Another View: More affordable housing a top goal for 2017

By: Jim Holmes / Guest Columnist
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   Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed a peaceful holiday season and is settling in to 2017. After spending some time with my family over Christmas I am back at work, focusing on day to day tasks as well as moving ahead on larger issues and projects I will continue to tackle this year.
   The county and many other regions across the state and our nation continue to experience growth and expansion as a result of the ongoing improvement to our economy, which means we have more opportunities and we face more challenges.
   In addition to land development projects and programs in Placer County ramping up, the county is also embarking upon several new programs and services aimed at helping to improve the lives of our community members.
   I am dedicated to seeing that there are more high-quality affordable housing units developed in Placer County. As part of the Placer County Government Center Master Plan Update we have the opportunity to establish areas on county land in North Auburn that are zoned for affordable housing.It is important to me that the hard-working people who make their living in Placer County have a chance to call this beautiful place home.
   Another complicated issue I will continue to work on with county staff and community leaders is the change in laws surrounding the industry of medical cannabis.  
   This is a sensitive issue and it is critical that we examine the potential drawbacks and opportunities associated with the legalization of medical cannabis as we move ahead with policies for Placer County.
   I support making slow and deliberate decisions that will result in a balanced ordinance that addresses community concerns as well as the needs of Placer County as an agency.
   I will also continue to work hard to find solutions to major issues such as fire service in Placer County. As many of you know the majority of our local fire districts face financial difficulties in funding their services, equipment and infrastructure. Resolving this issue will require everyone’s help, and I am working diligently to keep this issue moving forward.
   Homelessness in Placer County, particularly in North Auburn, continues to be at the forefront of issues I talk with people about nearly every day.  I recently organized a tour of a facility in Petaluma called COTS – Committee on the Shelterless for professionals and community advocates.
   This tour brought together people from all facets of the issues to learn about how at least one successful program is structured. The tour provided the group with an opportunity to share concerns and ideas, as well as work together on possible solutions moving forward.
   There is no doubt this is one of the most complex and difficult issues our community faces right now.
   There is no shortage of work to be done in 2017. As always, I look forward to hearing from you about your concerns, your ideas and your questions. I am confident that with your help we can make some positive change here in Placer County this year!
   Jim Holmes is a member of the Placer County Board of Supervisors.