Workforce Housing Initiative Resolution at Tonight’s City Council

by jhwygirl

The Mayor’s Housing Team team has been hard at work, and at tonight’s City Council hearing, Mayor John Engen will bring forth a resolution that will direct staff to develop implementation strategies to increase attainable housing for Missoula’s workforce.

The statistics are startling people – something most of you already know. I know I do. This link here will take you to numerous typical household scenarios here in Missoula, illustrating the gap between market housing and the household salary.

Or how about these:

– 52% of renters and 25% of homeowners in Missoula spend more than 30% of their monthly income to house themselves.

– A family making the median income in Missoula can afford a $165,000
home; the median home price for 2007 was $219,550.

– 70% of Missoulians could not afford to buy the house they live in
today if they had to buy it today.

For years now I’ve used a statement similar to the last one – asking people how much their house is worth, and then asking them if they could afford to buy it right now at that price on their current salary.

The answer is usually silence, followed by “no.”

And think about that first statistic – that 52% of renters and 25% of homeowners spend more than 30% of their income on housing. Why is that bad? Because that extra that they put into housing is less that they put into our local economy.

Not good for anyone, including local business.

For someone who makes more than 80% of the median income, but not enough to buy into market housing, the situation is all the more frustrating. A search of the Missoula Multi-Listing Service will come up with dozens of homes that are sold only to income eligible people who make 80% or less than the median income. Sure – there are many homes on the current MLS that would meet my income level – but most of them are 50+ years old, and would not meet the loan lender standards to sell to a first-time home buyer.

Beyond that, it is important for people who are scratching out their first-time home purchase to have something that isn’t falling apart – i.e., won’t need a new roof or a new water heater or even insulation. And while there is a constantly changing list of condominiums there, when looking at affordability a buyer has to consider monthly homeowners fees into that mortgage payment. So even though there are quite a bit of condos out there in a range that might seem affordable to me, the HOA fees push it into an unaffordable range.

Affordability is defined as housing that costs no more than 30% of your income – and that 30% would include fees like HOA fees, water, sewer, garbage, gas, electricity, taxes. NOT cable, phone, internet.

Even in this current housing downslump – a slump that, while it will hit (has hit) the Rocky Mountain West, will hit a lot less harder than the rest of the nation and will last a lot less shorter than the rest of the nation, because, as you know, location is everything – the market won’t provide. The amenities offered merely by living here in Montana are too strong a draw to keep our housing markets down for long.

What I appreciate in this resolution is the recognition that people making 80-125% of median are without help right now. All of the housing organizations right now provide housing for people below those levels, but the rest of us (or people like me) are left out in the cold. These are the working professionals, emergency responders, teachers, and police of Missoula.

The lack of affordable housing is affecting the ability of many businesses around town to hire and expand – engineering and surveying firms, hospitals and healthcare agencies, the university, and our police and school district – while able to attract qualified individuals to job interviews often can’t seal the deal because of the lack of homes in the market at the salaries our struggling businesses are able to afford.

How much do you want to be taxed to make sure we have basic services like police, fire and teachers?

Do you want your police, fire personnel and teachers driving from Ravalli, Mineral and Powell County?

The effect is stagnating.

You can’t buy the view.

There’s quite a few words amoungst our pages here at 4&20 regarding affordable housing. Consider checking these two out:
Affordable Housing and Firefighters
Affordable Housing for Police Only?

Or you could put “affordable housing” into the search over there on the left, and come up with this, which includes a wide mix of issues.

Consider showing up tonight letting council know you support this resolution – or, if you can’t make it, shoot the Mayor and the rest of city council an email letting them know to Get ‘Er Done.

Let these guys and gals know that Missoula’s economic stability and vitality are important to you – and that affordable housing for Missoula’s workforce is part of that mix.

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  1. goof houlihan

    First, I’d be surprised if firefighters don’t already own their own homes. Entry level police officers probably not. That’s been my experience.

    But why are government, unionized workers always the target of “affordable housing” advocates. Who advocates for the bank teller, the bookkeeper, the window salesman, the carpenter, the grocery store cashier, etc? I never see anyone, including YOU, Jh, advocate for affordable housing for anyone but unionized government workers.

    Second, if no one is building, no affordable housing is going to get built. Bozeman has an affordable housing, inclusionary zoning ordinance. Nobody is building anything in the city, so nothing’s getting built that is affordable.

    Third, land and finance are the biggest drivers of un-affordablility. Exactions and other govt regulations are huge as well. What is Missoula willing to forego in order to get affordable housing? Impact fees? Street improvements? Curb, gutter and sidewalk? Parks? Will you accelerate approvals or even have many pre approved different designs for affordable housing on the planning dept shelves that builders can use without further approvals?

    Fourth, any affordable housing that is built will STILL compete with other solutions. Will people buy or rent tightly packed cheaply built or will they continue to chase solutions in the Bitterroot because they can have more of what they live in Montana to have?

    I can still remember the Missoula planning director bragging about the graying population preferring “urban” living near downtown. But young married couples and families look for something else, a safe place with neighborhood schools far from bars and homeless and the crime that goes with them. Maybe something with a little yard to have a catch between son and dad. And you want your city young and full of kids. When was the last time Missoula built an elementary school…or did they close one?

    It’s not all about affordable, but “affordable and safe”.

    Finally, will the “affordable housing” be focused on buyers or renters? Will their be “rent controls” for “affordable housing” for those who make 30 to 50 percent of ami? What are you targeting? “Workforce housing to purchase”?

    Or rental projects for the poor who make too much to live in federal tax credit housing?

    Most people I’ve talked to who lust after the “affordable housing” want a nice single family home for 75,000. That isn’t going to be the outcome of any affordable housing program.

  2. DriveFastTakeChances

    Affordable/attainable housing issues can be a tough nut to crack.
    I often get hung up with the idea that everyone has a right to housing. However, in America housing is a privlage-not a right. In Montana, with our “real” four seasons, the need for the privlage can seem very real.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    “The Economic Bill of Rights”
    Excerpt from 11 January 1944 message to Congress on the State of the Union

    ——————————————————————————–

    It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

    This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

    As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

    We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

    In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

    Among these are:

    The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

    The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

    The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

    The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

    The right of every family to a decent home;

    The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

    The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

    The right to a good education.

    All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

    America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.

    ——————————————————————————–

  3. Boy goof, other than agreeing with you – as I usually do when it comes to affordable workforce housing – I did mention working professionals like engineers and surveying firms.

    Missoula has a pretty extensive housing agency outreach to those making 80% and less of the median income – and if I made less, I’d have it pretty easy – as it stands, I’m one of those who falls in that category above 80% but I don’t make enough to qualify for decent market housing.

    Search the Missoula MLS today and there are at least two dozen lovely homes for the 80% and below crowd. Look at what is there for those above and what you’ll generally find is 50+ year old homes and/or condominiums, who’s selling price might make it for some, doesn’t factor in the HOA fees that push it out of range.

    We have contractors here who are struggling because they can’t hire qualified labor because housing is so expensive. This is one factor that is pushing up the cost of housing – they have to pay more into labor to keep labor. This cuts into profitability or housing cost. Which do you think it will end up being?

    The question is rhetorical.

    I use the term “workforce” by choice. “Affordable” denotes some sort of charity handout to many – while “workforce” might hopefully drive home the understanding to people that the economic vitality of Missoula depends on having decent housing available.

    While my argument for workforce housing usually does tend to mention the fire personnel and emergency workers and nurses, etc…I guess I do that because there are direct ties to one’s pocketbook when we can’t have people like that living in our community. These are workers that are absolutely necessary to basic services. Costs go up if you have to pay more for police and teachers and nurses. Taxes go up if you have to pay more and more for police and fire and teachers, etc.

    In other words, there is a pretty direct connection between having to increase the salary of entry level police and fire and teachers – a direct cost to the wallets of the taxpayers.

    Communities don’t usually start talking about affordable workforce housing until it starts affecting the wallets – the taxpayers and the businesses. Because we’ve always had agencies that have been able to work off of grants and donations to provide housing…but when housing issues start impacting those earning right in the median wage wavelength, and people making money and paying taxes start to get effected…then people start wanting to have something done.

    It isn’t always the feel-good thing that makes people want to do something – it comes down to the wallet issues.

  4. The problem with the affordable housing issue is defining it.

    Who exactly, in numbers, is the workforce we’re talking about, what economic measurements define them as a demographic? Eventually, somebody–usually college students, trust funders, and single working parents–has to get cut out.

    And secondly, where do we stop? If we all agree that this group of humans we call the ‘workforce’ deserves a shot at affordable housing, then how do we know when we’ve subsidized enough housing projects to have solved the problem? When do we stop? Does it come down to people applying to be called part of the “workforce,” and once approved, they’re monitored like urban-fringe bears until they jump through a series of hoops economically, including home ownership? I’m pretty liberal, for a cheefing-powder-slashing Nun, but this starts to sound a little like social engineering to me.

    I know that’s a groovy concept for alot of you, but can you dig it?

    Yeah. I can.

    And it’s groovy.

    And what, god forbid, about those people who come to Montana looking for new opportunities? Can non-locals and transplants expect the same right to affordable housing as all the other folk? Eventually, somebody has to get cut out.

    And why do we not owe every UM graduate a fair shot at a local well-paying job and home ownership? After all, their tuition and parent’s visiting income is the only reason we have a viable downtown in the first place, so aren’t they already “paid in?” My psychic priest tells me the chamber of commerce and those people who call the Pachyderms club a discussion group for ideas would disagree.

    Again, you have to cut somebody out. And missoula’s downtown buisness owners don’t like to be cut-out of taxpayer dollars that they deserve for all their hard work and other symbolically powerful contributions of theirs.

    You see, problems like these are why I joined the church. No housing issues, and we’re equal opportunity in our charity. We give to everyone.

    Jesus Christ people, don’t you get it?

    We also cheef the shit like rockstars and don’t have to apologize to anyone for what we do nekkid.

  5. goof houlihan

    Sorry, “workforce housing” is a good subject, it’s just one of my hot button issues to always see, “firefighters, police and teachers” as some mantra that I’ve heard twenty dozen times on the subject, with little touch with reality.

    Here’s what I heard; most teachers would like the opportunity to buy in town, but understand they’re going to be wise shoppers. Most firefighters have a trade in addition to their forty eight on so they earn money on their forty eight off, and already own homes where ever they want. Police ARE disadvantaged in the equation and need to live close as a requirement of their jobs.

    Be prepared for this criticism, and I could imagine someone even here bringing it up: the below eighty percent will pay taxes, give up amenities, and subsidize those making 80 to 120 of ami. (Leave yourself room at the top!) What do you mean giving up (sidewalks or park exactions, or something) to subsidize someone making half again as much as me?

  6. goof houlihan

    Speaking of affordable, Yellowstone Club just declared bankruptcy. Maybe I’ll be able to afford that big house in Big Sky after all…

  7. I see where this same sort of initiative has been tried elsewhere – Miami, Arlington VA, Porsmouth NH. How well have they worked? Does seem like a dandy vehicle for cultivating reliable Democratic voters.

    And I know some teachers who would lthe older housing stock in Slant Street or Lewis & Clark, for example. But a rowhouse in Franklin to the Fort? Not so sure. They might start there but after a couple years of the joyriders & vandalism, they’ll be hustling to the outer reaches of Target Range or Lolo.

  8. Lovely to see you stop by, Carol. Your inability to recognize the issue and its affects and effects is always a treat.

  9. Carol

    Always a pleasure, Jgirl. Perhaps your proximity to the issue prevents you from viewing it objectively.

  10. goof houlihan

    Carol, jh.

    Bottom line in Bozeman, the two most liberal commissioners on city council, voted against the workforce housing. The chamber and the realtors endorsed the adopted ordinance.

    Mostly because the ordinance recognized that in order to build workforce housing, you have to have someone building housing that people will buy.

    I think Missoula’s missed that part; I’m certain that the planning director up there missed it. Workforce housing for young families isn’t above, behind or next to the daytime homeless shelter. It’s isn’t above, behind or next to the students favorite watering hole. Young families go to the suburbs for a safe place to raise a family and they eschew the urban night life to concentrate on home, and work and school.

    What the most liberal commissioners, the most anti growth commissioners wanted, was to stop growth entirely by making the workforce housing ordinance so onerous to development that no development would happen, the last shove that pushed all development elsewhere. At first, and I think we see that, crushing the largest industry in the area would lower housing costs.

    However, the social costs would also include a lot more people losing their homes and the deterioration of the middle class, Bozeman becoming Aspen or Jackson hole, as middle class jobs disappeared. But that’s not anything an ultra liberal Montana State professor with tenure would have to worry about, right?

    I don’t think workforce housing does recruit Democrats. First, it has to accompany other market rate development, and in general, the people in those houses, which are the majority of any development, and who generally are Montanans who have moved back from out of state but originally came from the high line or eastern montana, aren’t liberal. Second, home ownership is in essence conservative. Four hundred dollar a year jumps in property taxes, as happened in SD7 this year, tend to make people think twice about new taxes.

    Reducing Bozeman to simply the fiefdom of the university, economically, now, that would be victory for democrats.

    Some plain talk, just among “us girls”.

  11. Carol

    Workforce Housing Initiatives® from what I can find out so far, seem to be a tool to promote density when other tactics fail. It’s already happening here, with more scraped lots replaced with townhouses. And these neighborhoods do become Democrat strongholds. Just sayin’.

  12. TheKritik

    I’m just happy to watch the City Council adopt a resolution that suggests development be subsidized. After all the hype about not wanting to subsidize development, the City Council decides it should do so for over half the City’s population who make 125% AMI or less. I guess “attainable housing” makes subsidizing development more acceptable.

    Having said that, I sincerely hope the City follows through. The housing market is important for so many reasons and yet it gets criminalized by leftist pundits and public officials. Protecting and nurturing a strong housing market is not the same thing as catering to business interests. It’s just unfortunate that a housing affordability crisis was the only way to get everyone to see that.

    Th big, bad, evil developer doesn’t do much housing in Missoula (maybe they do strip malls, I don’t know). Blue collar, hard-working builders do. And the developers that do work here, balance their high end housing with condos and detached homes that are as attainable as possible. Apartments have become too difficult to pencil out for market based developers, but I commend our homeWORD and MHA and others in what they work so hard to accomplish with dimishing financial resources. I hope that our local development community weathers the tough times ahead and can use “attainable housing” tools sooner rather than later.

  13. Carol – Let me just say that I’ve fully disclosed my interest in affordable housing. I’m part of the more than 50% of the population in Missoula that would put more money into the economy if I didn’t put so much into housing.

    I do agree with you that previous (and current) measures that are masked as affordable housing “tools” – like PNC’s and rezonings to allow townhouses (where multi-family were already permitted) didn’t work, and only served to (1) enlarge the size of homes, homogenizing the size of homes on the market, not helping to vary pricing structures and (2) were disruptive to neighborhoods (in some cases) and, with regards to at least one rezoning that was designed to allow townhouses, only served to increase the profit to the developer, allowing him to sell the product at a high price because townhomes sell for more than condos.

    PNC’s, though, did not increase density Carol – they only varied the interior setbacks. I’m assuming you know that.

    Now, Kritik – there is nothing in that resolution that suggests that subsidy is going to be the method to gaining and increasing workforce housing. You are about as creative as Haines and Hellegard who assumed subsidy and higher taxes as the ultimate income. AS IF that is the only solution. Geez. Makes me scared that they are elected officials, if higher taxes are the only solution they see to problem solving.

    Missoula is not going to survive as a low-density bedroom community. Infrastructure costs will be too high – water and sewer lines in a greater part of the city are well past their normal lifespans. Schools are always needed – and busing kids across town will be costly. Few people like to have their grade school children more than a few blocks away, or in large school, which only decreases the effectiveness of early education.

    The market needs to provide more than 2 bedroom units – a mix of product (rental and ownership; 2,3,& 4 (and even studios and 1-bedrooms) are needed.

    During the UFDA discussion, Jean Curtiss noted much the same on the topic of infrastructure – we’ve going to have to focus growth (unless you know a way to stop it) where we’ve got infrastructure, otherwise we tax ourselves out of existence.

    That’s pretty basic math there. Linda Frey can’t have it all – she isn’t going to be able to protest everything to make sure she keeps increasing her property value, protest every new SID and tax, and protest growth and keep her taxes low. At some point she’s going to retire…and she’s likely going to wish that infrastructure costs were better spread out amongst more taxpayers.

    If you want low taxes and no infrastructure costs, you gotta move out onto a 160 acre parcel somewhere out in the hinterlands……and even then, you’re going to need a septic tank, a well, and a grader and some gravel every once in a while to fix the potholes.

  14. TheKritik

    Actually, you’re wrong about the subsidy issue. The task force had OPG prepare several tools for affordable housing. One is a land trust where homes would not have to charge the price of the land (the trust clearly subsidizes every home on the land). They are considering using public land for development. They are also considering federal and state money to subsidize either the land trust or construction. They are considering incentives for developers to build affordable units via reduced fees (subsidy), density bonuses, and other items.

    But you’re right on one thing: none of that WAS in the resolution. I don’t have to be creative about these things when the solutions are already being considered. All I have to do is spread the word. Bring on the subsidies!

  15. Developers in Missoula – subdividers and builders – have been subsidized forever by the taxpayers.

    Fact.

    Maybe it’s time to start charging these guys 100% of their costs to use city services, and then knock it down from there for returning to the city some economic stability.

    Yeah. I think I like that idea.

    I mean – why should we be subsidizing the profit of subdividers and builders? I seriously can’t think of one reason why we should. You can not – can not – base a sustainable economy on growth alone. So subsidizing growth that doesn’t return something back, long-term, to the community is a non-starter with me.

    Subsidize some industry that provides long-term high paying wages. Yeah. Subsidize growth? That can’t sustain itself? Fugghetaboutit.

  16. TheKritik

    Industries that are subsidized: agriculture, telecom, education, health care, the list goes on. Why not subsidize growth if it provides for attainable housing? Is housing not as important as food, knowledge, or our health?

    Growth not paying for itself is premised ONLY on the existence of government not on some “subsidies are bad” principle. At best, “growth not paying for itself” is false consciousness purported by the government apparatus to justify more revenue generation. Agriculture doesn’t pay for itself and yet is subsidized by all levels of government so much, farmers in developing nations have no hope of ever competing (furthering the cycle of poverty in those nations).

    Government, like any other human endeavor, can adapt in accordance with values of a community. If housing is important, it should be subsidized whether members of City Council want to or not.

    Further, industry that provides long-term high paying wages won’t come if there isn’t available housing for workers (not to mention that construction provides plenty of living wage level jobs). Just because “growth” doesn’t cover all the government bills doesn’t mean it’s bad. Further, those builders you talk about live here and support good paying jobs here and raise families here and spend money here. Often land owners who subdivide, use the money for their retirement producing long-term financial security to many seniors. To say builders and subdividers contribute no long-term benefit to the community is ignorant nonsense.

    As far as capitalism goes, it is based on growth. Even in sustainability models, growth is still necessary due to depreciating capital and businesses that fail or retire (not to mention birth rates that are higher than death rates). I suppose your catchy slogans don’t like to entertain these sorts of mater-reality. Arrogant, irrational, new left punditry: what’s new? You want to have a real talk about marxism, distribution, government policy, and materiality, let me know when you have something beyond rhetorical rubbish on your mind.

  17. cart? horse? chicken? egg? – therein lies the conundrum folks. thekritic (mouthpiece for local building association) chimes in with if we build it they will come for the jobs- what jobs? the help wanted pages of the sunday missoulian in 2006 was 7 pages long. now this past sunday- half a page, folks.

    i was in a burger king today listening to the workers behind the counter talking about selling their blood at biolife twice a week to live on because most of their tiny paychecks go to rent.

    i don’t know what the solution is but reality is reality. we are heading south into the deepest depression any of us has ever lived through. who are the winners?
    blood banks, payday lenders, pawn shops, wal-mart…
    who are the losers? people who rely on growth for their paychecks, whether it is in retail, car sales, appliance sales, carpet installers, sheetrockers, developers or builders.

    what do we do to avoid having” Hoovervilles” pop up as people lose their jobs and their homes? maybe this initiative is one positive step to at least position ourselves to ask the right questions. it won’t be a right or a left solution in the end. it will be everyone pulling together to come up with workable solutions to the coming winter, because if you think the downfall of the economy hasn’t hit missoula then you need to listen better. good old boy boosterism and attacks on others who don’t agree with your politics won’t get you through what is coming.
    i don’t see anything wrong with the initiative but i also don’t view it as the ultimate solution. it is a work in progress, that’s all. politics is perception.

  18. TheKritik

    So… there isn’t a contradiction between wanting affordable housing and growth to pay it’s own way?

    Politics is not just perception. It’s navigating material limitations on situations in ways that are just and equitable. If we rely simply on perception, we never get past the principles and rhetoric that are perpetuating the problem. At some point, a building has to be built; a job has to be created; a bill has to be paid. Even in this simplistic understanding, it is perilous not to see these items as interconnected (directly or indirectly). Affordable housing won’t come from slogans about growth; it will come when we begin to recognize that some things are worth paying for and subsidizing (growth or otherwise).

    Growth will have to be subsidized for affordable housing. Perceive what you wish.

  19. perhaps in your headlong rush to try to get a blank check from the city/county for your builders you failed to see all the dots i connected about the reality of the economy.

    methinks thou dost protest too much. and i find your arguments much ado about nothing. we need to build affordable housing alright but handouts to developers won’t solve any long term problems. it will just get your clients rich. that is not the ultimate solution we are seeking here.
    if your clients get wealthy as a result of a well thought out plan which solves the problem of making housing affordable all well and good. but it is not the top of our agenda here.

  20. TheKritik

    Once again, ideology and ignorance seems to trump materiality.

  21. klemz

    Fact: The second someone moves to develop a property primarily for financial gain they become a developer and acquire a taste for infant flesh.

    Let’s live in yerts, man.

  22. if by materiality you mean greed then i would like to remind you that unbridled greed has decimated this economy. now who was proven to be ignorant? the idealists clamoring for justice or the wealthy gamblers who used to tout the “greed works” mentality to keep us from regulating them. seems like developers are always in a hurry when they want to line up at the public’s trough.

  23. if the economy goes from recession to depression klemz, you may be wishing you had a yurt. unemployment could peak at 33% if the indicators i watch are even remotely correct-foreclosures 50%. forget GM, Ford and chrysler. look at the vice index- dropping daily. when people cut out cigarettes, booze, and gambling,it’s getting real. that is what i mean by listening. montana is in better shape than many places but not for long. layoffs are starting to take their toll in every part of our economy and salespeople everywhere are seeing dropping totals. Hell, even china is feeling it. we aren’t buying even 10% of their junk now that the recession has taken hold. we can’t just talk boosterism in a vaccuum. we need to be aware of the tidal wave coming our way while we discuss some important goals like affordable housing.

  24. klemz

    What are you talking about? I was serious. Grow boy choi by day and host potlucks by night. That’s what they did before the industrial revolution, right?

  25. goof houlihan

    Klemz, “boy choi” sounds like a bad single sex porn film.

    Very little I’ve seen fires up the community like “workforce housing”!

    Everybody lives in something built by a “developer” unless they DO live in yurt or a mobile home. I’ve lived in tipis and furnace rooms and slept in boxcars myself, but I prefer living in a house, and to do that I had to work at something other than Burger King. So I made the choices necessary to do that.

    Not all new urbanist ideas are bad, most are too communalistic for me but safe to say I disagree with twisting lot lines around in the name of density. It can’t be done on a lot by lot basis.

    The unintended consequence of squeezing developers in the city too hard and enforcing social engineering style growth on the city is….lots of people commuting from Frenchtown and Ravalli county.

  26. Boy, I had this nice point-by-point reply written up for you Kritik, but it fell into the depths of the internets.

    Rather than try and recreate that masterpiece, I’ll whittle it down to 20 words or so:

    Are you really trying to make a case that Missoula taxpayers should be subsidizing subdividers and the building industry here in Missoula?

    Really?

  27. goof houlihan

    PS. Safety, safety safety. That’s what attracts people to the suburbs.

  28. TheKritik

    jhwygirl – no, I’m not making a case. I’m saying building will be sudsidized to create attainable units as a fact. Really.

    Housing trust, grants, fee waivers, streamlined review, transfer tax, inclusionary zoning – they’re all on the table and being considered.

  29. klemz

    Haha. Late night typo.

    “Boy Choi,” starring Vance DeFrenz

  30. DriveFastTakeChances

    Goof says–I prefer living in a house, and to do that I had to work at something other than Burger King. So I made the choices necessary to do that.

    I agree, choices are an important factor. Like the choice WWII veterans made when they built a house on the GI bill, and the choice young people have today when they take on house payment sized student loan debt.
    Choices make all the difference.
    The question then, is how does a community deal with people who consistently make bad choices? If you are out and about, you will see there are many.
    If one assumes that in our country housing is a privilege, then the trick is to figure out who is deserving of it. Obviously we want to reward hard work. In America people who do well in the free market, deserve to be able to buy a house or two. The question then, is– who does not deserve the privlage of housing?
    I think we can all agree that there are some others amung us who deserve the privlage even if they cant “earn” it. I would advocate for children, the diabled, and the elderly. Some would include combat vetrans too.
    I guess for the rest it comes down to a certain comfort level. How much discomfort are the housless causing the housed, or when does the homeless wait staff start adding bodily fluids to the housed patrons soup?
    Sometimes I wish housing was a right, but that would be too close to socialism for some folks. I guess fudalism worked for a while, until the merchant class got all upity.

  31. DriveFastTakeChances

    Oops, I did not give any ideas for a solution, bad form!
    I would like to have designated income tax payments. Imagine if one could have a check box on their tax return to designate what programs their dollar funds. For example, one could check housing and schools, and not check the industrial military complex.




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