Walnut Creek City Council To See Proposal For Low-Income Micro-Houses

July 20, 2021 8:00 am · 57 comments

By Tony Hicks – The Walnut Creek City Council tonight will hear from the city’s homeless task force and the founder of a housing nonprofit about bringing a small “village” of micro-houses to Grace Presbyterian Church, just outside Rossmoor.

The council won’t take any action, but provide input and direction to staff on possible next steps in the process.

A city staff report says “The Bay Area continues to be faced with a housing supply and affordability crisis that has been decades in the making. Over time, the production of housing in the region has not been sufficient to accommodate its growing population and employment.”

The report also cites declining state and federal resources for affordable housing as another major factor in the ongoing housing crisis, which the pandemic has only made worse.

“As a result, the Bay Area has one of the most severe housing shortages of any of the nation’s large metro areas,” it says.

Many cities are turning toward micro-housing, including Oakland, Berkeley, Hayward, and Livermore. Typically, such developments are pre-fabricated and feature communal restrooms and kitchen areas, with all buildings held to state building and fire standards. Residents are usually screened by partner organizations working to help low-income and homeless people.

Walnut Creek is working with HomeAid of Northern California, Firm Foundation Community (FFCH), and Hope Solutions (formerly Contra Costa Interfaith Housing).

The Walnut Creek concept would feature dwellings ranging from 174 to 225 square feet of living space, on property owned by faith-based establishments – usually in parking lots. The homes would be installed over six to eight weeks, assembled onsite with 10-15-year-leases.

“Each unit would be affixed to a foundation and would provide permanent service-enriched housing for unsheltered individuals and small families (one to two people per unit),” the report says. Monthly rents would not exceed rents that are affordable to households earning up to 50 percent of area median income.

The city’s zoning laws don’t currently cover such housing and would need changing (there are designations for emergency low income and transitional housing), but micro-housing isn’t considered short term).

The city would likely either create a new land designation or come up with a new kind of special use permit.

The staff report says, if everything proceeds as planned, the project could officially apply for a development application this fall.

Ricardoh July 20, 2021 at 8:19 AM

This should not be approved by anyone other than property owners in that area. There is a plan by the Biden clan to break up suburban single family neighborhoods. Federal funds depend on cooperation.

Randy July 20, 2021 at 11:44 AM


Masked Singer July 20, 2021 at 12:53 PM

What plan is that exactly? Share the deets and link.
Asking for a friend.🤩

Ricardoh July 21, 2021 at 3:55 PM
Cellophane July 20, 2021 at 8:25 AM

Great place to put up a homeless village. (sarc)

The thousands of vulnerable elderly living within a short walking distance will be easy prey for the evil people who live among the homeless population.

I hope the City Council reconsidered the location.

American Citizen July 20, 2021 at 10:05 AM

THIS!!!! No truer words were ever spoken.

Ricardoh July 20, 2021 at 10:53 AM

“I hope the City Council reconsidered the location.”
I don’t see any appropriate location in Walnut Creek.

anon July 21, 2021 at 1:02 PM

The extremely privileged elderly who live in Rossmoor do have private security, walls, and a gate. The greatest generation rarely suffer from the disastrous policies they’ve enacted for their children and their children.

It is the rest of Walnut Creek, less wealthy and without gates and guards, who will be the primary victims of this policy.

SamE July 20, 2021 at 8:32 AM

I am going to trademark ‘Nanohouses.’

Dr. Jellyfinger July 20, 2021 at 8:44 AM

Look down there, wayyyy down there…. I think I see your property values!

WC July 20, 2021 at 8:55 AM

Conveniently located close to Rossmoor so they can pray on old people. The City Council should put a stop to it. Walnut Creek has been invaded enough and this will only attract more homeless.

sam malone July 20, 2021 at 9:00 AM

Enough already. Let’s just make all of Contra Costa County just like Oakland, Antioch and Bay Point.

Government has made decent law abiding citizens want to leave the state in droves as we are so sick and tired of supporting issues that need to be addressed and not just have more money thrown at them.

These areas will become the new slums going forward. Homeless will destroy whatever you give them for free and the illegals will come to our country in faster droves than they are already.

So guess the liberals and entitlement crowd will fake these folks also to get votes to keep them in office.

Bitter you betcha. Decent people are not going to sit back as the folks who are voted in legally or not just do what they want anyway. Promise one thing to get elected and then do a complete 360.

I am sick and tired of being sucked dry for the lazy crowd who can work but doesn’t want to because they are sucking off the rest of us.

Concord74 July 20, 2021 at 9:07 AM

What a waste!!
Take some of the funds from the “Sanctuary City” funds and use it for this. Is that not what “Sanctuary City” funds are for?? Or is our property taxes going to be tapped and/or a new tax bond will be put on the ballot?

kilo July 20, 2021 at 9:13 AM

Good grief…

Jeff (the other one) July 20, 2021 at 9:29 AM

Sounds like the tenements in NYC, or the transient hotels in downtown Chicago. If housing for low-income and homeless in LA was a reported $2600/tent, and $60,000/tent in San Francisco (of course, they also included feeding them in that amount, which I am sure will be the next proposal should the WC Council get its way), what kind of costs will there be for this?

Bdpirate July 20, 2021 at 9:38 AM

Oh for God sake will Walnut Creek get their heads out of their arsses and knock this nonsense off for the city!
Micro houses? WTH are they thinking..

Aunt Barbara July 20, 2021 at 11:39 AM

Just pull up your bed and watch TV in Civic Park like that one guy does.THEY EVEN HAVE MOVIE NIGHTS. It’s safe, right across the street from City Hall, where city Council can keep an eye on them and feed them What a joke.. Seriously, ship them all to Oakland, it’s such a disaster anyway. Next stop Pacific Heights in the City.

John July 20, 2021 at 9:49 AM

I love this idea. They should do this in every liberal city. Keep voting for soft on crime/drug laws, you should have to bear the consequences of those votes.

SamE July 20, 2021 at 10:01 AM

The current state is the voters getting what they wanted.

WC---Creeker July 20, 2021 at 9:51 AM

Always suspicious of these ‘non-profit’ agencies. They should open the books and let us see the money flow. Once these things are built the city will be on the hook for all types of expenses, You’ll probably see a proposition in a few years for some bond to support them. Why can’t some non-profit work to get people jobs and get them on to an independent life. Free housing and free food will keep people around forever.

WC July 20, 2021 at 10:00 AM

I think you misspelled ‘money-laundering’ agencies.

JG27AD July 20, 2021 at 10:32 AM

“If you build it, they will come.”


The Big Cheese July 20, 2021 at 4:13 PM

exactly, if you were a malcontent looking at spending winter in the northeast, you would be hotfooting it to California. Free food, free needle exchanges,free rent.

Chris July 20, 2021 at 10:39 AM

Great idea…Walnut Creek should also build at least 500 low income apartments near the downtown/Bart station. Adding diversity to our Lilly-White suburbs shows just how WOKE we can be when we work together to fight homelessness. Next city…Layfayette…Orinda and Moraga to complete the circle of love 💘.

WC---Creeker July 20, 2021 at 11:30 AM

‘Lily White’ maybe in the 80s, my neighborhood in WC has a global feel. It’s awesome.

Tired Californian July 20, 2021 at 6:01 PM

Something tells me you’re a liberal who lives in Concord.

The Fearless Spectator July 20, 2021 at 7:52 PM

Since Walnut Creek is the freeway hub, it makes sense to attack and turn it into a snotmold first. The people who work, contribute to society, and spend money downtown will leave first. Then it will be easier to trash the surrounding cities.

anon July 21, 2021 at 1:08 PM

Walnut Creek won’t be “diverse” enough until Walnut Creek has the same demographics as Oakland, and a murder rate to match.

Spark Baldman July 20, 2021 at 10:45 AM

Need a new council.

Aunt Barbara July 20, 2021 at 11:43 AM

Need to bombard their City Council meetings every week like Taun Hall did, I’ll bring doughnuts.

Randy July 20, 2021 at 11:48 AM

… won’t happen with a “Mayor Pro-Tem” structure like WC has… they support each other as “mayorship” rotates

Aunt Barbara July 20, 2021 at 12:50 PM

They are about to be rotated out the door. Residents are sick of this senile stupidity. All they care about is the $$$$, not people who live in here.

Anon July 20, 2021 at 11:31 AM

Walnut Creek = The Antioch of the Diablo Valley.

Chuq July 20, 2021 at 11:39 AM

The advantage of the Tiny House phenomenon is that people can actually afford to buy them outright and not spend 30 years in debt to a mortgage company. When a housing crash happens these folks aren’t forced out of their homes by the irresponsible banks that gave them loans they weren’t qualified for.

Not everyone needs a three bedroom home with a two car garage. Tiny houses aren’t right for me but for some people they are a smart move.

Bdpirate July 20, 2021 at 11:48 AM

I’m about to upChuq over the above comment..
Well those same people can go buy a small cheap as hell house in Antioch or Stockton, stay the hell out of WC.

Chuq July 20, 2021 at 5:35 PM

NIMBYs are so weird.

You can buy a colossal house in Antioch if you really want to (they have some very large ones there). Tiny houses aren’t a blight on your precious Walnut Creek.

Bdpirate July 20, 2021 at 7:05 PM

Nimbys are not weird just looking out for their home areas, and damn right I am one as are millions of people who live in nice areas and nice homes who don’t want crap coming into town to make it more of a melting pot of diversity crap.
Get over it dude..

anon July 21, 2021 at 1:06 PM

Literally any sensible person in a Nimby. No sensible Walnut Creek resident wants this.

Let me axe you a question: may I open a methodone clinic, a brothel, and a sewage treatment plant, each one directly opposite your home? No? What are you, a Nimby?

tashaj July 20, 2021 at 11:49 AM

Let’s forget all the wailing about housing crisis and look at the numbers.

Are these “microhouses” cheap to build and maintain?
The answer is – no, not really. In CA a standard “microhouse” with kitchen and plumbing costs upwards of $100K to build. On a per sf basis, it’s more expensive than multi-unit affordable housing.
These sheds will be cheaper because kitchen and bathroom utilities will be shared. However, anyone who ever visited a public restroom can guess that maintenance of these shared facilities will quickly eat up any savings – and then continue to skyrocket.

Are these “microhouses” cheap to rent?
The answer is again – no, they are not. “Monthly rents would not exceed rents that are affordable to households earning up to 50 percent of area median income”. The definition of affordable housing is no more than 30% of gross income. 50% of median income in Bay Area is about $45K/year per person. 30% of median income is $30K/year per person.
Meaning that these 200 sf hovels with communal facilities can charge up to $800/month – and as high as $1250/month! When an average rent of a 1 bdr 700 sf apartment in Walnut Creek is $1800-$1900/month, your own kitchen and bathroom included gratis.

So why are City Councils so keen on building this crap?
My guess is 1) many churches need funds because of declining membership. They view “microhouses” in their parking lots as a cash cow.
And 2) builders, likely affiliated with the same bleeding-heart “non-profits” get a handsome profit out of this. Courtesy of the taxpayers.

My crystal ball tells me that WC City Council will approve it. The project will be built and opened to a grand fanfare, many TV cameras, and a swarm of publicity-hungry politicians and non-profit bosses.
And in a few years it will become a festering cloaca, which, after multiple and expensive attempts to clean it up, will eventually be demolished. And the taxpayers will foot the bill yet again.

Yoyohop July 20, 2021 at 6:11 PM

Great analysis. Sounds about right to me.

Old Timer July 20, 2021 at 12:05 PM

Until the middle white class starts acting like the rest of the world kicking ass rioting and voting out the Governor this will continue.

Badge1104 July 20, 2021 at 12:13 PM

This is another step in the wrong direction that Walnut Creek has been taking. Go any further down this road Walnut Creek and you will be ruined forever.

If someone mentioned above, this is the Biden administration’s tactic to break up suburbia. They said they wanted to do it and they are doing it. Every nice area, which they considered privileged, will have troublesome housing foisted upon it. They’re trying to change the very fabric of America.

Aunt Barbara July 20, 2021 at 12:14 PM

p,s don’t tell Popcorn about the new neighbors.
Wait until they all bombard Rossmoor Safeway.

theunforgiven July 20, 2021 at 12:15 PM

They want us living like sardines jampacked in a can so they could make more money on less land. Say good bye to suburban neighborhoods and the American dream!

Obamavirus July 20, 2021 at 12:20 PM

LOL another day and another Marxist housing plan for WC
There is plenty of room for new micro housing in Oakland and Berkeley and these communities are already accustomed to large homeless populations
There is also a strong black culture in Oakland and it is likely that any people that move over to WC through these Marxist nonprofit plans would find themselves unhappy and missing out on friends and family activities
Unhappy people are likely to become troubled and disruptive for the community and cause additional problems for police force
I would watch closely for new plans for Northgate neighborhood
I sense that this area will be targeted for new Marxist development soon

BORbeliever July 20, 2021 at 12:31 PM

@Obamavirus, I agree with you. Northgate is next. There are several churches there that would probably love to get in on this.

Gittyup July 20, 2021 at 2:39 PM

It’s too late. People are already BBQing at Heather Farms on weekends.

Clam Bake July 20, 2021 at 1:32 PM

It would seem an unincorporated area of Walnut Creek would be a preferable location for this project. They do not have as strict of building codes – and are monitored by Sheriff’s Departments (as opposed to Walnut Creek Police). It also goes along with a rural feeling to the area – and they have incredibly wealthy religious organizations already located there (who have a Mission to feed amd house those who are disadvantaged).

Sandy G July 20, 2021 at 2:12 PM

In my perfect world of rainbows and unicorns that I insist on living in, I hope it will be populated with people who will actually appreciate what they’re being given, and will be good neighbors. I know this is highly doubtful, but I choose to keep a good thought. Homelessness is not a one fix fixes all situation. It is so multifaceted. It needs to be addressed on a case by case situation, which is insurmountable.

Anonymous July 20, 2021 at 3:13 PM

I cannot believe the members of Grace Presbyterian Church would go for this. It is PC(USA), so who knows?

Fed up July 20, 2021 at 5:13 PM

Previous post: Gov Newsome signs $12B Funding Package to Support Housing For Homeless People.
Let the scrambling begin to see which politicians and charlatans can pocket the most.
Keep voting for the same people and expect a different result, That is the definition of insanity.

Tired Californian July 20, 2021 at 5:58 PM

Another “brilliant” idea from liberals. What happens the crime rate skyrocket in that area. Nothing like some elderly homes to rob. Pleas tell me how these people get voted in to make decisions like this?

JJ July 20, 2021 at 6:31 PM

And where would they park all their cars, all wise and knowing city planners?

A small development went up years back, in fill patio homes, not one resident uses the one car garage for their cars.

Chuq July 21, 2021 at 12:01 AM

Walnut Creek doesn’t care about parking. How else do you explain Creekside Drive?

Ancient Mariner July 20, 2021 at 7:51 PM

How will the sanitation work – Porta-Potties?
If not, Central San will want big bucks for hookups. Worse with EBMUD.
If it is Porta-Potties, then they’ll have to have a good servicing contract.

The Fearless Spectator July 21, 2021 at 8:02 AM

Why not save a lot of time, money, and crime by simply giving them complementary bus tickets to Portland.

DD July 21, 2021 at 11:19 AM

Say goodbye to Walnut Creek, she’s a goner.

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