'Family Friendly' OUT,
Say Hello Instead to"Family Flexible" Housing
Developers Eviscerate New Guidelines
Empty Euphemism Replaces Real Policy
It's a critical distinction; the "family flexible" Market Place project in fact removes the most salient and essential protections of the Family Friendly Guidelines; the single master bedroom requirement, and separation of sleeping areas from living areas, rendering the Market Place proposal as essentially not different from any other Emeryville residential project built over the years that has failed to attract families.
The developers for their part insist their "family flexibility", that being the regular two and three bedroom apartments in the project's mix without any restrictions, is sufficient enough to do the job.
City Center Realty's
point man for the
Market Place development.
"Family flexible" units are good.
It's got the word 'family' and 'flexible'
...that's good, right?...as opposed to rigid.
Compared with all our neighboring cities, Emeryville is a city without families. This is known by census information. Formerly ignored by City Hall, appreciating Emeryville's lack of family friendly housing reached a nadir after passage of 2010's Measure J, the $95 million public school bond and its built in existential need to increase student enrollment at the new school. Soon after, City Hall's come-to-Jesus moment came as a result of the civic embarrassment accompanying a paper released by the University of California's Goldman School of Public Policy. The Goldman study found a primary reason for Emeryville's remarkable childless population was the family inappropriate housing stock; virtually all the new housing built is for singles or couples. Families have been left out of the mix. So even though the rhetoric at City Hall has been pro-family, the housing policy has not been supportive of that cause and the housing as built has stubbornly remained anti-family.
The Goldman report noted when developers had been convinced to provide some two and three bedroom units in their projects, instead of attracting families, they were generally rented out by college students.
$18,000 Family Housing Study
Last November's election brought a new pro-family City Council majority and earlier this year, the Council commissioned a six month policy study to ameliorate this lack of family housing. The council spent $18,000 on consultants and lots of paid staff time on the study and the resultant policy is now official, encoded as the Family Friendly Design Guidelines.
|Meet Emeryville's newest neighbors!|
Build "family flexible" units and they will come.
Tuesday night the developers of the Market Place project will attempt to convince the new Council majority all their work and money invested in attempting to attract families to Emeryville has been wasted and public policy is best left up to developers who know what's best. The developers of the Market Place, who did not return calls from the Tattler, will try to tell the Council their "family flexible" idea is great for attracting families. Perhaps the developers won't reveal that it just so happens they can maximize profits with the "family flexible" idea over the more regulatory and onerous Family Friendly Guidelines.
Will the new progressive majority of the Emeryville City Council hold? Before the sun rises Wednesday morning in Emeryville, we'll know if the first stand of the new Family Friendly Design Guidelines was also its last stand.