A Plea to Balance Housing Supply

When city planners opt for slow-no-growth, they are saying to home-seekers, "Go elsewhere." But where? The need for housing is great in the entire Los Angeles area. Modest two-bedroom apartments in South Bay blue-collar areas are now renting for more than $900 a month and don't wait for tenants.

Anything that restricts housing supply puts a few more disadvantaged out on the streets to increasingly include small children of one-parent families.

Meanwhile, the city councils are besieged by organized homeowners and others to solve problems of congestion by limiting population through restrictive zoning. Los Angeles and Torrance currently have building moratoriums to allow time to study alternatives. Stilling the hammers paves the way for ever higher rents, crowding into small substandard housing, converting garages, and granny houses on the backs of lots.

The scene is enlivened by streets choked with commuting employees hurrying back and forth to distant suburban homes. Why? Because housing needs are not adequately considered with expansion of commercial and industrial facilities and new employees cannot find local housing. Meanwhile, Torrance, Los Angeles and other cities have large areas of very low-density residential characterized by stagnation and blight.

Why not plan to balance housing supply along with needs created by commercial and industrial expansion? What's wrong with upgrading the outmoded R-2 and other low-density zoning and permit construction of multi-residential with good building standards? The market for housing will do the rest. Is there anything wrong in a free country with letting supply and demand factors guide the way to the satisfaction of market needs?

To ordain to reduce housing in the face of increasing demand is to abrogate the rights of the larger community to the selection of suitable accommodations, or any at all. Let's upgrade residential zoning to help provide for the human needs so clearly evident.



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