The Great Divide (Cont'd)
I just received the newsletter from the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners' Association, the neighborhood political pressure group (not the kind of contractual homeowners' association that provides joint services and governs a community). From their literature and website, the organization's implicit mandate is clear: to oppose any change in the neighborhood's configuration, especially new construction. I was particularly struck by the association's boast of opposing mixed-use projects on Westwood Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd., both major commercial streets, because they "could result in 5-story buildings dwarfing adjacent homes."
From a crass financial perspective, blocking new construction may make sense. Restricting the supply of new housing, preferably to zero, jacks up the price of the existing housing stock--at least until the neighborhood becomes elderly, moribund, and jammed with traffic from people who have to commute from more affordable areas.