Accessory Dwelling Units (Photo - radcliffe dacanay, flickr).

      Extra room above the garage (Photo – radcliffe dacanay, flickr).

      If you have lived or worked in the City of Pasadena for very long, you likely know all too well that rents keep going up, up, up, while many incomes stay level or show incremental increases.

      By Tera Landers

      Many of us have our own ideas about what would fix this housing crisis, and we can read expert article after expert article, citing studies and experiments in other cities that have addressed the crucial issue of housing.

      This week, our Pasadena City Council had an opportunity to make a real, almost immediate difference in the availability of affordable housing – and they failed.

      The Council
      offered the same
      tired arguments…

      Our City Council chose not to approve new regulations that would have made it much easier for people to build Accessory Dwelling Units, or granny flats, on their properties, instead sending it back to the Planning Commission for more study.

      Our city seems to see plenty of opportunity for luxury, high-end rental units to go up all over the city. However, we also need to find ways to offer much more affordable housing, and Accessory Dwelling Units are one way to do it that benefits multiple people: those who need reasonably-priced housing, the property owners who gain income from rents, and the City which can rake in extra revenue from the building permit fees.

      The Council offered the same tired arguments against this. We heard moans about parking, about narrow streets, about maintaining the architectural character of Pasadena. But where is the real concern about lower and middle-income Pasadenans? Aren’t they an integral part of our city, too?

      Where is the
      real concern
      about lower
      and middle-income

      I’m a local pastor, and just this June my congregation has said good-bye to three creative, smart, passionate people who couldn’t afford to stay here any longer because of the high price of housing.  Our lack of vision or initiative about addressing our housing crisis is literally driving people out of Pasadena. Is that really what we want?

      My own home is in Highland Park, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. My home was built in 1876, and it is a contributing structure to our Historic Overlay Preservation Zone. Last year, we decided to build a 700 square foot, one bedroom home on the property. We jumped through multiple design hoops, paid exorbitant building permit fees, and one year later we have an extra house, which upon first sight you might think was original to the site. When our children move away, we will be able to contribute to the affordable housing stock in our neighborhood.

      The time is now. Our city can and should act to ease the hurtful pinch of our housing crisis.

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      1. Elle says:

        Granny units are a sure way to ruin the city. Have you been through Temple City? If you need affordable housing move somewhere more affordable to your income bracket. I can’t afford it. Wish I could. But I don’t expect the city to lower their standards because of my circumstances. Not everybody gets a trophy.

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