Monterey County

Monterey holds affordable housing workshop

City seeks input on the lack of affordable housing

Monterey tackles affordable housing

MONTEREY, Calif. - The lack of affordable housing is a problem on the Central Coast, and this week the City of Monterey is hearing what citizens think should be done. During a discussion Wednesday night, several people voiced their concerns.

Financially, living in Monterey can be tough.

"Which has been a challenge because as we know, real estate prices keep going up and up and up," said Elizabeth Caraker, Principal Planner for the City of Monterey.

Housing demographics are much different now than they were a few decades ago.

"Whereas it was mostly owners and a few renters, now we have about 70% renters and only 30% owners," said Monterey resident Tom Rowley.

On Wednesday, the City of Monterey held a workshop to discuss affordable housing topics, including zoning for emergency shelters, separating the cost of parking from rental costs and adapting hotels into apartments. The hottest topic of the night was the city's ban on short-term vacation rentals and second units on single family properties. Some think the city missing out on an opportunity.

"We've got a homeless issue, we've got a housing issue. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they could generate some extra revenue from short term rentals?" said business owner Chris Campisi.

Campisi is in favor of short term rentals, and rents out his home in Monterey.

"That little extra bit of income that we make makes it available to me to, you know, rent an apartment in Pacific Grove, maintain our home in Monterey. It also sometimes helps out our business because I have a business and I have 6 people that work for me full time," said Campisi.

Ideas from the workshop will be presented to the city council at the next meeting this month. A local realtor says it's a step in the right direction.

"Monterey's been out in front before, we're a leader in it. There's affordable units proposed up on Van Buren Street, the hotel in downtown, affordable units. Monterey's been a leader in this all along, so I'm sure we will always be a leader but you always have to look at the good ideas and the bad ideas and reject the bad ideas," said Rowley.

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