.Letter to the Editor: Santa Cruz County, Limited

Re: “Fighting Chance” (GT, 3/16): I enjoyed Aiyana Moya’s reporting. Last Chance is an example of the consequences of political and legal contrivances limiting construction. Costs for the necessary road widening and turnarounds for emergency vehicles are significant. We like our no-growth seaside paradise. If folks are displaced by the ever-escalating costs to get through the ever-escalating deliberate barriers—our sympathies.

 Last Chance is just litmus paper for so much housing chemistry that is going from acrid to exothermic. We have created an impossible situation. “It shall be the policy of this government to restrict the production of single-family housing to the maximum extent allowed by law.” Too bad the restrictions spilled over into all construction. Thank goodness for the kind rental property owners that can afford to offer less than top-of-market rent. Thank goodness for the hopeful investors and the taxes and fees on people’s income and savings that go into building tiny percentages of highly subsidized housing. Like Goldilocks and porridge, we can find the just-right amount of subsidized housing.

 As for the rest of the housing porridge, sorry, excepting limited cases of charity and altruism, it is not possible to have affordable rent and housing prices in a seaside paradise with a “keep out” sign on the gate. Last Chance is just another sorry story about the unavoidable affordability consequences of restricting building—dare I say property rights—to the maximum extent allowed by law and politics.

Michael F. Cox


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