. They want to maintain a 30-unit per acre designation. Twenty units per acre represents a designation of suburban while 30 units per acre represents a designation of metropolitan. Novato is a suburban/rural community.

We support the work of the Novato city planning department. We believe that the Draft Housing Element should be approved as it was written. We believe that a density of 20 units per acre for multifamily housing fits with the suburban /rural character of our city. If you agree, please sign the petition to let the City Council know what you think.

Novato Community Alliance is a grassroots neighborhood organization whose goals are to protect the quality of life in Novato through information, conversation and resident participation in the community and in local government. Be heard and be informed. For more information on how to gather written signatures please contact NCA through the website.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tired February 01, 2013 at 03:00 PM
It doesn't matter if you support it silly, the State has already said it is rejected as far as I can tell. I doubt they will change the density, except maybe in downtown where it should be higher. But the difference between 20 and 30 units/acre is nothing. There are plenty of apartments in Novato over 30 units acre already. Case in point is the Rotary club's senior housing. And those lovely apartments on South Novato Near library think they are called Creekwood? Anyhow, the petition is useless because the Council has already voted to keep a low density and the draft housing element didn't cut the mustard whether you support it our not.
Dave Robertson February 01, 2013 at 07:58 PM
I'm going to keep on asking this until I turn blue or get very old doing so - precisely what growth is expected in Novato that warrants any new housing in this time frame? Are we going to open up a satellite headquarters for Google, or a new Toyota plant? I would expect that jobs IN NOVATO have been decreasing over recent years. If this is true, why do we need any more housing for anyone?
Eleanor Sluis February 01, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Yes, to the petition. The state only wants tweaking of the document and reasons why Novato wants fewer segregated and uneconomically feasible units when the City does not have the money nor the support of those who wrote the Vision Plan for 2018 or the General Plan. If the state and county are not locked into a rigid bureaucracy of law enforcement, and other entities are not locked into gaming for federal funds, then flexibility and compromises will save the day. The more people speak and write about what is best for our Novato Community the more informed the politicians, businesses, and taxpayers will be. Thanks to the ad hoc committee and staff for the months spent preparing a draft document. The majority needs to be listened. Business interests were in the minority. This showed that the public in Novato wanted a balanced approach in our political dealings with rigid numbers and approaches. When neighborhoods, local voices, and environmental issues come first in the city, county, and state politics, then will we have a better democracy for Novato and not an underhanded economic force setting the agendas.
Al Dugan February 01, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Dave, here are the crazy numbers. Novato is being gamed and the numbers make no sense. From 1999 to 2014 they are asking us to build 4,207 affordable housing units with total household growth from 2000 to 2010 was a total of 1,755 households? This plan will again result in recruiting people from all over the Bay Area to "warehouse" them in Novato. The affordable housing of 4,207 units times the 2.52 average size of household means the affordable housing alone could house 10,602 people. From 2000 to 2010 the population of Novato only grew by 4,274. It could be easily argue that a large part of that growth was not natural market forces, but driven by the past significant over building of affordable housing all of which pays no taxes. This makes no sense for Novato. This will drive down the price of the homes in Novato and bankrupt the city over the long haul. The code calls for the projects to be feasible, and that includes financially and population wise for Novato. .
Tina McMillan February 01, 2013 at 10:22 PM
If you read the draft element the senior housing remains at 30 units per acre. The idea that nothing will change assumes that no one is willing to try. Our city planning department believes that we can provide sufficient zoning and housing using these numbers. The laws and the studies state that local control is the key to implementation. The petition simply says that you support the efforts of the planning department to craft a housing element that takes a realistic view of what to create. Remember there are always density bonuses and housing overlay districts. Bonuses do not represent the highest but rather a base with which to start. I suspect you did not try to read the element. Frankly, it made me dizzy for weeks but it was worth getting through it to understand just how many concessions were made to create zoning and to reduce costs as they relate to affordable housing projects. We literally bent over backwards to make this work with the one proviso being control over base density.
Tina McMillan February 01, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Bob Ratto February 01, 2013 at 10:42 PM
I am going to frame this. Thank you, Eleanor, this was supremely eloquent.
Michael Reyff February 02, 2013 at 03:26 AM
Very well stated! You highlighted the crux of the issue. Your last paragraph applies to all of the local jurisdictions accross our great country. With regards to ecomomics, healthy and vibrant local communities provide vibrant economies that benefit all - including governments with organically higher tax revenues to fund schools, police and fire.
Roger February 02, 2013 at 04:19 AM
Craig Belfor February 02, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Look what they did to Antioch, the Novato of the east bay. Don't let that happen here.
San Marin Compatible Housing Coalition February 27, 2013 at 10:38 PM
We encourage all San Marin residents to sign the ipetition (see the link in this article) supporting the Housing Element as submitted. True, the State has kicked it back to Novato for revisions, but if we can get enough residents to sign, the state will know we are serious about our town's future--as of today, there are 417 signatures and a goal of 500--please sign today.


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