Mariposa County Housing

I’ve been working to increase housing availability and affordability since I was sworn into office in 2015. Those conversations began with acknowledging that we need to update our zoning and subdivision ordinances, two areas identified in the County’s General Plan adopted in 2006. Since there were about a hundred objectives identified in the General Plan, the County contracted with a consultant in 2017 to lay out a General Plan Strategic Implementation Workplan so we could increase the rate of implementation. Key among the tasks identified in that Plan was to update those specific ordinances, now referred to as the ‘Development Code.’ We expect the proposed updates will be available for public review in June 2022.

In 2018, we started conversations about the various types of housing being discussed in Sacramento and other jurisdictions, including Accessory Dwelling Units and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units, Tiny Homes, Park Homes, etc. And, about that same time, we started conversations with Self-Help Enterprises, initially about water and sewer infrastructure improvements for qualifying communities and later about a public/non-profit partnership that’s resulted in construction of the Creekside Terrace apartments, pictured at the top of the page as they were nearing completion.

Creekside Terrace, broke ground on May 25th 2021 (that is me in the middle) and is the first muli-family affordable unit developed in Mariposa County in 24 years and is scheduled to open on July 5th. Creekside Terrace includes 42 units – not enough to address the housing shortage, but a great project that we hope to replicate in other locations to increase housing availability in the next few years.

The County is also partnering with Mariposa Public Utility District to extend their water and sewer services out toward the airport. MPUD contracted with Provost and Pritchard to develop the report (Municipal Service Review) necessary to move that effort forward. Ensuring that infrastructure is available should lead to more opportunities for housing construction at more reasonable costs.

In January 2022, the Board discussed trends in housing costs and availability in Mariposa as well as the impact of increasing numbers of vacation rentals on housing availability. Other jurisdictions have developed approaches that fit their circumstances; Mariposa needs to do the same so and our businesses have workers, and those workers have homes in our area. We need a balance between places for visitors to stay and places for those who change their sheets and wait on tables in our restaurants to live.

The Board also discussed potential funding sources such as creation of a housing trust fund. And, just a couple of weeks ago, the Planning Department provided an update on the Integrated Mobility and Housing Study. The County contracted with a consultant that’s been working with Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Conservancy and the County to identify sites that can be developed for housing. Five such sites have been identified for early consideration. These partner agencies and the property owners will discuss development strategies during the next few weeks. The results of those conversations will be made public in June.