Board rejects plan for housing

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

The board of supervisors yesterday rejected a battery of proposals aimed at increasing low-cost housing in Calaveras County.

Supervisors instead postponed adoption of a proposed new general plan housing element, and turned down a version sent to them by the Calaveras County Planning Commission and including a number of measures designed to meet housing needs over the next six years.

Suggested updates would have required builders to provide affordable housing as part of their projects or to help pay for it elsewhere.

The county's present housing element expires at the end of this year. By law, a new element must be both certified by the state and adopted by supervisors by Jan. 1.

Though the county Planning Department suggested a revamp, supervisors yesterday said no thanks.

The board did, however, vote to form a group of affordable-housing advocates, real estate agents, lenders, land surveyors and others to brainstorm ways to bring lower-cost housing into the county.

"I'd rather see a grassroots effort, rather than a government regulatory type of thing," Supervisor Victoria Erickson said.

But this committee's work would not be done in time to incorporate it into the housing element.

The element vote is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 6. Supervisors will also vote then whether to send what may be an unchanged document to the California Department of Housing and Community Development for review a step that must be taken before final approval.

Habitat for Humanity member Frank Meyer said he doesn't agree with the supervisors' decision. He said the current element hasn't worked before and is "inadequate" in addressing today's housing problems.

In a memo to supervisors last week, Deputy Planning Director Robert Sellman said the existing housing element will not provide the 736 very-low-income housing units, 523 low-income units and 672 moderate-income units that will be needed in the county within the next six years.

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