CA county mulls fee for new development that can’t provide housing
November 9, 2018
TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Placer County may be moving forward with a ordinance that will place a fee on new development in the Tahoe area, if projects cannot provide housing units for employees.
The county's housing policy in the General Plan requires new development in Tahoe area to provide housing units to 50 percent of full time employees that would work in the buildings.
Last year, the Board of Supervisors determined a housing fee should only be used as a last resort if the project could not provide those units.
In 2015, a nexus-based study was done to determine the maximum justifiable fee that the county could impose.
The fee represents the amount needed to cover 100 percent of the difference between costs of developing housing and what households in Placer County can afford to rent or purchase, according to a staff report. The study reported that the county could charge between $21,490 to $177,690 per market rate single family home or 4.4 percent of the sales price.
Staff presented the board this past week with certain options, including imposing no fee and requiring all projects to build employee housing, allow it as an option for projects when less than five units are required, set the maximum fee at 4.4 percent or setting it at a lower percentage.
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Board members felt that the maximum fee amount imposed on a small project was not practical.
"I'm a little bit concerned with that large chunk of change on single family residences," said Supervisor Jack Duran at a Board of Supervisors meeting.
"The rental market is increasingly difficult in the region," said John Falk of the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors. "Anything you do that would propose to add a cost to rental housing might be a bridge too far."
Falk suggested that if the board were to move forward with such an ordinance that they also provide additional incentives to developers.
"What we have done so far is not working," said Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery. "The idea of collecting fees and hoping that we gather enough over time to build appropriate amounts of workforce and achievable housing hasn't panned out."
However, she said, a fee for smaller projects could be appropriate.
"It looks like we have to do a little more work to come back and give some proper direction," said Supervisor Jim Holmes.
"It sounds like there's some interest in looking at the different levels of those fees," said Shawna Purvines, Placer County principal planner.
Purvines said staff will bring back additional information on incentives for developers that can be provided in the ordinance.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.