Real Estate Round-Up: Jobs and housing should go together
Last updated 3/15/2019 at 2:48pm
A jobs-housing balanced community is one in which residents can both live and work without having to leave the area. Implicit in the concept is a mix of housing types to accommodate households and workers of a broad range of income categories that reflect the community.
Jobs-housing balance also refers to the distribution of employment relative to the distribution of workers within a given geographic area. A community is considered balanced when these distributions are approximately equal and when available housing choices complement the earning potential of available jobs, all within a limited geographic area.
In Fallbrook, we have a mix of housing that supports many of the employment opportunities that exist. Fallbrook does not have industry or business in the way that most people think of it. We have an agricultural heritage that is supported by workers who do live in the community.
Other areas of employment would come from our schools, fire district, retail, restaurants, and some medium sized businesses like Axelgaard Manufacturing. Camp Pendleton is the largest area employer. Unfortunately, many of these employees are not able to live in Fallbrook because we do not have housing available to match the incomes of these jobs.
California’s general plan already requires that the Housing Element consider population and employment trends in developing projections for new housing. Despite this requirement, planners and local governments struggle to approve the housing needed to accommodate job growth.
The General Plan also includes a mandate to tie together housing and regional transportation planning. This mandate is related to the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicle trips, but ultimately speaks to the need to reduce commuting through better community planning.
If affordable housing were available near jobs it is reasoned that workers would not have to commute so far and traffic congestion would correspondingly decrease.
Whether houses are built near jobs or jobs are created near existing housing centers, changes in zoning and the adaptive reuse of existing developments could support complimentary resources such as schools, daycare centers and senior housing to be located in the same areas. All these resources would put a community in a jobs-housing balance.
There are opponents to mandating a jobs-housing balance. They believe that is a regional issue and that local governments should decide what, if any, kinds of homes should be built. They believe that the market should control the housing, not the legislature.
The only problem with this view point, is that this is what we currently have, and the result has been too few homes close to where the jobs are, or too few jobs close to where the houses are. The result is congestion across all our freeways and loss of quality life for the many who have no choice but to endure it.
This will not be an easy or comfortable journey to take, but without smart and expedient advances in housing, our traffic congestion will increase, our children and seniors will leave the area, because they can’t afford to live here, and the overall quality of life as well as the sustained health of California’s economy will decline. Join in the conversation.
Kim Murphy can be reached at [email protected] or (760) 415-9292 or at 130 N Main Avenue, in Fallbrook. Her broker license is #01229921, and she is on the board of directors for the California Association of Realtors.