Rick Olver: How can we preserve our community’s character?

Dear Neighbors:Image result for rick olver croton

I love San Francisco weather: springtime all year round. Our four seasons are great, but it gets awful hot and humid some summer days, and February, well the cold and ice get old fast. But I absolutely would not like to have San Francisco’s housing problems!

What has gone wrong there? It’s so liberal! Except, while everyone supports moderate income housing, many people want it to be built anywhere other than in their own neighborhoods.

Sound familiar? When we try to zone our Gateway business districts to attract investment in much needed retail, offices and apartments, we hear “yes, I’m in favor of moderate income housing, but not here!”

We all want to preserve Croton’s character, but by resisting modest change in our Gateway areas we are losing Croton’s character. Keeping Croton the same will not preserve what we most value: our wonderful mix of young and old, and moderate and upper-middle income families. Younger adults between ages 25 and 44 fell as a share of population between the 2000 and 2010 census. And everyone knows older people who “downsized” and left Croton.

The middle class is being displaced: households earning under $100k fell from 31.5% of the Village in the 2000 census to 21.8% in the latest census estimate. Families with incomes over $200K more than doubled from 12.8% in 2000 to 26.9% now. Our current, restrictive zoning artificially limits housing supply, further increases prices and worsens these changes to our community.

We need to fight these ongoing changes that none of us want. The experts tell us that transport-oriented housing is the way to do this. Not hulking apartment blocks everywhere, but 3 stories within the same 35-foot height currently allowed, limited to our Gateway corridors – like at the corner of Benedict and South Riverside in Harmon.

Rick Olver, Village Trustee

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