SOAR and Housing Affordability
Housing affordability is a tremendous challenge in all Southern California coastal counties, from San Diego to Santa Barbara county. Our Mediterranean climate and high quality of life attract so many people that this area will always have high prices relative to inland areas.
Counties without SOAR, such as Orange County, once had thriving agriculture. Shortly after World War II, Orange County and Ventura County had the same size population. Orange County paved over its agricultural land and now has more than three times the population of Ventura County. Yet Orange County has higher housing cost and less housing affordability than Ventura County.
Orange County proves that paving over your agricultural land and open spaces does not ensure the production of affordable housing. Affordable housing requires the building of affordable housing units.
SOAR increases the likelihood that affordable housing units will be a greater part of future housing in Ventura County development in a number of ways, including these 2 major aspects:
1. The SOAR initiatives require voter approval before land zoned open space or agriculture can be rezoned for development.
Development projects that use up precious open space and agricultural land will need to garner broad public support. Part of earning that support is to demonstrate that significant workforce housing is part of a proposed project.
2. SOAR discourages development on our precious open spaces and agricultural land and instead encourages redevelopment of our existing urban areas.
This redevelopment is much more likely to result in smaller units in more compact settings. These units are more likely to be affordable than a sprawling ranchette built on open spaces outside of our cities.