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East End is roiled as mixed-income housing plans advance

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2 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

I think that zoning played that role of encouraging the car-based lifestyle because people wanted it to, because they wanted a car-based lifestyle and insulated neighborhoods, etc. To the extent that people decide they want a more pedestrian-friendly lifestyle, zoning can be a tool for that as well. It is currently being used as such in many cities, where certain streets and districts are identified as "pedestrian-oriented" or "transit-oriented" and rules are made which encourage this character of neighborhood (e.g. no public storage or other undesirable uses, no chain link fences, no setbacks or curb cuts on signature streets, etc.)

 

 

That's more of a chicken or the egg argument. "What came first: the people's desires for a car based society, or the government's intervention to encourage the same", but it hardly matters: either way, zoning policies solidified that method of development into the American zeitgeist. In the end, any changes made to zoning laws to encourage a pedestrian friendly lifestyle are band-aids on the issue because they aren't changing people's general attitudes regarding said lifestyles, so the general trend of development is still towards the currently predominant archetype of auto-based development. There is also the fact that you are using zoning to try to fix the problems that zoning itself caused. Its a meandering top down approach that is inherently flawed because its the government trying to go in an dictate development on its terms vs. what the market would actually support. Houston has shown that such intervention is unnecessary: its densifying and moving away from car based development through natural transition, without the need for the top down approach, and its happening across the city in areas that can support said development, rather than happening in a piecemeal approach in specially appointed districts.

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1 hour ago, Big E said:

 

That's more of a chicken or the egg argument. "What came first: the people's desires for a car based society, or the government's intervention to encourage the same", but it hardly matters: either way, zoning policies solidified that method of development into the American zeitgeist. In the end, any changes made to zoning laws to encourage a pedestrian friendly lifestyle are band-aids on the issue because they aren't changing people's general attitudes regarding said lifestyles, so the general trend of development is still towards the currently predominant archetype of auto-based development. There is also the fact that you are using zoning to try to fix the problems that zoning itself caused. Its a meandering top down approach that is inherently flawed because its the government trying to go in an dictate development on its terms vs. what the market would actually support. Houston has shown that such intervention is unnecessary: its densifying and moving away from car based development through natural transition, without the need for the top down approach, and its happening across the city in areas that can support said development, rather than happening in a piecemeal approach in specially appointed districts.

 

Why would government have intervened to encourage things like isolated neighborhoods if people hadn't already wanted isolated neighborhoods? The process of creating these rules is led by the people affected; there's not some smoke-filled room where sinister government people just decide that there will only be single-family residential in a certain area, etc. Take Memorial Drive in the Villages (where there is zoning), which doesn't have any gas stations or unsightly development - do you think that the people of the Villages wanted it this way, or do you think that evil government planners forced them to have this beautiful road and the residents all wish it could look like Long Point or Richmond or something? It sounds like you have never lived for very long in a place that had zoning, but had your mind made up from listening to Tory Gattis types.

 

As far as using Houston as an example of densification without zoning, I don't think this helps your argument. We've been long deterred on densification because there are so few streets that are actually walkable and aren't compromised by anti-pedestrian development. Think what Main Street downtown could be if it weren't full of parking garages. Look at how emerging walkable streets such as West Gray west of Bagby in Midtown were stymied by anti-pedestrian development that prevented continuation of what Post had created. I mean yes, parts of Houston are slowly densifying because nearly everyone under 40 wants dense development, but the number of walkable streets are way less than Dallas or Austin, even though Houston has a higher population density than either of these cities.

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In 2014 the community tried to push through 240+ affordable homes to help build up the MDI site and surrounding infrastructure. We thought of this as a WIN-WIN-WIN (Developer, Residents, Goverment). The affordable homes would be scattered and would blend in with the newer townhomes being built. There would be a sense of shared community through social income. As Market Rate residents move in and get to know their neighbors they would talk to them and share economic ladders.

 

The govement would re-do some badly needed sewage and drainage near the MDI site (Bringhurst, etc) and frank would use some of this money for roads/power/etc. This was voted on at a Superneighborhood Council Level and approved. This was voted in by the City. But..... it was denied by Harold Dutton. Because Frank didnt pay money to his last campaign. Politics and who is getting paid on the back end of these deals matters more than people actually being helped. 

 

https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/morning_call/2014/02/houstons-fifth-ward-redevelopment-efforts-continue.html?page=all

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Big E said:

 

Seems like you've already done the actual research into scientific studies. As you said, what research has been done is inconclusive at best, partially because of the massive variance in IZ laws between various jurisdictions and just the lack of consistent data. There have been studies that have show that IZ increase the price of single family housing where it is implemented, while others have argued that that is not the case, but it doesn't actually help the poor all that much (which is actually a common left wing criticism, and in fact, you could argue that its not meant to help the poorest of society, but working middle class people like teachers who otherwise wouldn't be able to live in the areas they work in), though even the study cited in this second article states "effective inclusionary housing programs include incentives that offset the cost to developers," and that "mandatory programs with no offsets can lead to lower overall numbers of units produced", basically stating that the overall success of IZ in a given area is based on government subsidies to the developers to prevent housing costs from going up to pay for the below market rate units. The second article also cites the NHC, which is an organization that is heavily biased towards IZ and represents interests, both corporate and non-profit, that build affordable housing. Overall, research is mixed in this area, and data is woefully incomplete, but these articles are good at places to start in research if one is interested.

 

However one thing that is clear from simple observation is that inclusionary zoning, subsidized housing, "affordable" housing, whatever you want to call it, has done nothing to actually curtail skyrocketing housing prices in the locations its implemented, does not help the poorest in the city (once again, these IZ programs tend to target the working and lower-middle class) and the policy's overall effectiveness has not actually been established or demonstrated conclusively. This must also be taken into account with the fact that the vast majority of the housing stock in any given city will always be existing housing stock, not new housing stock, and in many places, there isn't much new housing stock being built, and IZ based affordable housing will always be a minority of that. Studies have noted that only about 29,000 inclusionary units were created in the whole state of California from 1999 to 2007. The actual rate of IZ would be preposterously low in any given situation just because there wouldn't be enough affordable units built to offset the rising prices and there never could be. Arguing whether or not IZ raises housing costs overall is disingenuous most of the time, the bigger question with regards to IZ is whether or not its a good subsidy program, because its the subsidies that actually determine its effectiveness, and no study has actually weighed the real costs of IZ versus just increasing Section 8 voucher funding, for example. As of now, it hasn't been demonstrated that IZ works in any appreciable form to vastly increase affordable housing and IZ has not made a real dent in the affordability crisis facing America's housing market because it hasn't dealt with the underlying issues causing it.

 

I found studies, but they aren't scientific. they're just observations based on the point of view of the writer. scientific studies require control groups, limited variables, etc. 

 

if you want to live in SF, you have only a few square miles within which to live. if you want to live on the island of manhattan, you also have limited space. even LA. there's an ocean on one side, and hills that are prone to mudslides and firestorms on the other side. Seattle, likewise, constrained. Houston doesn't have geographical limitations like other places. you can drive 20 miles and buy a home in Conroe, New Caney, Rosharon, Richmond, Brookshire. we have no mountains or hills, or ocean, at least not like any of these other places referenced. sure we've got a bay that is surrounded by industrial crap, but there is nothing but land, all you need is someone willing to sell their farm out in the more rural reaches and you have the next master planned community.

 

so we aren't really hampered. yet Houston home prices since 2008 have still gone up by insane amounts. The east end is a great example. I bought my home, fully remodeled in 2009 for 130. other homes that weren't remodeled were going for 50. last year it was appraised (sight unseeen) at 280. sale prices for homes in my neighborhood range from 350 to near 500, and if it isn't remodeled it's probably 150. my neighborhood is not unique in Houston. we don't have IZ, but we are still seeing unhinged costs going up. whatever it is that has caused home prices to go up, from my perspective, it doesn't look like IZ is the reason. and anyway, it's called subsidized housing, whether we pay for it in city debt (and taxes), or directly by having higher home prices because the companies are passing the cost directly to us, rather than it being a 'hidden cost' of taxes. we're still paying. especially if it's not paid for by taxes immediately and there is debt. now we're paying the cost of the housing, plus interest, and maybe that bill doesn't get cashed until later down the road, but all it leads to us paying more at some point (and maybe that price is passed so far it goes to our kids).

 

now, whether it works or not to actually provide low income housing to enough people, that is another question. certainly another question is how people are impacted when you can put 10% of low income people into an affluent neighborhood, vs 100% in one area. do they get and take a chance to climb out of poverty (or do their children get that chance?), certainly when they are surrounded by poverty it is supremely hard to grow out of poverty.

 

and make no mistake about it, I am not advocating zoning, far from it, but in actuality, when you create a low income housing complex, you are creating a poor zone. no I don't want zoning in Houston, but I do see the value in laws like parking minimums and setbacks, and other laws that Houston has in place that dictate how people can build. a low income requirement for apartments would be no different.

Edited by samagon

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On 5/21/2020 at 9:00 AM, samagon said:

I found studies, but they aren't scientific. they're just observations based on the point of view of the writer. scientific studies require control groups, limited variables, etc. 

 

There have been numerous studies, all probably as "scientific" as you could probably study something like this, but, as I said before, because of the wide variance in how these laws are put into application, along with other variables, the results have been mixed, at least as far as results have shown.

 

On 5/21/2020 at 9:00 AM, samagon said:

if you want to live in SF, you have only a few square miles within which to live. if you want to live on the island of manhattan, you also have limited space. even LA. there's an ocean on one side, and hills that are prone to mudslides and firestorms on the other side. Seattle, likewise, constrained. Houston doesn't have geographical limitations like other places. you can drive 20 miles and buy a home in Conroe, New Caney, Rosharon, Richmond, Brookshire. we have no mountains or hills, or ocean, at least not like any of these other places referenced. sure we've got a bay that is surrounded by industrial crap, but there is nothing but land, all you need is someone willing to sell their farm out in the more rural reaches and you have the next master planned community.

 

Your comparison is apples to oranges, or I should say, inherently skewed. You say that you can live in other areas outside of Houston, up to 20 miles away, and get a home, but that remains true in every other city you also mentioned. If you want to live in the San Francisco Bay area, you don't have to live in SanFran itself. You can live in San Jose, Oakland, San Marino, and dozens of other cities and unincorporated areas. Same with New York: one doesn't have to live in Manhattan, or in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, or even Staten Island. One can live further into Long Island, in New Jersey, or in a New York State suburb north of New York City, like Yonkers, and simply commute into the city, and thousands of people do just that every day. Seattle is the same. In all of these cases, you can live 20 miles outside the city and probably get a cheaper home if you do. Also, all of these cities have geographic limitations, yes even Houston (the area to the east of Houston is forested and swampy, and not really fit for mass development, so it has remained undeveloped, and to the southeast is the Galveston and Trinity Bays, which you overlooked for no real reason; this is why Houston is mainly growing westward).

 

On 5/21/2020 at 9:00 AM, samagon said:

so we aren't really hampered. yet Houston home prices since 2008 have still gone up by insane amounts. The east end is a great example. I bought my home, fully remodeled in 2009 for 130. other homes that weren't remodeled were going for 50. last year it was appraised (sight unseeen) at 280. sale prices for homes in my neighborhood range from 350 to near 500, and if it isn't remodeled it's probably 150. my neighborhood is not unique in Houston. we don't have IZ, but we are still seeing unhinged costs going up. whatever it is that has caused home prices to go up, from my perspective, it doesn't look like IZ is the reason. and anyway, it's called subsidized housing, whether we pay for it in city debt (and taxes), or directly by having higher home prices because the companies are passing the cost directly to us, rather than it being a 'hidden cost' of taxes. we're still paying. especially if it's not paid for by taxes immediately and there is debt. now we're paying the cost of the housing, plus interest, and maybe that bill doesn't get cashed until later down the road, but all it leads to us paying more at some point (and maybe that price is passed so far it goes to our kids).

 

The rise in home prices is due entirely to previous (pre-corona) economic conditions leading to a boom in real estate, coupled with rising demand due to in-migration into Texas. In case of the East End in particular, gentrification is driving up housing prices across the area, as an area that used to be rather forgotten and run down in Houston is suddenly becoming increasingly desirable. This is economics naturally at work; demand is driving the prices of the supply, which is also increasing to meet the overwhelming demand. However, if you compare Houston to all of its compatriots in the 1 million+ population club (and quite a few smaller cities), Houston is still overwhelmingly cheaper to live in with a much lower cost of living, and a lot of that is due to Houston allowing development of new housing stock at such a high rate. That's just facts. Only San Antonio is cheaper. Truth is, prices rising to some extent is a good thing, because it indicates a healthy, growing economy, and I'm sure homeowners are appreciating the increased property value. IZ, along with other government policies, simply drive the prices up more by constraining the supply, thus driving the price even further upwards to compensate for the overwhelming demand in an artificial way.

 

IZ is subsidized housing because the tenant of the IZ housing is not paying the actual cost of their housing. In such cases, the developer or owner must "subsidize" said tenant, because the costs that make their property "market rate" don't suddenly go away just because the unit they are living is now used for below market rate housing. Those who pay market rate are unsubsidized because they bear the full brunt of the costs.

 

On 5/21/2020 at 9:00 AM, samagon said:

and make no mistake about it, I am not advocating zoning, far from it, but in actuality, when you create a low income housing complex, you are creating a poor zone. no I don't want zoning in Houston, but I do see the value in laws like parking minimums and setbacks, and other laws that Houston has in place that dictate how people can build. a low income requirement for apartments would be no different.

 

I actually wouldn't mind Houston reigning in their parking minimums a lot more than they have. And I understand how Houston uses its setback laws to wring developers into doing improvements when they want to get exemptions for them; they are really more for horse trading purposes than anything else. However, there just isn't enough proof there for me to say that IZ would actually help in anyway. It would just be another unnecessary hurdle for development. Hell, i can't even say it would help the poor if it was implemented. It seems to be something that actually geared towards helping the middle class, and Houston is already the most affordable big city in America for the middle class.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Big E said:

 

Your comparison is apples to oranges

 

I'm honest. I stopped reading when you wrote this. 

 

what you seem to have said in one simple statement is that we can't take the supposed conclusions of how IZ affected SF and then apply to Houston because of all of our differences.

 

I'm glad you agree with me.

Edited by samagon

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31 minutes ago, samagon said:

 

I'm honest. I stopped reading when you wrote this. 

 

what you seem to have said in one simple statement is that we can't take the supposed conclusions of how IZ affected SF and then apply to Houston because of all of our differences.

 

I'm glad you agree with me.

 

Then you should have kept reading, because you didn't understand why I called your statement apple to oranges. I called it that because you intentionally skewed your comparison. You compared the densest, most central part of the cities/metro areas of San Fran, New York, and Seattle to the entire metro area of Houston. Your comparison was inherently flawed because it didn't compare like things and was weighted in your favor because of that. Despite how preposterous it was, I took the time to read it and explain why it was flawed. It says more about you that you didn't take the time to read my explanation.

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32 minutes ago, Big E said:

 

Then you should have kept reading, because you didn't understand why I called your statement apple to oranges. I called it that because you intentionally skewed your comparison. You compared the densest, most central part of the cities/metro areas of San Fran, New York, and Seattle to the entire metro area of Houston. Your comparison was inherently flawed because it didn't compare like things and was weighted in your favor because of that. Despite how preposterous it was, I took the time to read it and explain why it was flawed. It says more about you that you didn't take the time to read my explanation.

 

ok, so the phrase 'apples and oranges' is an idiom that means that two things are fundamentally different and not suited to comparison.

 

the idiom you used basically said to me "we can't compare SF and Houston because they are way too different", yet the whole basis of your argument is that we need to compare the two cities. so I hope you can understand my reaction.

 

now that I understand you weren't dismissing the comparisons, you were simply trying to show that I didn't consider the greater metro areas of the other towns, yet did with Houston, it makes more sense.

 

anyway, thanks for the explanation, and sorry for misunderstanding you.

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8 hours ago, Big E said:

 

You say that you can live in other areas outside of Houston, up to 20 miles away, and get a home, but that remains true in every other city you also mentioned. If you want to live in the San Francisco Bay area, you don't have to live in SanFran itself. You can live in San Jose, Oakland, San Marino, and dozens of other cities and unincorporated areas. Same with New York: one doesn't have to live in Manhattan, or in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, or even Staten Island. One can live further into Long Island, in New Jersey, or in a New York State suburb north of New York City, like Yonkers, and simply commute into the city, and thousands of people do just that every day. Seattle is the same. In all of these cases, you can live 20 miles outside the city and probably get a cheaper home if you do.

 

land area in and around Houston, compared to these other cities is absolutely far greater. it is pretty inaccurate to suggest differently. 

 

Quote

Also, all of these cities have geographic limitations, yes even Houston (the area to the east of Houston is forested and swampy, and not really fit for mass development, so it has remained undeveloped, and to the southeast is the Galveston and Trinity Bays, which you overlooked for no real reason; this is why Houston is mainly growing westward).

 

Alief was once a marshy patch of rice fields, the woodlands were forested (and if you take a hike up in Sam Houston National Forest, you'll see that the forested areas are just as swampy and marshy as anywhere east of town.

 

read some of the stories from the first settlers in Houston and it was a marshy forest. go take a drive around BW8 and you quickly see how much land there really is that can be infilled.

 

the real reason areas east of Houston aren't developed quite as much as the west and north, and even the south is for the same reasons it is kind of silly to consider some of the places you mentioned above as viable solutions for housing. they are geographically hard to access. getting from areas east of the San Jacinto river into Houston are very limited, just like areas east of the SF bay area. there's 1 or 2 options for getting from one side to the other. it is not desirable.

 

I ignored the bays because it isn't a hindrance in Houston. Rosharon, Manvel, Alvin, even tracts of land near the beltway. completely undeveloped, or if they are developed, they are fields with a few cattle grazing with owners that are waiting for the right person to walk up and offer them money for the land.

 

so yeah, compared to many other places, Houston, and surrounding areas are very land rich. 

 

Quote

 

The rise in home prices is due entirely to previous (pre-corona) economic conditions leading to a boom in real estate, coupled with rising demand due to in-migration into Texas. In case of the East End in particular, gentrification is driving up housing prices across the area, as an area that used to be rather forgotten and run down in Houston is suddenly becoming increasingly desirable. This is economics naturally at work; demand is driving the prices of the supply, which is also increasing to meet the overwhelming demand. However, if you compare Houston to all of its compatriots in the 1 million+ population club (and quite a few smaller cities), Houston is still overwhelmingly cheaper to live in with a much lower cost of living, and a lot of that is due to Houston allowing development of new housing stock at such a high rate. That's just facts. Only San Antonio is cheaper. Truth is, prices rising to some extent is a good thing, because it indicates a healthy, growing economy, and I'm sure homeowners are appreciating the increased property value. IZ, along with other government policies, simply drive the prices up more by constraining the supply, thus driving the price even further upwards to compensate for the overwhelming demand in an artificial way.

 

 

so, even without IZ, home prices go up?

 

Quote

IZ is subsidized housing because the tenant of the IZ housing is not paying the actual cost of their housing. In such cases, the developer or owner must "subsidize" said tenant, because the costs that make their property "market rate" don't suddenly go away just because the unit they are living is now used for below market rate housing. Those who pay market rate are unsubsidized because they bear the full brunt of the costs.

 

understood, the subsidy is being paid for in a more direct fashion than if it were housing put up by the city. it is closer to a true cost of the subsidy.

 

however, I will agree, that placing the entire burden of cost on builders may have a negative effect. there should be offsets in place that doesn't saddle them with the entire burden. basically, when they build, it should cost them nothing to have x percentage of the sf dedicated to low income. so basically, if the government requires that 10% of the building be used for low income, then the government should pay 10% of the cost, or give tax abatement equal to 10% of the cost, however it would be done. 

 

point is, it can be done in a way that isn't going to keep builders from building.

 

Quote

I actually wouldn't mind Houston reigning in their parking minimums a lot more than they have. And I understand how Houston uses its setback laws to wring developers into doing improvements when they want to get exemptions for them; they are really more for horse trading purposes than anything else. However, there just isn't enough proof there for me to say that IZ would actually help in anyway. It would just be another unnecessary hurdle for development. Hell, i can't even say it would help the poor if it was implemented. It seems to be something that actually geared towards helping the middle class, and Houston is already the most affordable big city in America for the middle class.

 

I don't think anyone would, and considering the cities change requests for i45, I would assume they need to start putting their money where their mouth is and start reducing parking requirements, and start working a bit more aggressively on transit solutions. 

 

although, with all the recent bike lane activity I've seen, they are getting things started.

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8 hours ago, samagon said:

land area in and around Houston, compared to these other cities is absolutely far greater. it is pretty inaccurate to suggest differently. 

 

That might be true in absolute terms, though even that is debatable depending on what you are actually measuring (MSA for example). What is also absolutely true is that Houston itself is geographically larger than any of these cities. However, that doesn't affect the point really. There are still plenty of suburban and rural areas outside of these cities for people to move to and live in. And honestly, in an era of skyscrapers and dense development, geographic constraint probably shouldn't play as much of a role. The fact that it does speaks to my wider point about how government laws and interventions are largely constraining development.

 

8 hours ago, samagon said:

the real reason areas east of Houston aren't developed quite as much as the west and north, and even the south is for the same reasons it is kind of silly to consider some of the places you mentioned above as viable solutions for housing. they are geographically hard to access. getting from areas east of the San Jacinto river into Houston are very limited, just like areas east of the SF bay area. there's 1 or 2 options for getting from one side to the other. it is not desirable.

 

Well that doesn't actually weaken my point that Houston has geographic constraints to development. Also, despite the geographic constraints, the eastern side of the SF Bay is just as developed as San Fran's.

 

8 hours ago, samagon said:

so, even without IZ, home prices go up?

 

 

Not necessarily. In a bad or stagnant economy, they may stagnate or go down. Even in a decent economy, home prices may remain relatively stable if demand isn't overtaking supply. Houston's home prices are a fraction of a city like New York's or San Fran's, even with its booming economy (pre-corona). Prices in some areas were probably stagnant, even before the corona virus hit. Depends.

 

9 hours ago, samagon said:

however, I will agree, that placing the entire burden of cost on builders may have a negative effect. there should be offsets in place that doesn't saddle them with the entire burden. basically, when they build, it should cost them nothing to have x percentage of the sf dedicated to low income. so basically, if the government requires that 10% of the building be used for low income, then the government should pay 10% of the cost, or give tax abatement equal to 10% of the cost, however it would be done. 

 

That...isn't a poor idea on the face of it. As the articles I linked above pointed out, when you get right down to it, IZ is more of subsidy program than anything else, and its success seems to be tied to how much the government is willing to subsidize to prevent rents and housing costs from going up. The problem is whether or not the government is willing to subsidize, how much, and whether or not IZ is better than other forms of government subsidy.

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This area is really shaping up. It's such a treat to watch it shapeshift in real time. Do we know if any of the units they'll offer will be affordable housing?

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On 6/15/2020 at 9:44 AM, ljchou said:

Do we know if any of the units they'll offer will be affordable housing?


Hopefully none. We have more than enough affordable housing developments between this portion of the East End and neighboring Fifth Ward relative to market-rate apartment stock, especially after HHA acquired The Circuit complex near BBVA Stadium with the intention of converting approximately half the units into affordable units.

 

We need more market-rate stock like the Marquette property on Navigation and (hopefully) this development to even things out.

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@thedistrict84 I don't disagree, this area has more than the average ( a lot more ). I would prefer HHA require an even spread of multifamily developers in greater Houston to require 1-2% affordable units instead of 100% in low-income areas and 0% in others. Especially since profits usually hit well below 98-99% capacity. 

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Can we not, please?  We hammered this topic out and derailed the EAST River Forum for days with the topic.   

Suggest trying here:

 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/26/2020 at 8:35 PM, Big E said:

 

That might be true in absolute terms, though even that is debatable depending on what you are actually measuring (MSA for example). What is also absolutely true is that Houston itself is geographically larger than any of these cities. However, that doesn't affect the point really. There are still plenty of suburban and rural areas outside of these cities for people to move to and live in. And honestly, in an era of skyscrapers and dense development, geographic constraint probably shouldn't play as much of a role. The fact that it does speaks to my wider point about how government laws and interventions are largely constraining development.

 

 

Well that doesn't actually weaken my point that Houston has geographic constraints to development. Also, despite the geographic constraints, the eastern side of the SF Bay is just as developed as San Fran's.

 

 

Not necessarily. In a bad or stagnant economy, they may stagnate or go down. Even in a decent economy, home prices may remain relatively stable if demand isn't overtaking supply. Houston's home prices are a fraction of a city like New York's or San Fran's, even with its booming economy (pre-corona). Prices in some areas were probably stagnant, even before the corona virus hit. Depends.

 

 

That...isn't a poor idea on the face of it. As the articles I linked above pointed out, when you get right down to it, IZ is more of subsidy program than anything else, and its success seems to be tied to how much the government is willing to subsidize to prevent rents and housing costs from going up. The problem is whether or not the government is willing to subsidize, how much, and whether or not IZ is better than other forms of government subsidy.

 

as I was browsing the going up section I saw in the Gillette mixed use building thread that there are Houston Housing Authority buildings that are disused and boarded, and windows broken out.

 

it got me to thinking maybe the answer isn't some city wide solution that mandates each builder make accommodations. maybe there's other possibilities?

 

I was thinking about TIRZ at the same time. I know the midtown TIRZ has been buying land in 3rd ward (and it sits idle). if they can buy land, and all that stuff, why can't they also be in charge of ensuring low income housing in the areas they manage? TIRZ do a really great job of uplifting an area, or gentrifying it, or whatever word you want to use, but this often has the negative effect of pricing poor people out of the area. 

 

why not put the onus on the TIRZ to maintain, or grow low income housing in an area? a TIRZ basically sets a 0 point at a specific time. the taxable value of real estate at the time goes to city/county/state. for a period of 30 years, every cent that the area of that TIRZ that goes up in value over that original 0 point, the extra taxable money goes to the TIRZ. 

 

so, what could potentially happen, is if the area that the TIRZ covers doesn't have a minimum percentage of low income housing, they get less of those tax dollars. if the area that the TIRZ covers maintains a percentage, then they get what they are owed. if they go above the percentage, then they get more tax dollars (potentially from the tax dollars that were not paid to the TIRZ that don't maintain the minimum percentage of low income housing).

Edited by samagon

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On 6/30/2020 at 11:23 AM, samagon said:

 

as I was browsing the going up section I saw in the Gillette mixed use building thread that there are Houston Housing Authority buildings that are disused and boarded, and windows broken out.

 

it got me to thinking maybe the answer isn't some city wide solution that mandates each builder make accommodations. maybe there's other possibilities?

 

I was thinking about TIRZ at the same time. I know the midtown TIRZ has been buying land in 3rd ward (and it sits idle). if they can buy land, and all that stuff, why can't they also be in charge of ensuring low income housing in the areas they manage? TIRZ do a really great job of uplifting an area, or gentrifying it, or whatever word you want to use, but this often has the negative effect of pricing poor people out of the area. 

 

why not put the onus on the TIRZ to maintain, or grow low income housing in an area? a TIRZ basically sets a 0 point at a specific time. the taxable value of real estate at the time goes to city/county/state. for a period of 30 years, every cent that the area of that TIRZ that goes up in value over that original 0 point, the extra taxable money goes to the TIRZ. 

 

so, what could potentially happen, is if the area that the TIRZ covers doesn't have a minimum percentage of low income housing, they get less of those tax dollars. if the area that the TIRZ covers maintains a percentage, then they get what they are owed. if they go above the percentage, then they get more tax dollars (potentially from the tax dollars that were not paid to the TIRZ that don't maintain the minimum percentage of low income housing).

 

That's largely just shifting the burden from the city to the TIRZ, leading to a more patchwork situation. Now this could theoretically be better: rather than a city as geographically large as Houston trying to push a one size fix all solution, each TIRZ would be in charge of making things work in their own neighborhood, which they understand much better and more intrinsically than the city ever could. But it wouldn't fix the fundamental issue regarding affordable low income housing. It would force the TIRZ to push for low income housing in an unnatural, artificial way to meet a quota, irrespective of the wants of the community its serving or the actual economic conditions supporting such, rather than allowing the market and natural evolution of the neighborhood to dictate where said housing goes and if it goes there at all.

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