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Affordable Housing in Orange County

December 18, 1988

Re your Dec. 11 editorial, "Commuters Not by Choice," about the lack of low-cost housing in Orange County:

You bemoan the high cost of housing and the necessity of commuting for the average worker in Orange County, but stop for a moment to consider what forces are at work to bring this about.

The rate of appreciation for the average apartment is outstripping the worker's ability to pay for it, and yet the rent increases have not kept pace with the "feeding frenzy" prices of Orange County's volatile real estate market, which is based on the expectations that rents will rise even higher. The appreciation is fueled largely by supply and demand, and when the slow-growth groups, environmentalists and government agencies take their toll, land becomes quite costly indeed.

Recently, the Stephens kangaroo rat has been added to the federal list of endangered species. In Riverside County, fees of $1,950 per acre in designated areas have been added to the list of fees one must pay to build a house. The fees will be used to purchase habitat lands for the displaced rodent, ultimately coming out of the price of the new home, paid for by the consumer. If this is such an important issue, why are only a few consumers being singled out to bear this burden instead of all taxpayers?

It is no wonder rents are rising and housing costs are so high. It is a byproduct of a society whose requirements are becoming too great a burden for the very people it protects.

RANDY A. BERGUM

Fullerton

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