California Governor Makes Housing Top Priority, Seeks $1.75 Billion to Spur Housing Production

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Incoming California Governor Gavin Newsom has made solving California’s housing crisis a top priority for his administration, including proposing a record $1.75 billion in the state budget to spur housing production.

Newsom’s housing proposals combine innovative new approaches to the housing crisis as well as tried-and-true housing measures. He has ordered state officials to assess excess state land that could be used for affordable housing projects — a unique new approach to the lack of land for affordable housing projects. Under Newsom’s budget proposal, $500 million would be dedicated to incentives for localities that increase housing production and another $500 million would be offered as tax credits — some targeting the elusive “missing middle” housing that falls between market-rate project and subsidized low-income housing.

Newsom has make housing a cornerstone of his “California for All” agenda. Calling housing the “defining quality-of-life concern” for the state, he called for a bold new focus on solving the issue, and has even proposed withholding state funding from municipalities that do not meet housing production targets.

“The California Dream is in peril if we don’t act to address this housing crisis,” said Governor Newsom at a housing event in San Jose on Jan. 15.

The state’s renewed focus on housing should mean more state funding for housing programs within Truckee-North Tahoe when the new state budget is approved.

 

 

 

Five Key Points in Comstock’s Magazine’s Article on Development Fees

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Comstock’s Magazine recently highlighted the Mountain Housing Council’s work on development fees in an in-depth article entitled Down to the Details published on Jan. 8.

The Sacramento-based magazine examined the Town of Truckee’s new development fee structure, which follows many of the recommendations made by the Mountain Housing Council. But it also looked at how fee policy makes a real difference in achievable housing projects, referencing the Mountain Housing Council’s recent study on development fees.

Here are five key points in the extensive piece by Steven Yoder:

  • The Housing Crisis is Deepening

Truckee-North Tahoe’s housing crisis is increasingly dire. The region needs more than 12,000 more housing units to meet housing needs, and more than half of the region’s residents pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing.

  • Truckee’s Fee Policy is Adapting to Meet the Challenge

The Town of Truckee’s recent decision to offer fee deferrals for workforce housing projects could have a real impact on new workforce housing projects. The Mountain Housing Council estimated that fee deferrals on a 77-unit multifamily housing project could save a developer between $171,000 and $287,000.

  • Sacramento’s Fee Waiver is Having a Direct Impact on Housing Affordability

Sacramento’s elimination of development fees for affordable housing projects will make Habitat for Humanity’s homes up to $12,000 cheaper and allow the non-profit to more than double the number of affordable homes it builds in the Sacramento region.

  • California’s Fees Far Outpace the Rest of the Nation

California’s development impact fees are more than three times the national average and have consistently increased while the rest of the nation’s fee rates have declined.

  • Development Fee Changes Send an Important Signal to Developers

One important role of restructured fees is “signaling” — indicating to developers that you welcome investment in solutions to the housing crisis.

“{Fees are a symbol of sort of ‘do you want us to come?’ and ‘Are you working with us or are you working against us?’ said Seana Doherty, Mountain Housing Council Program Director.

Read the entire Comstock’s Magazine article here.

 

Mountain Housing Council Releases Recommendations on Development Fees

The Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee (MHC) has released an in-depth analysis of the fees developers pay when building new housing projects in the North Tahoe-Truckee region. The council has proposed fee restructuring recommendations in order to incentivize more achievable local housing projects in the region.

Lowering Barriers to Private Investment: How Fee Incentives Can Help Achievable Local Housing Projects was published by the council in November 2018. The council is a coalition of 29 regional stakeholders with the mission of accelerating housing solutions in North Tahoe-Truckee. The 15-page document examines the current fee landscape, compares local fees with those of other regions, and proposes that fee deferrals and new fee structures could potentially lower barriers for the development of achievable local housing.

North Tahoe-Truckee has 18 fee-charging agencies that use different methodologies to calculate fees, making for a complex environment for developers.

“Fees can be a make-or-break factor in achievable local housing projects where margins are razor-thin and many of the other costs, like land prices and construction budgets, are fixed,” said Stacy Caldwell, CEO of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, which facilitates the Mountain Housing Council.“We’ve recommended common-sense policies that can preserve agencies’ budgets while also delivering valuable incentives to developers interested in building new achievable local housing.” 

The Mountain Housing Council recommends three main actions: 

• Make Fees Scalable: Scalable fees can be calculated per square foot, bedroom, or fixture rather than flat per-unit fees. This brings down fees for smaller housing units, which are more affordable simply by their design. 

• Offer Fee Deferrals: Deferring fees until after a home or apartment is occupied will reduce developers’ financing costs for projects that meet the definition of achievable local housing (affordable for residents making up to 195% annual median income).Deferrals could save a developer between $171,325 – $287,133 in financing costs on a 77-unit, multi-family housing project. 

• Revise ADU Policy: Complying with state guidelines that make it easier to build ADUs (accessory dwelling units/secondary housing units/“granny flats”) will encourage more homeowners to build ADUs — a promising source of new achievable local housing. 

The MHC has sent the report to all 18 regional fee-charging agencies with a request that they discuss the recommendations at an upcoming board meeting within the next six months. 

The full fee document can be found at: https://mountainhousingcouncil.org/fees/ 

The Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee is comprised of 29 committed stakeholders committed to their mission of accelerating achievable local housing solutions. Learn more at mountainhousingcouncil.org