The Sacramento Bee - March 6, 2006
Housing costs at issue in Rancho Cordova
The Grapevine Independent - February 3, 2006
"I, like most seasoned Rancho Cordovans, thought we had an over abundance of low cost, low rent housing. After doing a little research, I find that is a fact of yester-year. Today’s reality is that the area’s population is exploding, thus filling our once over abundance of affordable apartments and homes. Many of these apartment complexes and homes have been upgraded, which brings the rent or selling price up and out of reach of most low income workers. A quick look indicates most older homes on the market are priced in the high $200,000 to mid-$300,000 range. The new homes are starting in the upper $300,000’s, with an area median home price of over $460,000...
...When looking at the tremendous growth planned, some of those new homes ought to be made affordable to working families in Rancho Cordova. Citizens for One Rancho Cordova, Affordable for All, strongly recommends the city adopt a policy requiring all new residential units built citywide include units for low, very low and extremely low income persons. We feel this will help alleviate the situation. "
- Ross LeFever
For the full story:
The Grapevine Independent - January 27, 2006
How big is the tent?
Council must assure housing options in new areas of the city
By KEN COOLEY
A vital debate on the future of our city is now under way in our brand new city hall. The debate is on housing, and more particularly what I call "full band-width" housing. The question before the city council, (which I think must be answered now so that it becomes a part of our first General Plan) is simply whether our new growth neighborhoods will be required to include affordable options.
If such a new growth area affordability policy is set, it will mean that any resident in today's Rancho Cordova could find a housing option in our new neighborhoods if they wanted it.
Whether that is the future that will unfold in Rancho Cordova is the heart of the question before the city council.
I believe that if our city sets itself on a course so anyone in Rancho Cordova can live in any neighborhood of Rancho Cordova, then we will know we have met our community's vision of growing as "one community".
This debate is not simply about how our new growth neighborhoods unfold in a distant future, however.
If our council were to make a decision to "pack" established Rancho Cordova with the City's affordable housing supply, the resulting imbalance will create a sense of "haves and have nots" in our city borders that will discourage our children and hurt property values for today's homeowners.
My heart recoils at that prospect.
It's plain to me that how we on the city council answer that question of ensuring that new growth neighborhoods include real, credible, affordable housing options will determine whether, in the years and decades ahead, our city grows as one community rather than two.
Moreover, I dread that we might fail to push for a citywide affordability strategy, because today Rancho Cordova enjoys a remarkable reputation statewide as a community that is not merely diverse, but that has managed to grow its diversity equally in every one of its neighborhoods.
That fact was recognized in the landmark "Who's Your Neighbor" study of the Public Policy Institute of California that was published in the fall of our cityhood election.
This fact that Rancho Cordova is renowned as a diverse community with equally diverse neighborhoods is not just a matter of note for the state's top academics, however.
It's a remarkable asset for our kids, and they see it clearly.
Last fall, I had the privilege while serving as mayor to address teens at the Cordova High School Interact Club, an affiliate of Rotary International. In that conversation, they said they felt one of the great advantages they enjoy living in Rancho Cordova is that the diversity they encounter every day prepares them for life success in today's world.
This month our city moved its home to a spacious new city hall. For Rancho Cordova's future, and for the success and well-being of our kids who know what their community offers their life, the most vital question my colleagues and I will settle in the next few weeks is not how big our new city hall is, but how big our hearts are.
Ken Cooley is a member of the Rancho Cordova City Council.