"We cannot rely on the market to lower the cost of housing here.”
#1 - STOP further growth at UCSC. This is already the official position of the City Council and the Board of Supervisors. However, it is one thing to “say” this, and a completely different thing to organize a legal and political effort actually to accomplish it. I urge you to begin immediately to do the latter, which means mobilizing the community, mobilizing students, faculty, and staff on campus, and launching an effort that will have to involve the State Legislature and the Regents. The Council should do everything it can to make certain that the Santa Cruz Campus does not grow beyond the size authorized in the currently-effective LRDP.#2 - Make large new employers pay to construct price-restricted affordable housing. In other words, as large new employers increase the “demand” for the housing that their workers need, make them help with the effort needed to “supply” affordable, price restricted units.#3 - Reinstitute a true “inclusionary" housing program with no escape hatches. Currently, the City allows a developer to pay a fee to the City, instead of actually building affordable units, and this makes the construction of new affordable housing the City’s problem. Every time a new housing development is approved, one condition ought to be that the developer will ACTUALLY BUILD a percentage of the new units and sell them at a permanently restricted price, affordable to an average or below average income person working in Santa Cruz. Furthermore, the inclusionary percentage should be much greater than 15%. I suggest 50%. You will be told that no one will build anything with such a significant inclusionary requirement. Maybe, but remember how high the “demand” is for housing here. Why not see? Since every new unit of new market rate housing is actually a “loser” for the City, in terms of the cost of new services versus taxes generated, and since the more market rate housing that is built the more demand there is for service level workers, thus increasing the need for affordable housing (with no place for these people to find housing), this approach is definitely worth a try.#4 - The Council should do everything it possibly can to institute a program of price control for rental units. I know that "rent control" has a lot of problems, and that the City has limited authority, but I urge the Council to use every bit of authority it does have to put rental price restrictions in place at the earliest time possible.#5 - Finally, as noted earlier, “up-zoning” actually increases the cost of building new housing, because it increases the price of land. The Council should consider the option of “downzoning” properties, with any subsequent “up-zoning” to be granted only in connection with the actual construction of permanently affordable, price-restricted housing.