Sonoma needs affordable, not ‘market rate’, housing

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Posted on April 14, 2022 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Sonoma’s projected $1.9 million city budget surplus is a reflection of our vibrant economy, which is based largely on tourism. However the lack of affordable housing for local workers is a crisis. We will not have great restaurants and wineries if workers do not have a place to live.

The only option local workers have is to commute from homes that they can afford that are farther and farther away. Commuting by car spews CO2 into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. The City Council has passed a Climate Emergency Resolution and I think that this should be foremost in their decisions. Therefore providing affordable housing should be required. I urge the City Council to follow the Planning Commission’s recommendation for requiring a residential component in all developments.

We should mandate that these new housing units be affordable, not “market rate”. Workers at local shops and tourist business cannot afford “market rate” housing. The homes on both sides of my house are second homes, which reduces the housing stock available to local workers, teachers and public safety workers. Approving more “market rate” housing will just bring in more second home owners and vacation rentals. If we continue with this status quo, where will the workers at the local businesses that attract visitors live?

Given the perilous state of our planet’s climate the Sonoma should not allow development that encourages more visitors and assumes workers will continue to commute long distances.

— Matt Metzler, Sonoma