My column last week on the sad state of the city’s architecture and its increasingly boring designs, along with the densification of people, hit a nerve. I’ve had great feedback from readers who are just as frustrated, angry, and pessimistic about the future of our city as I am.
The lack of local control is a problem, and it is certainly a component of density and poor design. When lawmakers expanded the rules for development nationwide, it was in response to a perceived demand for housing. At a national level, that may be true, but I see many signs around town that say “For Rent”. I’ve heard that even San Francisco, with its history of 99% occupancy, is seeing a surge in vacancy.
All of this comes against the backdrop of a great exodus from California and into states like Texas, Idaho, N. Carolina, and the Midwest. Our high taxes, high levels of regulation and traffic make many of us rethink whether it is worth living here. This outflow of residents can be a sign that rental prices are stabilizing and / or falling.
I know a landlord who two years ago was getting $ 4,300 a month for his 1 bedroom / 1 bathroom with outdoor deck and secure parking lot, which brought the rent down to $ 3,600 and had a hard time finding a tenant. It is the “invisible hand” of the market that works to bring things back into balance.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that will help us with the development at the moment. The hand of the market is pushing to develop more and faster with the intent that developers can maximize their profits on sales. I don’t like it, but I understand.
As a small business owner myself, I maximize my efforts to make a profit. I have customers who pay me every hour and I regularly increase my fees based on market events, my own expertise and availability. We all do, even if you’re an employee you should be asking for a raise every year, and when you have to change jobs and get the salary negotiation thing done, it really is nothing but your time and skills in the open market.
The difference, in my opinion, is that once a building is built, it is likely to stay in place for a very long time unless a disaster has occurred. Once a five-story apartment giant was built on Pico instead of the bowling alley, it will probably never be demolished and converted into a one-story building with seven residential units and a parking lot.
Development is pretty much a one-way street and always towards higher better usage. That is why it is important to find ways to slow the growth down. Have time to think about the effects, to prepare an environmental impact report. I assume that at some point we will have to do a construction oratorio to tackle the infrastructure problems. Cities like Glenwood Springs Co are considering a moratorium to address their development problems, and a little problem like where does the water come from to support this new development?
I am quite shocked that there is no longer any discussion of water requirements in our state. We’re largely a desert and we’ve had our supplies for years from the Pacific Northwest and the Colorado River. Our ability to draw water from these resources dwindles unless we do something to address the problem.
It is understandable to slow down a development. The problem is bigger, however, and much further upstream. We have to deal with the fact that the population continues to grow. That we still have a global emigration problem. That we have infrastructure requirements that are not addressed.
I am delighted with the letters I received last week about my opinion on evolution and primary colors, and if you are also concerned about these issues and the state of the city and its future, please write to letter @ smdp .com so that the paper can share your thoughts. If enough people stand up, things can change. It’s the only way it ever happened
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and custody attorney specializing in father and men’s rights with the Santa Monica law firm Pisarra & Grist. He looks forward to your questions and comments. He can be reached at [email protected] or 310 / 664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra