Posted on April 14, 2022 by Sonoma Valley Sun
The City of Sonoma’s projected budget surplus of $1.9 million is a reflection of our vibrant economy, which relies heavily on tourism. However, the lack of affordable housing for local workers is a crisis. We won’t have great restaurants and wineries if workers don’t have housing.
The only option local workers have is to commute from increasingly remote homes they can afford. Car travel releases CO2 into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. City council passed a climate emergency resolution and I think that should be at the forefront of their decisions. Therefore, the provision of affordable housing should be required. I urge City Council to follow the recommendation of the Planning Commission to require a residential component in all developments.
We should demand that these new housing units be affordable and not “at market price”. Workers in local businesses and tourism businesses cannot afford housing “at market price”. The houses on both sides of my house are second homes, reducing the housing stock available for local workers, teachers and public security officers. Approving more “market price” housing will only attract more second home owners and vacation rentals. If we continue with this status quo, where will the workers of local businesses that attract visitors live?
Given the perilous state of our planet’s climate, Sonoma should not allow development that encourages more visitors and assumes that workers will continue to travel long distances.
—Matt Metzler, Sonoma