As I meet with members of our Tourism Commission and I listen to the stories of the wonderful volunteers that staff our visitor’s center throughout the week, one of the most common lines uttered by visitors is “we love visiting Tehachapi, we’re thinking about moving here.”
What a great problem to have right? An area that has prided itself on quality of life and a City that has worked extremely hard to meet that goal, is attracting new citizens. Additionally, Tehachapi’s unique location above both the agriculture and oil production of the San Joaquin Valley and the renewable energy, mining and aerospace industries of the Antelope Valley in Northern Los Angeles County have cemented us as the preferred home for much of that employment base.
So what’s the problem here? From a real estate standpoint the market is great, sellers are getting a fair price for their homes, and prices are rising steadily and responsibly. Sales this year of local real estate were valued at over $161 million with the average sales price at $268,000.
Again, Tehachapi attracts two different markets and folks from both Kern and Los Angeles Counties. Still the elephant in the room lurks; a housing shortage.
Whether Tehachapi is being represented at an economic forum in Kern County or the Antelope Valley, our issue remains, we are trying to provide housing for an educated and growing workforce in several skilled industries, and the inventory isn’t keeping up with demand. A good problem to have in one sense, but a call to action on the other.
Tehachapi has a strong resale market and we are in the unique position to offer both a country-lifestyle in the Greater Tehachapi area complete with large lots, great views, and plenty of space in a non-traditional neighborhood. But, as we attract those visitors-turned- residents or those new workers in an expanded aerospace industry, we’re finding the comforts of the City are desired by many. They want common space, walkable neighborhoods, little yard maintenance and a sense of community. So we’re taking action.
Those sort of housing developments are exactly what is being prioritized in the City of Tehachapi, honestly the only location in the area where a housing tract with that sort of vision can come to fruition.
We are very proud of our transect-zoning codes and planning which is attractive for a master-planned community. We pride ourselves on the right look as well, stucco boxes with little character, narrow streets and after-thought community improvements just won’t fly here. We may have a shortage, but we’re sticking true to the right types of developments.
What are those right types? Our in-fill philosophy of building homes in the open areas within the City is compatible for condominium developments with community open space as well as single-family homes suited for those that are looking for a small-town feel while enjoying all the services the City has to offer.
We have prepared presentation materials, updated maps and information to help attract not just builders, but developers into our community.
Our zoning codes are inviting to developers with vision and creativity and our fees for new home construction on average are very reasonable. Those fees, accompanied with the aforementioned creatively and vision we feel creates the ideal location for successful housing development.
We understand our way of life is attractive to new residents and are taking the right steps to continually be a desirable place to live. Those efforts are reflected with a strong resale real estate market and our dedication to the latest housing trends which aid in the recruitment efforts of developers that share a vision for our community.
2017 showed strong in our real estate market and we know where our efforts and focus will be in 2018.
We invite anyone interested in visiting or developing in our community to visit and experience our way of life first hand.
Greg Garrett is the City Manager of Tehachapi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed are his own.