On Oct 5, 2021, The Riverside City Council voted 5-2 approving a plan that opens the possibility of the county adding more than 20k houses, townhomes and apartments by the end of 2030. Nonetheless, there remains strong opposition in some parts of the county where developers have proposed to build new housing.
Per 2019 data, the county has 100k homes, shared Senior Planner Matthew Taylor in an email exchange with Daily Bulletin.
Will the Housing Plan Negatively Impact the Existing Neighborhoods?
Before the plan was approved by the county, a heated discussion took place where a lot of local folks objected to the housing plan citing environmental reasons. They said the county’s water resources will be further distressed and create traffic problems.
California is 1M Housing Units Short of Meeting Demand
California is 1 Million housing units short of meeting demand, says Steve PonTell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rancho Cucamonga-based National CORE.
“In Southern California alone, that number is 600,000, which means we would need to build 600,000 units just to break even,” he said. “When demand exceeds supplies to that level, prices rise and fewer people – fewer workers – can afford to live here. Employers then leave because they can’t afford to pay their employees enough. The ripple effect on our overall economy is staggering.”Steve PonTell | CEO National CORE
The 20k houses plan requires developers to build at least 4,861 homes that would sell at prices within reach of the budgets of very-low-income families, those earning less than $37,650 per year. This shows that the proposed housing development is important for very-low and low-income families.
2.2 Acre Hilly Piece of Land
At the center of this controversy and opposition to the new housing plan is a 2.2 Acres hilly piece of land at the cross-section of Alessandro Boulevard, Central Avenue and Fairview Avenue. Residents have opposed the building of 44 senior-home condominiums at Central and Fairview avenues in Riverside.
The primary arguments goes like this, the county will face a traffic saturation issue coupled with “sapping the city’s water supply”.
City Planner Mary Kopaskie-Brown shared where the proposed houses will be built.
Some sites are clustered in the downtown area, many along Market Street, Brockton Avenue, 14th Street and Vine Street next to the Riverside-Downtown train station. New housings are in underdeveloped commercial and industrial areas along the Magnolia Avenue-Market Street-University Avenue corridor.
Other sites are empty plots of ground within neighborhoods and it appears the locals have protested against constructing homes on these empty plots citing environmental reasons.
Those opposed to the 44 condos plan have even come up with a Facebook page titled “No to 44 condos”. However, builder of this project points out the faulty approach. “They are going to these City Council meetings that have nothing to do with this project,” Kirk Bowlus, president of Riverside-based Bowlus Pacific Venture Corp said.
“They are just trying to stir the pot in an effort to kill this project.”
Threat to Middle Class
The affordable housing crisis in Southern California was termed as a ‘threat to middle class’. This is why the Riverside County leaders went ahead and approved the plan so that economic exclusion be reduced in the region.
We at Startempire Wire have already explained how the region is undergoing economic development and which makes it even more important to have housing sorted out for the middle and low-middle class. Ontario, CA is already becoming a home building hotspot in California and can serve as an inspiration to the local leaders.
To quote from our previous article;
All this points to the fact that investors are bullish on the region’s economic development prospects. To sum up, a quote by Shane Shafer, Managing Director of NorthMarq Capital presents an accurate investor sentiment about the Inland Empire region.
“The Inland Empire has been adding jobs at a faster pace than California and the US as a whole. We are seeing job gains recorded across several different industries, the largest being the warehouse and logistics industry followed by the education and health services sector.” GlobeStStartempire Wire | Ontario Becomes Homebuilding Hotspot
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