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The Lockean Project

Lesson from the past

“Lesson from the past,” Carmel Pine Cone – April 21, 2023

Many decades ago, Cook County in Illinois (where I have a second home) was faced with a similar challenge now faced by the State of California: a massive shortage of affordable housing. Its solution to that problem was the creation of Soviet-style housing blocks that ultimately became breeding grounds for violent gangs and crime — and which also happened to be incredibly ugly and ruined otherwise beautiful neighborhoods.

Unhappily, the California Legislature has now come up with new statutes that mandate the creation of multiple housing solutions that threaten to create the same failed solutions that made a disaster in what had been traditional neighborhoods in Chicago. Incredibly, Monterey County’s AMBAG (which has a representative member on its board from Carmel) has issued a mandate for 349 new housing units in Carmel-by-the-Sea. And without any substantive discussion with Carmel’s residents, AMBAG failed to assert a timely appeal to that mandate.

If you believe that Carmel has no space or rational capacity for 349 new housing units, or that the destruction of Carmel’s parking lots, zoning restrictions, parks, and the addition of third stories throughout Carmel’s commercial district, or that we ought to add hundreds of shanty units throughout Carmel’s residential district (which would necessarily require the removal of hundreds of trees and the degradation of our city’s charm and ambiance), then you should contact the city and tell them to go ahead with their so-called “easy” housing solutions, and move to create proposed units that cannot be built in any case because we haven’t the water to build them. But if you disagree, then please, contact the members of the city council and tell them that you want to keep Camel as it is.

Gerard Rose, Carmel