Pacific Grove required to meet ‘unrealistic’ housing goal

The city of Pacific Grove will need to increase housing by 14% by 2031, per a mandate by the Regional Housing Needs Allocation, a process that reoccurs every eight years. City officials say it’s not a feasible goal. “Other city people I know in the area is like what, what are they coming up with this number. That’s the reaction including myself as a city councilman. I was like ‘what? I believe the number last year was around 600 so why suddenly they double?'” Pacific Grove Councilman Joe Amelio said. The city has eight years to add 1,125 more housing units but has to develop a satisfactory plan by December 2023. In a meeting on June 1, the city council decided to not pursue an appeal. According to Council Member Jenny McAdams, an appeal approval was highly unlikely and would not align with the city’s goal of increasing housing. “It would send the wrong message to residents,” McAdams said. Instead, city officials are focusing their efforts on zoning changes, identifying space for development and increasing housing density by updating the city’s land-use plan, which hasn’t been touched since 1994. “We need to find ways to develop in different ways. Not everything can be single-family zoning anymore, right? We need to have more density to include more people in the community in our community,” Anastascia Wyatt, the city’s Housing Program manager, said. City officials are interested in converting a vacant lot that is currently the location for the former mission linen service. Wyatt says the owner of the lot is currently not interested. Silveiri Family Properties LLC, a residential developer that represents the owners of Lighthouse Cinema, says they are drafting plans to convert the movie theatre into housing. The theatre itself would be retrofitted to have 26 housing units, which would be rented at market rate. The back parking lot would house 60 affordable housing units. According to Lighthouse Cinema employees, efforts are underway to raise money to renovate and save the theatre. Both Lighthouse Cinema and the vacant lot with the former mission linen service have its own water meter, which is a highly valuable resource in Pacific Grove. Since October 2009, Pacific Grove has been under a cease and desist order from the State Water Resources Control Board that prevents the addition of any new water connections. “We need water for housing. Currently, because of the cease and desist order we cannot build new housing without a water meter. However, the city has its own recycled water project where we’re able to issue water for Accessory Dwelling Units,” Wyatt said. According to Wyatt, affordable housing is major problem in Pacific Grove. Most rents for an apartment are over $1,600 per month and the median price for a home is over $4,500 per month. That poses a challenge for two-thirds of the over 7,500 people who work in Pacific Grove and earn less than $40,00 a year. If Pacific Grove fails to create a satisfactory plan to meet the new housing requirement, it could impact how much state funding the city can receive. “Water meters or not, whether there’s water availability or not, we still just have to move forward with the planning process. So we probably won’t be able to build the 1,125 units in the next eight years, but we still have to plan for it,” Wyatt said.

The city of Pacific Grove will need to increase housing by 14% by 2031, per a mandate by the Regional Housing Needs Allocation, a process that reoccurs every eight years. City officials say it’s not a feasible goal.

“Other city people I know in the area is like what, what are they coming up with this number. That’s the reaction including myself as a city councilman. I was like ‘what? I believe the number last year was around 600 so why suddenly they double?'” Pacific Grove Councilman Joe Amelio said.

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The city has eight years to add 1,125 more housing units but has to develop a satisfactory plan by December 2023.

In a meeting on June 1, the city council decided to not pursue an appeal.

According to Council Member Jenny McAdams, an appeal approval was highly unlikely and would not align with the city’s goal of increasing housing.

“It would send the wrong message to residents,” McAdams said.

Instead, city officials are focusing their efforts on zoning changes, identifying space for development and increasing housing density by updating the city’s land-use plan, which hasn’t been touched since 1994.

“We need to find ways to develop in different ways. Not everything can be single-family zoning anymore, right? We need to have more density to include more people in the community in our community,” Anastascia Wyatt, the city’s Housing Program manager, said.

City officials are interested in converting a vacant lot that is currently the location for the former mission linen service. Wyatt says the owner of the lot is currently not interested.

Silveiri Family Properties LLC, a residential developer that represents the owners of Lighthouse Cinema, says they are drafting plans to convert the movie theatre into housing. The theatre itself would be retrofitted to have 26 housing units, which would be rented at market rate. The back parking lot would house 60 affordable housing units.

According to Lighthouse Cinema employees, efforts are underway to raise money to renovate and save the theatre.

Both Lighthouse Cinema and the vacant lot with the former mission linen service have its own water meter, which is a highly valuable resource in Pacific Grove.

Since October 2009, Pacific Grove has been under a cease and desist order from the State Water Resources Control Board that prevents the addition of any new water connections.

“We need water for housing. Currently, because of the cease and desist order we cannot build new housing without a water meter. However, the city has its own recycled water project where we’re able to issue water for Accessory Dwelling Units,” Wyatt said.

According to Wyatt, affordable housing is major problem in Pacific Grove. Most rents for an apartment are over $1,600 per month and the median price for a home is over $4,500 per month. That poses a challenge for two-thirds of the over 7,500 people who work in Pacific Grove and earn less than $40,00 a year.

If Pacific Grove fails to create a satisfactory plan to meet the new housing requirement, it could impact how much state funding the city can receive.

“Water meters or not, whether there’s water availability or not, we still just have to move forward with the planning process. So we probably won’t be able to build the 1,125 units in the next eight years, but we still have to plan for it,” Wyatt said.

Contributed by local news sources

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