A glance at the future of Ann Arbor?
Submitted by murph on 30 March 2005 - 11:48am.
The LA Times (link from PLANetizen) has a story on public servants priced out of California towns by the cost of living:
HALF MOON BAY, Calif. — Sid McCausland has just joined a small, sad fraternity, a brotherhood that is peculiarly Californian: elected officials who have been priced out of the cities they loved enough to serve.
In January, it was official. The average home price in this quaint agricultural town turned pricey Silicon Valley retreat had crested at more than $1 million for the first time.
A few weeks later, McCausland, 64, announced that he was retiring from his day job at the end of March and would have to resign from the City Council because he no longer could afford to live here.
If there's any wonder why people like Brandon and I get so unhappy about Ann Arbor's planning decisions, it's because of this. After what amounts to spending two years paying for the privilege of doing pro bono planning work (in the form of class projects and side projects) for the area, we're most likely going to be run out of town (oh, if only there were decent rails to be run out on!) for being too poor. Even if Cara (who will, in a year and a half, have a Masters in Social Psych, a teaching certificate good in NJ and MI, and a Masters in School Counseling) and I can find jobs in Ann Arbor, it's fairly likely that we'd have to live in the sprawlsville townships outside of the city.
This is why we've recently been looking eastward, towards Hamtramck or Dearborn or similar towns. Or even Royal Oak or Ferndale: if we're going to pay outlandish prices for housing, at least we can do it in a place that's close to other places. (It's also the case that we'll probably have shorter joint commutes from there to reasonable jobs than from Ann Arbor. (I find it entertaining to think that, someday, Washtenaw County exiles might help make Hamtramck a more thoroughly blogged city than Ann Arbor, key on the Goodspeed Corollary to the Florida Coolness Index).
It's possible that I'm being overly cynical; I have a cold, and I always get a little extra-cranky when I'm on pseudoephedrine. It could be that we'll find very nice jobs in Washtenaw, that some combination of housing bubble deflation and better planning decisions will make it possible for us to find reasonable housing, and that those better planning decisions will also make A2 more of a place that we want to live. (Dear Ann Arbor: Congratulations. Your attempts to promote your own coolness have come across as snooty, not cool, and have caused a musician/social worker with four degrees from four universities to want to move out and go to a "real" city. And she's not the only one you've pushed away with your self-important provinciality. Oops, sorry; the pseudoephedrine started talking again . . .)