Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Single Mom in Marinwood Speaks Out for Fairness and Common Sense.

What about FAIRNESS for Marinwood-Lucas Valley homeowners?

A Neighbor  from Lucas Valley/Marinwood

I have been following the comments and editorials from our neighborhood forum and the IJ regarding affordable housing. This issue is complicated on many levels. Concerns I am hearing are over lower property values, higher crime rates, more traffic, negative education impact, high rise/high density apartment structures, and who will be our new neighbors. These are all valid concerns of the residents who live in neighborhoods where redevolopment is being proposed. Thankfully, my neighbors are not expressing that they don't want to live near people of color. This is not a race issue, it's a quality of life issue. Yes, everyone has the right to live in a safe neighborhood with good schools, but it's impossible to accommodate everyone.

There are a number of beautiful places I would love to live, but simply can't afford. I moved out of Marin due to the high cost of housing and was only able to move back when the recession hit. With my life savings as a down payment, I could finally afford a tiny condo for me and my son in a peaceful neighborhood with great schools. According to most statistics, I am low income, as are the majority of my neighbors (some on Section 8). The Roundtree neighborhood in which we live is a mix of young families, senior citizens, single moms, etc. There is a wide range of ethnic diversity and income levels among my neighbors. I have good neighbors and some I could do without, as with any place where you share a common wall. This is not my dream house, but it's what I can afford. Looking around my condo complex, this is affordable housing. It's not pretty, we have our share of police activity, we are very close to the freeway, and we have a high rental turn over rate. Had I know there was a plan for urban sprawl (Plan Bay Area) in Marin, I would have thought otherwise about moving back to this beautiful county that I love.

I keep thinking to myself, there has to be a better way for the county to implement affordable housing without making it such a big deal. How could Marin accomodate the working class with housing that is not built next to a freeway? (I have lived near high traffic areas and it's not pleasant.) Could existing, privately owned apartment complexes be offered funds through the state to offer cheaper rent? Could Marin implement rent control? Could Marin build single family homes below market value so these families could actually own and add to the tax revenue of the county? I am no politician or city planner, and maybe these are silly suggestions; but is there a way to have a civil county meeting where other suitable options are offered by the community? Affordable housing is definitely needed in Marin, yet it needs to work for the existing residents who will pay a high price if this plan fails.

So what's on my mind lately? Should I continue with small remodeling projects on my condo, or should I sell before my neighborhood is transformed into ??? Here is that fear again of the unknown. Does that make me an elitist, a racist, or a white entitled person? No, just a concerned mother who works hard and wants the best for her child. 

No comments:

Post a Comment