25 December 2016

Yes on YIMBY 2017 >>> Re/Generating The New Urban Downtown Mesa

Dec 25, 2016 @ 03:52 AM 196 views
Yimby Nation: The Rise of America's Pro-Housing Political Coalition
Ahh - another calendar year is soon to close the books yet there are so many stories, unfinished or in-the-works, to be told in one way or another. . . the journalistic beat goes on.
Someone who writes and publishes news/opinion/information may never know what happens "behind-the-scenes", except when someone covers their information with a frequent phrase "You didn't hear this from me", but we do see public actions staged, contrived or spontaneous that are testaments to people getting activated and engaged in social intercourse.
Hold on! Did your MesaZona blogger just write that last word? Not in the carnal sense of the word, but in the civics sense of the word: the theoretical and practical aspects of citizenship, its rights and duties; the duties of citizens to each other as members of a political body and to the government. . . Case in point = Attainable and affordable housing

A divisive public drama played out last week at a meeting of the Mesa City Council where Mayor John Giles, a personal injury/accident law attorney in private practice, has taken a big interest in downtown real estate since holding public elected office.
He one-sided with the "cons" against a motion to approve an expansion of housing options, getting out-voted by every other single councilmember present [District 4 Councilmember Chris Glover was absent].
Both sides of public comments were presented way beyond the usual limit of three "blue card comments" usually permitted, with one member of the public not in favor saying she "got a call" to show up just one hour ahead of the regular meeting.
Two "pro" comments were made with a follow-up presentation by Charles Huellmantel, a principal in Mesa Housing Associates accompanied by Todd Marshall, developer/partners who built in 2014 the first new affordable and attainable  housing in downtown Mesa in 30 years - the design award winning Encore On First.  Everyone agreed it is a success.
The mayor was the only vote against further development by the group that took the risk to build affordable and attainable downtown on vacant city-owned land, citing something he called 'lack of due process' although the plans were on public agendas for months.
One might ask What's next?
It seems more than obvious that while there is a diversity of thinking about housing here in Mesa, there is action to move in the direction of increased density with form-based and inclusionary zoning that is fair and equitable for a broad spectrum of interests that are attainable if we work together.
If there is a logic of ideas in the interplay of politics -  maybe there is and maybe there isn't - it is the ongoing dynamics of everyone involved from developers and public/private partnerships who would benefit to social justice advocates who see housing restrictions as a leading cause of inequality.
Occupying and balancing  the ideological space in between are architects, journalists, environmentalists, planners, public transit officials, and general fans of urban density.
Some major players straddle that space, exerting interest behind-the-scenes.
The question is: just how effectively can the movement evolve from Tweets and happy hours to real political influence?
These examples make a clear statement that Yimbyism, while in its infancy, is not going away.
The ideological diversity between coalition members has led to differing opinions about how housing can get built, and how it will become affordable. Some want a fully market-oriented process, while others want to expand the supply alongside tenant protections and affordability set-asides.
But if there's one unifying conviction of the Yimby movement, it is recognizing the need for more housing.
Source: Forbes

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