Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Housing shortages mean new rules

Housing shortages incite local governments to control rental market

Is it right for cities to dictate how private homes are used in order to solve a city-wide, government-created, social problem?  

Some cities want to limit or ban short-term home and apartment rentals for different reasons.

Traditional vacation towns like Cannon Beach have struggled with tourists overtaking  neighborhoods where full-time residents live and have limited total days a house can be rented to restore neighborhood stability.  Next on the list may be Gearhart.

The newest category of cities to restrict short-term housing rentals are those with housing shortages.  The feeling in these cities is that homeowners are taking homes that would normally be sold or used as long-term rentals off the market in order to rent to tourists.  Rent for just a few days or weeks can easily bring in what one month of normal rent would be, but with the supply of housing low, affordable housing is hard to come by.
  • What is causing the housing shortage (and high prices) in some cities besides the obvious popularity of the area?  
  • Are government smart growth policies to blame for the high cost of housing with artificial limitations on the supply of buildable land and other land use requirements? 
  • Behind all the regulations, who promoting smart growth in small towns, and why?

Have you heard of these firms (see below) before?  This is the planning team for a study of the urban growth boundary for the Hood River School District.  At least 4 of the firms (that I know of) have worked for Lake Oswego.  They are representative of the consultant cog of the government/industrial machine that is keeping housing so expensive.  These firms work regionally and nationally and all work from the same script.  Is there any wonder why all comprehensive plans (and other local land use plans) look the same?   See how many people made money just from the (small) Hood River School District:

Project Team
Angelo Planning Group
Archeological Investigations Northwest
Cogan Owens Cogan
Kittelson and Associates
Turnstone Environmental

Here is how it works:
1.  Government creates an artificial shortage of buildable land with an urban growth boundary (see map above).  The price of land goes up when demand exceeds supply.  Housing prices rise with the high cost of land.

2.  Smart growth (high density) land use strategies are employed to deal with the [artificial] housing crisis.  (The crisis is real, but the cause is artificial and can be reversed quickly.). "Never let a good crisis go to waste."  And if there isn't a crisis to further your cause, create one.  

3.  New housing types are planned, but because land is still in short supply, even new,  smaller, denser housing units are pricey.  

4.  Repeat #2 and 3 indefinately, add public housing and increase regulations on private residential property.  The crisis is here to stay.  High housing prices, loss of property rights and class warfare ensue.  

Why can't houses be built beyond the UGB in this 9k-person town?  

When will politicians get smarter than the Central Planners and consultants who concoct and profit from these bad plans?

Hood River, dealing with housing affordability issues, tackles short-term rentals
Oregonian, Novembr 1, 2015

City Council holds hearing on strategies for housing
Hood River News, August 7, 2015

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