Here in Southern California, we are faced with the daunting reality that things are about to get a lot more crowded. Based on the latest demographic projections available, in the next 25-year planning period, the SCAG region (which includes LA County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Ventura County, and Imperial County) will, through natural growth patterns unrelated to immigration, add the equivalent population of the states of Oregon and Washington, combined. That’s around 11 million more people in the greater Southern California region.
Against that backdrop, California is in the midst of a true housing crisis. A report published by McKinsey Global Institute illustrated the depths of the housing crunch here in the Golden State, where real estate prices are rising 3x faster than household income, where 50% of the State’s population cannot afford housing, where California needs to build 3.5 million more homes by 2025 to truly stabilize the housing situation.
And here in Monrovia, residents are impacted by these broader housing trends facing the State. In Monrovia the average rent for an apartment these days is around $3/square foot. That means that a 1,000 square foot apartment will cost you $3,000 per month in rent. “That’s just not okay,” says Monrovia City Manager Oliver Chi.
While there are many different proposed solutions to the housing issues Monrovia is faced with today, there is only one for which there is near universal agreement; that if we are to stabilize housing costs in California, we need a massive increase in the supply of available housing.
Monrovia has been planning for this increase in housing during the past 20+ years. Initial ideas were developed through a 2004 Urban Land Institute Study commissioned by the City. Those concepts were then codified in a 2008 General Plan Update that created areas of focused housing density in the edges surrounding Old Town, at Station Square, and on the west end of Huntington Drive. Finally, in 2014, the City adopted the Station Square Transit Village Planned Development Area to allow for greater housing densities around the Gold Line Station. And now, during the next several months, all of those plans will be coming to life as Monrovia is set to consider several large residential development projects that reflect the community’s long term plans and vision for the City. All told, there are currently around 2,200 housing units/rooms in the development pipeline, which constitutes a 15% increase in the city’s total housing supply.