September 17, 2017
This notion of “if you don’t build it, they won’t come” that has seemingly permeated local residents and their representatives is a fallacy. The state, and county, are in the midst of a housing crisis that NIMBYism won’t solve. They’re already here. We need housing.
But NIMBY no-growth measures continue to be pushed across Orange County. Irvine, a national model for meticulously planned development, is apparently not immune.
According to the Register, “Karen Jaffe and Arthur Strauss, on behalf of Irvine for Responsible Growth, recently submitted to the city ‘An initiative to give the people of Irvine control of their future.’”
“If this initiative passes, developers would have to get voter approval for any project that adds significant traffic, 40 or more housing units or 10,000 square feet of non-residential use and requires general plan or zoning changes,” the Register wrote.
To be sure, no one likes sitting in traffic and the peaceful enjoyment of your home is certainly something worth protecting. But initiatives like these don’t promote “responsible” growth. They promote no growth at all. They add months, if not years, to the development process, increase costs, add uncertainty and perhaps drive away new development — even where it is not opposed.
They are an excuse to make our housing crisis someone else’s problem, and many of the problems that the anti-development crowd hopes to solve by not building actually seem to exacerbate the issue. It artificially reduces housing stock and inflates prices, incentivizing building and density, and puts more cars on the road, and for longer, as people must buy homes farther and farther away from their places of employment.
Even Councilwoman Melissa Fox, who in past years ran on a “slow-growth” ticket and pledged to instate a moratorium on development in 2014, worries the measure will stifle affordable housing, child care facilities and developing the Great Park.
“It goes so far that I can’t support it,” she told the Register.
We shouldn’t shut the door on newcomers to protect those who already have theirs. We should grow in a way that makes sense. This measure doesn’t make sense — it’s NIMBYism to the extreme.