Liberal Wacko, Montana Division


Define “Inclusionary”
August 8, 2006, 3:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Tonight I attended the city commission meeting concerning the so-called inclusionary or workforce housing ordinance proposed by the Bozeman city commission.

A brief synopsis of this ordinance:

Developers would be required to set aside up to 10% of any development (subdivision) for “affordable” housing.

Owners of these “Affordable” homes would be subject to an appreciation cap of 4.5% annually, limiting the resale value of the home regardless of the value of the surrounding homes, which in theory would keep the home affordable.

It was obvious that this was going to be a long night. The meeting room at the courthouse was filled to capacity, with more citizens waiting in the hall. The floor was opened to comment after a brief review of the ordinance and its short history.

The tone was set by Representative Roger Koopman (R) of Bozeman. He addressed this issue with sarcasm and facetiousness by saying that there was rumor of a “workforce food program” under which restaurants would be required to sell 10% of their food at a discount price to those that could not afford to eat there. He then threatened to use his power as a state representative to put a stop to the city commissioners endeavor to run city government.

Amazingly he made his entire sarcastic and unproductive statement without using his favorite word: freedom.

Next came the Reverend Denise Rogers, who seemed to be under the impression that this ordinance would actually provide “affordable” housing. She also seemed to be under the impression that it is every Americans right to own a home. Sorry Reverend, that is not the case.

Neither of these commenter’s could contain their speech to the allotted three minutes. Koopman went on for about 9 minutes. I guess Koopman considers his words to be worthy of more consideration than the common folk who managed to speak their peace within the three minute time limit.

Anyway…

It was pointed out by one commenter that the homes to be constructed under this plan would target people with incomes of between $45,000 and $67,000.

Yet the Utopian thinkers continued to bang the drum of affordable housing for the minimum wage earners.

And the capitalists kept calling it socialized housing.

But the overwhelming majority said that more time was needed. A task force should be formed to study this. In other words:

SLOW DOWN!

I came away with a bad feeling. I was disgusted by both sides on this issue.

No, Democrats, there is no Realtor/industrial complex plotting to make money by indiscriminately increasing the prices of homes, then laughing all the way to the bank. The market determines the sales price, not Realtors.

No, Republicans, this is not socialized housing. It is an attempt to address a serious issue. At least the city commission isn’t debating outlawing the burning of Sweet Pea Festival flags.

The bottom line for me, and the majority of those in attendance, (at least I think) was: Take your time on this one.

I bought my house when I was a single parent making $9.00 an hour. I worked hard for it. I did not have cable TV, a nice car, and a Harley. All that came later. And the increasing value of my home has made it possible for me to invest money in my family’s future.

And as far as I can tell, limiting sales and construction of some homes to only those that earn $45-$67,000 per year is not inclusionary.

So take a deep breath, and let this issue be researched before voting.

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11 Comments so far
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That’s a vastly better write-up than can be found in the paper. Well done.

Comment by Wulfgar

The market is sloppy, market reformers are worse. It’s just life. Affordable housing in a boom market is trailer courts. There’s a nice trailer court being shut down now in Bozeman to make way for a trendy neighborhood – until our commissioners speak of that, they have nothing to say worth listening to.

Comment by Mark T

It is easy to sit back and say, slow down we’ve got time, when you already own property but many of us don’t have that luxury. There is nothing wrong with expediency as long those who stand to lose money from this stop being greedy and allow others to get a chance at what they already enjoy. Even a little is a lot in this market.

Comment by Montana Fem

I bought a mobile home a few years back in a futile attempt to escape landlords. Everyone in my row was informed that we were being evicted to make way for an extension of Ferguson road. When I contacted the county planning board…there were no such plans for a road. It turned out that the owner of the trailer park owned a mobile home manufacturing facility, and was going to offer our lots to people who purchased a new mobile from his company.
Twenty of us were forced to sell and/or relocate our mobiles, many of which did not meet standards of other mobile home parks.
We all got screwed.

Comment by wackolib

I’ll have to disagree with you on this one, Montana Fem. Tis better to get it right in the first place than create a mess that needs to be fixed. Everyone gets screwed in the long run when that happens. It’s very hard for anyone in gov’t to admit mistakes, much less go backwards to make changes. The real estate market doesn’t slow down so others can catch up. That’s just the way it works. You have to be prepared to move quickly. Lot’s of people have made lots of money in this area in recent years. It’s a matter of being in the right place at the right time. I wouldn’t classify any of this as being the product of greed. It’s simply a matter of market forces at work.

Comment by Troutburst

MT Fem-
Everyone loses with this proposal. Will you qualify for this workforce housing? If you do not make between $45,000 and $67,000 a year…you do not qualify. If you do qualify, the value of your home is limited to 4.5% yearly growth. A home is not only a place to live, it is an investment. If in two years all the other homes in your subdivision have increased in value by 30% yours will only increase by 9%. This is a disservice to the homeowner. The increasing value of my house allows me to take out home improvement loans, and make it even more valuable not only to me, but to potential future buyers. If the market were to tank, the value of your home takes a bigger hit because as the market goes back up, no one will want a house that has a limited value in a market flooded with inexpensive homes.

Not to mention that someone earning the income range targeted by this proposal should be able to buy a home at market value if they have good credit and are willing to sacrifice the new car, the new TV, dining out every week, etc.

But an ever increasing segment of society thinks that they are entitled to all of these things and should not have to sacrifice anything.

Comment by wackolib

Ok so let me ask you this, is it better to be in a market where you are gaining 4.5 % yearly or is it better to be in a rental where you lose between $600.00 and $1000.00 monthly?

Comment by Montana Fem

“Ok so let me ask you this, is it better to be in a market where you are gaining 4.5 % yearly or is it better to be in a rental where you lose between $600.00 and $1000.00 monthly?”

I think that’s like asking if it’s better to get shot in the face or get shot in the gut. In the local real estate market 4.5% is not very good. You can get a 5 yr CD that pays better than that. If you’re looking strictly from an investment standpoint, there are still plenty of opportunities out there in the outlying communities. The Bozeman market has been out of reach of most people for quite a few years now. I think the notion of creating affordable housing is more of an afterthought than an actual solution around these parts. This certainly is a contentious subject though. I’m rather skeptical of anything our local gov’t does.

Comment by troutburst

I will make you both a deal. When you save $10,000.00 for the down payment and closing costs and carry the $1200.00 mortgage on a $145,000.00 slum in the valley (or in Townsend with a 45 minute commute)for a year we will continue having this discussion. Until then, I just don’t think either of you is going to get what I am saying here.
It was fun to get you both going though!!

Comment by Montana Fem

I think you missed a good point though. You wouldn’t qualify under this plan.

Comment by troutburst

Isn’t there something fundamentally creepy about the term ‘workforce housing’? It’s like saying ‘We still want you to flip our burgers and clean our houses, so we’ll make you a servants quarters’.

Anyone who has spent anytime in the Silicon valley knows that you have to do it or you’ll have something like the ‘slums of Mountain View’ but still, I am not sure what it says about our society.

Comment by Shane Mason




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