What does affordable housing have do to with it?

At a meeting that took place in March of 2017 at the Lagunitas School, the small group of concerned residents in Woodacre that want to build a sewer plant in the San Geronimo Valley worked hand in glove with their friends at Questa Engineering to present their plan for a sewer plant. During the presentation a slide was shared that suggested there would be an opportunity to develop more affordable housing in the Valley if the community went along for the ride and allowed the addition of a sewer plant in the Valley.

This is commonly referred to as a sweetener. Politicians use this all the time to pass legislation that is short on votes. It’s simple: I give you what you want in return for your vote to pass a piece of legislation. It happened most recently in the US House of Representatives during the failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. What’s interesting about what’s happening here in the Valley is that over the past 10 years or so that residents have been talking about solutions to the failing septic systems in Woodacre, affordable housing was never part of the deal. Yes, adding a sewer system into Woodacre might allow illegal second units to be legalized but septic solutions have always been the goal. Until now.

The members of a small group of residents in Woodacre who want to build a sewer plant in the Valley were quick to talk about the possibility of finding empty lots and developing them for affordable housing. They didn’t talk about establishing additional second units on existing developed parcels. No, this was a sugar coated sweetener for audience members who have dedicated years to affordable housing issues in the Valley. When asked how a sewer plant proposal could include a component that purchases and develops property for affordable housing or what it might cost or how it would all work, there were no answers. Just some bait that was placed on a hook and dangled in front of people who were there to learn about a sewer plant but care deeply about affordable housing.