Novato CA – Affordable housing sites debated

Huge crowds packed Novato’s City Hall Wednesday to discuss the nine sites picked by a blue-ribbon committee as potential locations for affordable housing.

Members of the Novato City Managers’ Housing Working Group chose the sites after nearly a year of study and debate. Because the sites are less dense than many activists had feared — most are only large enough to accommodate 20 to 22 units of housing per acre — and because they are scattered throughout the city, the group’s choices have drawn a mostly positive response from Novato’s many neighborhood activist groups.

“I support what they have here,” said Christian Bock, vice chairman of the Novato Community Alliance, a neighborhood advocacy group. “(The Working Group) has reduced density, made good strides and done a lot of hard work. I hope we can get this behind us, because is another (state) planning cycle coming up.”

But while many groups cheered the Working Group’s overall plan, many individual residents decried the idea of placing potential affordable housing sites in their neighborhoods.

“My wife and I moved to what we thought was a nice, safe, rural area,” said physician Jeff Barlow, referring to a site at 495 San Marin Drive. “With proposed low-income housing, obviously there’s the risk of lowering property values. We’ve also had concerns about the safety of our young daughter. Would it be safe for her to walk around our neighborhood at night?

Read remainder of the story at The Marin Independent Journal

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About Bob Voelker

Head of the Munsch Hardt (Dallas law firm) Hospitality & Mixed Use Development Group, and former developer of affordable housing. I'm i
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