Letter to the editor: Let’s stop the ‘housing Armageddon’ and build three-to-five-story structures in Santa Cruz County

Have something to say? Lookout welcomes letters to the editor, within our policies, from readers. Guidelines here.

To the editor:

Are you an urban professional, your parents also urban professionals? Do you prefer luxury high-rises with spas and private entrances to bougie restaurants, the kind that sell a $40 burger and fries cost extra?

Think economies are governed by a simple supply and demand model? I have a movement for you, it’s called YIMBYism. Sure, the tenants rights organizations will tell you YIMBYs are worse than NIMBYs, but between you and me, both groups have lost the plot.

Generational growth is necessary or at minimum inevitable. We are in the midst of a housing Armageddon in Santa Cruz County. We haven’t been serious about building for 30 years because folks wanted the world to stand still, and now the state is forcing growth at all costs on us, infrastructure and environmental realities be damned.

And frankly, we deserve it. But just because the pendulum has swung from extreme to extreme doesn’t mean there isn’t a reasonable fix right at our fingertips. We need to house our nurses (heck, even our doctors), our teachers, seniors, essential workers, police officers and first responders. We need a resilient economy and to be a county families raise their children in.

The answer is affordable housing, build three-to-five-story structures fast, without opposition. Invite our friends back into our neighborhoods. Our streets are empty. Our schools are failing. I don’t need to tell y’all a place without kids has no future, and soon enough, no one left to remember its history.

That’s why we started Capitola YIMBY. A community dedicated to traditional development, collaborative citizen planning and community urban design stewardship.

Human-scaled spaces, walkable distances, a fine-grained mix of uses, no single architectural design or aesthetic, welcoming safe streets, prioritizing community and wealth creation instead of the automobile. This natural process doesn’t demand rapid growth and never grows stagnant, rather continues slowly over time, within our current means, without passing unsupportable debt on to the future.

There is a middle way. If this sounds like a plan to you, join us, be part of the solution.

John Mulry