After the Poway City Council denied a low-income veterans housing project in November, residents opposed to the project rejected suggestions that they were “anti-veteran.”
They are right. The opposition to the Habitat for Humanity veterans project had nothing to do with veterans.
The opposition stemmed from fear of low-income housing and the people who would live there.
One resident, Linda Laurie, summed it up perfectly at the November meeting where the project was ultimately rejected.
“There was never ever anything said that veterans would bring crime,” Laurie said. “No one said veterans didn’t deserve a place to live. No one said that veterans were going to cause more parking and cause an inconvenience to our neighborhood. There were comments to that respect when we only heard the words low-income housing, but we were not even talking about veterans at that time.”
Habitat for Humanity San Diego proposed building 22 for-sale, affordable homes for veterans on a roughly 2.5-acre piece of land that the city is legally bound to use for subsidized housing.
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I love that everyone (especially the elites and politicians) is piling on Poway. I wonder how many of them have lobbied for a low income housing project to be build next to a property they own? The line can start on the left, I'll hold my breath waiting for it to happen.
Considering the reputations that most low-income housings have, which are disseminated by (drum roll) ... the press, is it any wonder that citizens of a community might have issues with such a project?
You might address not just the perceptions of low-income housing, but also the (actual) reality of them (property issues, maintenance issues, etc.).
If anyone in Poway wonders about the effect of high-density, "affordable" housing on the quality of a city, just drive down Route 67 to El Cajon and spend a while touring its neighborhoods. Best do so during the daytime.
@Mark Bennett Pretty sure Poway is HillaryWorld so you might want to take it up with her.
The hypocrisy of the California liberal. Anti-military; but if they had been told it was for Syrian refugees, they would have lined up to kiss their feet.
@Kenneth Gardner Do you live in San Diego? In case you weren't familiar... Poway is known to be ultra-conservative and pro-military... they have indeed proved hypocritical by not supporting their veterans. In the same hypocritical spirit, one of the "angry neighbors" quoted above has a giant illuminated angel hanging high on her chimney for Christmas. So righteous, pious, and full of love for thy neighbor.... :-/
Yes, Natalie, I live downtown. I am a disabled veteran who benefited for years from one of the few affordable housing units here in the J Street Inn, before using my VA loan to buy a home. I know Poway is supposedly "conservative," and you are right, most of them claim to be pro-military. But this town has a long history of hidden disdain for the navy and all the "drunken sailors." It's a catch-22.
Guess what Poway, you do owe low cost housing to our veterans.Where do you come off exempting yourselves from the realities of life? You put your choice of politicians in office to vote to do horrible things to horrible people to give us beautiful, safe, places to live. Now, pay for it.
That location is actually perfect for this type of residential development. There is a small group of restaurants/shops you can walk to within one block. It's 1-2 blocks walking distance to an elementary and middle school. This area is rather low traffic, despite the complaints of neighbors. Between the 2 schools and 2 churches on surrounding blocks, the "additional traffic" leading onto Twin Peaks road would be negligible.
Living walking distance from El Ranchito Taco Shop is the most prime location in Poway. There needs to be housing in this rare walkable location in Poway. If not now, someday.
And for the neighbors who are anti low-income, be real... this is not the upper crust region of Poway. This already is a lower/middle class area with mobile homes nearby, so get off your high horses... just ride your regular horses. Did I forget to mention there are horse trails within walking distance?
@Natalie Clark "14127 Twin Peaks Road has a Walk Score of 30 out of 100. This location is a Car-Dependent neighborhood so most errands require a car." https://www.walkscore.com/score/14127-twin-peaks-rd-poway-ca-92064
@Derek Hofmann Yes, it is true you will need a car no matter where you live in Poway. Typical neighborhoods in Poway have Walk Scores less than 10! This location has a higher than avg Walk Score for Poway, and it is extremely rare that you'd be able to *safely* walk one block to a cluster of restaurants, convenient stores and two schools. Not to mention the soccer park and hiking trails.
@Natalie Clark "Poway Rd & Community Rd has a Walk Score of 85 out of 100. This location is Very Walkable so most errands can be accomplished on foot." https://www.walkscore.com/score/poway-rd-and-community-rd-poway-ca-92064
"Pomerado Road & Poway Road has a Walk Score of 72 out of 100. This location is Very Walkable so most errands can be accomplished on foot." https://www.walkscore.com/score/pomerado-rd-and-poway-rd-poway-ca-92064
@Derek Hofmann not sure what your point is, and how it relates to this article / proposed housing....
"Habitat for Humanity San Diego proposed building 22 for-sale, affordable homes for veterans on a roughly 2.5-acre piece of land that the city is legally bound to use for subsidized housing." According to the City of Poway's parcel data, the lot is 2.15 acres and is zoned R-4 for 4 dwelling units per acre - 22/2.15 = just >10 dwelling units per acre. (see: http://powaygis.poway.org/websites/PowGIS_JS/ )
Still, there are plenty of examples in Poway where > 22 units per acre were built and are quite appropriate with the "community character" as it were. (see: Solara at 22.5 du/ac: https://chworks.org/real-estate-development/featured-developments/solara/ )
Were Solara simply copy/pasted here at appropriate scale, as 2-story duplexes, it would be a significant benefit to the community. One should consider that this 2.15 acre lot has been fallow since vineyards once lined this section of the valley pre-incorporation. Then ~15 years ago it was fenced off with chainlink and exclusively used to store City vehicles, equipment, and materials, as pictured. Is that the highest and best use of this land which is in a coveted school district and adjacent to transit (MTS 945), ballfields, delicious donuts and flautas? New families will put money into the local economy and be valued residents of this community in no time.
It seems these neighbors will likely oppose any new homes on this lot ... doing so from their own homes which no doubt rankled the people who were there before them. They are using this development to raise issues with traffic on the road where this development is proposed (Twin Peaks Rd). These traffic issues are in fact a result of explosive growth just east of them (more intensive sprawl which they likely never opposed) in backcountry San Diego, as Ramona and County residents connect to the rest of the region via Twin Peaks Rd. Even the small cluster of retail shops and the service station directly adjacent to the proposed development independently generate more vehicle trips than this proposed development ever will. For comparison, the two most recent subdivisions along Twin Peaks Rd are also located south, along the same side of the street as the proposed development - at Budwin Lane and Kent Hill Way. These 28 houses accessed Twin Peaks Rd without signalized intersections, and without issues, when they were first built.
This article compiles some sensational comments made by neighbors, but these comments really shouldn't surprise anyone anymore. This part of the region voted for self-preservation in November and their decision is going to cost the poorest among us first, and most severely. Poway's elected officials should be able to understand the benefit this development will bring, and be able to explain this to their misinformed constituents so that these residents can welcome their future neighbors and friends starting right then and there, in the Council Chambers, instead of yelling at them, all fired up on fear of change, which we've seen dominating the culture of late. VOSD I hope you can help in this mission as well, I'm not sure just titling an article with the most virulent quotes from the most close-minded among us is doing anyone any good anymore.
As someone who worked in the financing and development of affordable housing for 25 years, I have seen the reaction of the Poway residents very often. Traffic congestion, parking, etc. are smokescreens. Maya called it correctly, it is fear of "those people" (i.e. "the other") that motivates these people. If, as the Poway Police exclaimed, that crime statistics do not support those fears - what is the problem? The irony is that, frequently, many of the NIMBYs that object to these projects are in the same economic strata as the households that will live in the new units, they just bought there houses many years ago. Most low-income housing programs (I am not talking about public housing) serve households with incomes of 50% to 60% of the area median income. That equates to household incomes of about $37,000 to $45,000 for a family of 4.
Affordable housing should not be clustered. It is the equivalent of building a housing project. To be truly effective, affordable housing should be interspersed into regular housing.
My biggest complaint about affordable housing is this statement by Cunningham, "....people who deserve to live in Poway, but can’t afford it.” Why does someone deserve to live in a particular place. I want to live in Del Mar/Solana Beach/Rancho Santa Fe, but I cannot afford it. Do I have the right to force taxpayers to provide me a house there because that's where I want to live. Of course not. We bought a house we could afford and it wasn't the town we really wanted to be in. It's a fact of life.
Do you mean to say that all the housing immediately surrounding that project is not 'regular housing,' @Life-Long Educator ?
Huh… didn't realize that.
No, that's the point. Their intent is to build an intact cluster of 22 units of affordable housing together.. they are not really integrated into the neighborhood.
It is disappointing to see Poway reject the low-income housing project for veterans, especially for the bogus reasons cited in the article. It is clear the real reason is refusal to accept low-income affordable housing in their community. Only Veterans with an established rental history will be purchasing the new homes (Habitat has a very selective screening process). This will free their affordable apartments for other vets looking for affordable rentals.
Right now we have literally hundreds of vets who are forced to live on the streets because they cannot find affordable apartments in the region. The VA has provided them with VASH vouchers to pay the rent and top-flight supportive services to ensure they succeed in the transition from the street to housing. However, the VA cannot provide affordable housing, only the community can do that.
It is sad to see Poway refuse to do its fair share. We do not owe our vets a house in Poway or San Diego or Encinitas or National City or Ramona or.... [fill in the blank]. But we, as a region, unquestionably owe them affordable housing, and that requires everyone, even Poway, to do its fair share. The City of San Diego, for example, has invested millions of dollars in its "Housing our Heroes" program just to find affordable market rentals for homeless vets and hundreds of millions in building affordable rentals for the homeless. In contrast, Poway will not even allow Habitat to build owner-occupied housing for well-qualified vets using primarily volunteer labor. Saying "Poway is talking to other affordable housing providers" is nowhere close to doing its fair share.
The illogical objections by so many Poway residents to low-income housing sadden me but I was completely stunned when I read the argument by neighbors that garages for these new houses "would probably be used for storage" so those new residents would therefore take up parking in the "old residents' neighborhood".
Aren't those streets public? And just how many of the neighbors of the proposed housing use their own garages for storage and park on the street? Or park on the street because they own more vehicles than their own garages can accommodate?
Is it too late for one of the No votes on the Poway City Council to change his/her mind and bring the item back for reconsideration?
@Judith Swink As a taxpayer, I think those residents should pay us for the right to store their personal vehicles on our property. That will solve the parking problem real quick!
@Judith Swink I would like to see those who complained about the garages being used for storage to open their own garage doors and let us see if there are cars inside or boxes and furniture stacked in their garages!
In addition, low/moderate income drivers, and those with older, less fuel efficient cars, pay more proportionately than higher income Californians and those driving newer hybrid/fuel efficient cars.
Here's how much we contribute via our gas taxes that (should) pay for street repairs, from a breakdown in 2015:
Bottom line: anyone who is driving cars and purchasing gas helps pay for "our" roads. However, some local agencies divert those funds away from roads to fill gaps in other services/programs. That's up to their elected officials to decide.
Perhaps that's happening in Poway? It has certainly happened in San Diego.
The other 50%+ comes from sales taxes (like San Diego's TransNet) and general funds.
In San Diego, what percent of the cost of our roads and streets is paid from gas taxes and other user fees?
@Derek Hofmann True, the federal government provides subsidies for interstate highways, which are seen as necessary for national defense/security (thank you Dwight Eisenhower.)
States get less for roads, very little if anything for local streets= those are county and city responsibility.
As for % of those costs- are you referring to SD County, or city of SD?
In either case: SANDAG would be a good place to start researching this.
@Lori Saldana Until we have reason to suspect otherwise, I think it's reasonable to assume that the nationwide 50% figure also applies to San Diego, don't you?
@Derek Hofmann That could be correct. I don't know, but clearly we all chip in for highways and streets via a variety of taxes, whether we drive or not, or park on the street or in a garage when we get home. Having good streets is in the public interest, for safety, commerce etc.- it makes sense that we all chip in.
As for the allocations of those taxes to our streets- that's up to local government, and that's where disconnects often happen (see: potholes).
When I replied to your original comment- when you noted that people should pay for the right to store vehicles on city streets- I simply wanted to point out that most people are already helping pay for those streets via various taxes sales, gas, etc. Is it sufficient? That's another debate...
As for parking long term: Local ordinances limit the circumstances of how long, and what types of, vehicles can legally park on public streets- and they are increasingly strict. (E.g., RVs, boats, oversized vehicles and trailers are no longer allowed in San Diego.)
But bottom line: I think taxpayers have already paid for that "right" to park passenger cars in front of their homes.
@Derek Hofmann glad you agree on sharing the costs of public infrastructure.
And FWIW- I left the Dem party a few years ago. I don't believe balancing budgets should be a partisan enterprise.
@Lori Saldana "Having good streets is in the public interest, for safety, commerce etc."
I agree. When I buy something from the store, I'm paying the trucker who pays gas taxes for the road. So why should I have to pay for the same use of the roads again through the sales tax? Isn't that double taxation?
"Local ordinances limit the circumstances of how long, and what types of, vehicles can legally park on public streets- and they are increasingly strict. (E.g., RVs, boats, oversized vehicles and trailers are no longer allowed in San Diego.)"
If I wanted to balance a city's budget, I would eliminate the time limits, eliminate the rules against boats and oversized vehicles and trailers, and charge their owners market rents. Don't worry, their owners are wealthy so using this revenue to lower the (regressive) sales tax would be a transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor. As a Democrat, this should appeal to you.
When we expect to pay rent for people but expect our cars to be parked rent-free, don't we have our priorities the wrong way around?
@Lori Saldana I don't agree on subsidizing parking for those who can afford to buy houses, on the backs of those who can only afford to rent apartments. If anything, welfare should be a transfer of wealth in the opposite direction (from the rich to the poor).
Agree completely. This reveals how deep parking entitlement runs - we can literally never build enough parking to satisfy their demands. So let's stop trying to appease residents who actually think housing cars is more important than housing people (even veterans).
@Ed Price People parking their motorhome on city streets for months at a time is an unintended consequence of not charging for parking. So instead of fixing the original issue, cities compound the problem by adding laws. It's a comedy of errors!
If Lori is correct that the taxes and registration fees you pay entitle you to park for free on city streets, then it seems reasonable that you should be refunded some of that money back when you are denied your entitlement. But governments often don't know how to give money back, they only know how to take it.
@Ed Price local agencies set parking regulations. talk to the city council where you live. parking laws have nothing to do with collecting state/federal gas taxes and paying for road repairs- but I suspect you already know that.
If anything, what we should be demanding are refunds for alignments and other repairs to our cars that are related to driving thru potholes etc., since the funds cities collect are intended for repairing/maintaining streets. When they fail to do so, we pay more for repairs than we do via taxes.
@lorisaldana "parking has nothing to do with gas taxes."
That's good, because a stationary vehicle doesn't pay gas taxes. Parking benefits the property owner; therefore, the cost of street parking (including the opportunity cost of land) should come out of property taxes wherever parking fees don't cover the cost.
Did you know that each street parking space costs the city $100+ per year? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/15/business/economy/15view.html?_r=0
As a candidate for San Diego City Council, a landlord and real estate man, I am acutely aware of a "Housing Crisis" in our City. I have no fear whatsoever in lamenting on our collective moral sham and hypocrisy in this City. Low income is a pejorative term especially in the housing community. Folks, have we gone nuts!!! I sit on the local planning committee and see it all the time. Everyone on their high horse. The high and mighty, then at 11:00am on Sundays, these folks attend church services only to be admonished for their lack of empathy and compassion for the less fortunate That is one reason I'm a candidate for D2 SD City Council 2018. Will you help me???
The acres have been set aside for housing. There WILL be housing. What better group to provide affordable housing for than United States veterans? How about a bunch of Somalians and Pakistanis? Would that be better? We know these veterans love our country. This lady and her grandaughter sound like wonderful neighbors. People need a place to call home. Come on, Poway, we can do this!
I don't like your implication that "Somalians and Pakistanis" are less human than our veterans, @Fred Picasso.
If the project also included a fire station, police station, or other piece of critical infrastructure, would people continue to oppose it?
@Derek Hofmann Yes. The noise, the sirens, the lights, the architecture. Oh, and the parking.
@Rick Smith Honestly, it seems a little mean-spirited to locate low-income housing in a place where the occupants are forced to spend thousands of dollars per year of their limited incomes on cars because mass transit is ineffective. If I wanted to keep the poor trapped in the cycle of poverty, I would limit their economic and social mobility by sticking them out of the way on a parcel like the one described in this article.
But if I wanted to give them the best possible chance of success, then I would put them someplace more like the Miramar College Transit station where they can walk to school, walk to shopping, and take the 110 bus to downtown in under 30 minutes. They wouldn't need a car and the noise, sirens, lights, and architecture aren't out of place.