Affordable housing progress encouraging
Affordable housing is a tricky subject in the Lake Tahoe basin, where real estate prices over the last decade have grown at a rate that exceeds most residents’ abilities to catch up and purchase a home. At a meeting last Friday, a group of concerned residents and government officials showed there are still efforts being made to address this growing problem.
A committee of four regional county and city leaders voted unanimously Friday to recommend the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency adopt policy changes to encourage development of affordable housing. Those changes could include deed-restricted housing and code changes, two methods that would encourage developers in the Lake Tahoe basin to move forward with projects that otherwise would not be cost-effective.
With the median price of a single-family home in South Lake Tahoe approaching the $500,000 mark, fewer and fewer families, especially those whose incomes come from jobs in the hospitality industry, foresee a time when they can be homeowners. At the same time, workers employed in jobs like teaching, law enforcement, firefighting and in the public sector, have seen nominal wage increases.
Though the TRPA has made concessions to increase the development of affordable housing over the years – including increasing coverage, allowing more liberal subdividing of property, increasing density and relaxing rules on allocations Ð more needs to be done. The group that met Friday will urge the TRPA Governing Board to consider further relaxing height restrictions and coverage requirements. The TRPA appears willing to take action, an encouraging sign.
Even the addition of 100 affordable housing units on the South Shore over the next few years would greatly affect the trend that is pushing working families out of the area. Anything we can do to reduce the exodus helps South Tahoe retain its character, and keeps the heart of the community pumping.