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Thread: Public sector professionals & housing affordability

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    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Public sector professionals & housing affordability

    An interesting article about the direct intersection of the pay scale of public service planners and housing affordability:

    Town Planner Wins Affordable Home Lottery

    Discuss
    Last edited by SGB; 12 Apr 2004 at 4:03 PM.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
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    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Interesting. I know I would have fell into the category they were "seeking."
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    When house shopping 4 years ago, we naively made the mistake of thinking "Gee, Franklin is kinda nice - lets see how much houses run."

  4. #4
    Cyburbian GeogPlanner's avatar
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    sounds like a cruel game show...show a commitment to the public and on your measly salary, you *may* win a new house (or rather a chance to buy one). affordable housing problem? try CRISIS!
    Information necessitating a change of design will be conveyed to the designer after and only after the design is complete. (Often called the 'Now They Tell Us' Law) - Fyfe's First Law of Revision

    We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans. -- George W. Bush , Scranton, PA -- 09/06/2000

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Ouch. Who can afford to live there? And to have everyone know what your salary is, if you apply to buy a home?

  6. #6
    When Mrs. G and I pre-qualified for a mortgage 10 years ago ( ) we were told by the loan orginator that we qualified for up to $190,000. We were there to finance *just* $80k. There is no doubt in my mind that she was trying to get us to take on more debt than we could really afford. Talk about predatory lending.

    ZG our salaries were published on the web a few years ago. I had people coming into the office arguing that they paid my exact salary and they deserved the land use variance I was insisting they needed. It didn't help to argue that I was paying my salary too. (Everybody knows that city workers don't have to pay property taxes, right ?)
    Je suis Charlie

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    ZG our salaries were published on the web a few years ago. I had people coming into the office arguing that they paid my exact salary and they deserved the land use variance I was insisting they needed. It didn't help to argue that I was paying my salary too. (Everybody knows that city workers don't have to pay property taxes, right ?)
    That's ugly. Our salaries are public record, of course, but not thrown out for the public to see.

  8. #8
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    I am considering a program to target our affordable housing to police (at the least) and maybe toward a consortium of local employees (public and private).

    I'm not sure I can target planners or other city employees, but I am pretty sure I can target police. We allow our police to take cars home if they live within 15 minutes. Costs have gone up so fast in the past 4 years that they are starting to move 30-60 minutes north to cheaper housing.

  9. #9
    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I worked for a jurisdiction that had an inclusionary housing ordinance. But planning department staff were ineligable to participate in the program due to the potential for a conflict of interest.
    Annoyingly insensitive

  10. #10
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by GeogPlanner
    sounds like a cruel game show...show a commitment to the public and on your measly salary, you *may* win a new house (or rather a chance to buy one).
    That's the big thing that kept me from considering jobs in Colorado's ski country. The salaries weren't more than what you would see outside of ki country, the average priices of even small townhouses near Vail, Aspen, Breckenridge and similar communities was frightening, and there simply was no affordable housing within commuting distance -- often considered an hour to an hour and a half of driving over scary mountain passes. The numbers don't work with $45,000 to $50,000 salaries and $500,000 for condos larger than a walk-in closet.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    My being able to buy a home or broom closet sized condo in NoVa is a joke. Its find a good husband or rent the rest of my life. You see ads in the paper here for folks looking to marry so they can buy a house.

    Sad, average run of the mill planner makes 50 but houses go for 350,000 on the cheap end (read needs new everything and bars on the windows).
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

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    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Zoning Goddess
    That's ugly. Our salaries are public record, of course, but not thrown out for the public to see.
    It's the law in Iowa that they be published in the newspaper. Fun times.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    In my fair city they too are published in the legal notices in the newspaper.
    They are in slighthly obscure way - in about 6 pt. type, alphabetically.
    Glad it is not done by department listings.
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    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    There was an article In The Baltimore Sun recently about public sector employees such as police and firemen not being able to afford to buy homes in the same jurisdiction as their jobsite. For example, median housing prices are approaching $400K in Anne Arundel County (south of Baltimore) which are forcing some of the police and firemen to move to Washington County (beginning of Western MD) or even Pennsylvania. Rather than finding comparable jobs in those locations, some of those people are now facing 90 min. to 2 hour one-way commutes on a good day, let alone rainy, snowy or accidents to keep their jobs. I'm grateful for my 10-minute commute.
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  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by the north omaha star
    There was an article In The Baltimore Sun recently about public sector employees such as police and firemen not being able to afford to buy homes in the same jurisdiction as their jobsite.
    This is a big problem in and around New York City too. As of now, sanitation workers are only allowed to live one county away from where they work. So, if you're a garbage person working anywhere in New York City, you can't really find any affordable housing because every surrounding county is so expensive! We're working on legislation that would ammend this law for the sanitationmen and extend this to two or three counties, I'm pretty sure that fireman and policeman have at least two counties. Regardless, it's a shame that those who devote their lives to "protect and serve" can rarely afford to live a reasonable distance from work.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian GeogPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Elisabeth
    This is a big problem in and around New York City too. As of now, sanitation workers are only allowed to live one county away from where they work.
    FDNY and NYPD has the same problem. I know someone who lives in Albany and commutes. I guess that they are cracking down on this in these departments b/c you have to live in the city or neighboring counties.
    Information necessitating a change of design will be conveyed to the designer after and only after the design is complete. (Often called the 'Now They Tell Us' Law) - Fyfe's First Law of Revision

    We don't believe in planners and deciders making the decisions on behalf of Americans. -- George W. Bush , Scranton, PA -- 09/06/2000

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by GeogPlanner
    FDNY and NYPD has the same problem. I know someone who lives in Albany and commutes. I guess that they are cracking down on this in these departments b/c you have to live in the city or neighboring counties.
    I knew many, many FDNY and NYPD guys when I was growing up in Somerset County, NJ -- not an adjacent county. I think they all had addresses in Jersey City but were truly domiciled elsewhere.

    Hosuing affordability is not an issue here in Metro Louky. However, local fire and police negotiated a contract that does not require residency, so they are scattered about, in their take-home cars.

    I'm not going to say how this makes me feel B-)
    Je suis Charlie

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Gedunker, I think those FDNY and NYPD guys (and gals) must be living in Pennsylvania now. A good friend of mine lives in Somerset County, NJ, and the cost of housing there has gone WAY up.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally posted by Mud Princess
    Gedunker, I think those FDNY and NYPD guys (and gals) must be living in Pennsylvania now. A good friend of mine lives in Somerset County, NJ, and the cost of housing there has gone WAY up.
    Well, I was NOT from the part of Somerset County where Jackie O used to go fox hunting, that's fer sure But even the poorer parts have gone way up. Mom and dad owned a duplex that they occupied. When Mom sold it '01 to move to NH, she got several thousand more than she asked for and she was quite ready to come down from her initial asking price (we thought it too high). So my experience would be that you are correct. But I can't imagine the commute on I-78 from Bethlehem each day, or on I-80 from Stroudsburg. Yikes!
    Je suis Charlie

  20. #20
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Become a planner in Massachusetts - win a shot at affordable housing

    I'm sensing a trend in the great state of Taxachusetts:

    Amesbury, MA planner wins housing lottery, but loses project review responsibility.
    All these years the people said he’s actin’ like a kid.
    He did not know he could not fly, so he did.
    - - Guy Clark, "The Cape"

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Come on, why can't he just commute 1.5 hours each way from Maine or Connecticut like everybody else?

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
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    My husband and I were looking at cities to consider moving to in a few years--with the requirements that they be large, cosmopolitan, and on a large body of water. After much research, we concluded that it would be cheaper to move out of the country. B-)
    So we're staying put. For now.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hurricane Alley

    You could try moving to Miami-Dade County, they're building houses where the eye of Hurricane Andrew passed over just a few years ago for under 200k Oh and its still a 1+ hour drive to your office in downtown

    I used to live in Northern Virginia 14 years ago and had a 2+ hour trip to work each way, but at least it was multi-modal:

    1. Drive to Train in Maryland
    2. Take Train to metro rail station
    3. Metro rail to Work Stop
    4. Walk to office.

    I knew people that drove or took the train from West Virginia and or Haggerstown Md!!!! 2.5+ hours each way!

  24. #24
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I pay $570 a month for rent for a 700 sqft apt with a fireplace and a balcony. For that, I live 2 miles from work, no water bill, lake access (lake in the middle of a state game land), pool, tennis courts, basket ball courts, volley ball courts, and a covered car port.

    I am content with what I have at this moment, but next fall I am going to start looking at buying a condo / loft in downtown K-ZOO because I do not think that I could afford many of the homes in a decent neighborhood in this city with my income.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    I know FL is the subject of many going to Hell threads, but it is, for the most part, still very affordable on a planner's salary.

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