portantly, homebuyers want to live in neighbor- hoods that have good schools, healthcare, local amenities, safety, and are largely walkable. Q: How does Olson receive the necessary housing densities to at- tract developers in the metropolitan areas? A: Many cities will en- courage land assembly – putting together contigu- ous parcels for develop- ment – by giving density bonuses on larger site as- semblies. Although the policies are not uniform among agencies, “gradu- ated density bonuses” have been proposed by more progressive planning de- partments to incentivize builders to create larger projects in urban locations. In older areas of cities, this is sometimes the beginning of a neighborhood rebirth. Increased property values/taxes will help agencies recapture part of their investments. The real challenge for the developer is to remain commit- ted to provide more affordable housing and not move-up housing where land and construction costs are naturally higher. Q: A housing element is required as part of a city’s general plan. What is the breakdown in the process between the reality of the actual number of new homes provided and what is contemplated in the general plan? A: The significant challenge without the existence of redevelopment agencies is how land is assembled. Sometimes redevelopment sites can take a decade or more to assemble, so there is no quick ramping up of housing development in the metropolitan core. This process has to be part of the local community dialogue with consistent education on what the longer-range plan is. Developers and the community have to be engaged where some specific areas/sites are being targeted and where communities are supportive of developers. Ultimately, the city and state must be good planners and sell their visions to communities. Without the ability to per- suade, housing frequently never gets built. Q: Why is new housing really so important in a metropolitan area? A: Cities should have a balanced housing stock. The best cities have both entry-level and move-up housing. It frequently can be daunting if a second- 13 The Olson Company’s Community Development Team spends countless hours designing and refining project site plans to benefit homebuyers while meeting city requirements. Pictured are Olson Company executives John Reekstin, left, Senior Vice President, Community Development, and Aaron Hirschi, Vice President, Land Acquisition. Aldea Walk in Buena Park includes functional floor plans perfect for entertaining family and friends. (Please Continue To Next Page) 2017_18Pages_OlsonCopy_PortAnniversary 12/22/17 11:30 AM Page 13