Tahoe Quarterly Covers Mountain Housing Council

Local Author Tim Hauserman took some time to speak with a few of the founding members of the Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee to learn about the formation of the Council, the housing crisis and potential solutions.

Photo by Tim Hauserman

“The question “Is there a housing crisis?” elicits a hearty eye roll and a “Duh” from any local who has attempted to find rental housing in the Tahoe region,” Hauserman writes. “Even if you are snug in your own Tahoe home, the crisis is obvious.”

He also talked to Tahoe Prosperity Center, which has some housing efforts complementary to the work of the Mountain Housing Council.

Click here to read the article.

January Housing Wins

The Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee, Town of Truckee and Placer County took significant steps toward housing solutions at the beginning of 2018.

The Mountain Housing Council, comprised of 25 local agencies, nonprofits, and businesses, unanimously passed policy recommendation to adopt a new definition on Jan. 12 for achievable local housing, which goes beyond traditional affordable housing definitions to include those income levels that are unable to afford housing in the region.

“This is an important step forward in addressing the real needs in the North Tahoe-Truckee region,” said Stacy Caldwell, Chief Executive Officer of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, which facilitates the council. “This will help address the critical needs of low income residents, as well as those households in our region who find themselves in the middle income brackets – the teachers, police, firefighters, and young professionals that still can’t afford housing here.”

It will be up to each individual agency to decide if and how to implement this new policy recommendation for an expanded definition of affordability.

Additionally, both Placer County’s Board of Supervisors and Truckee’s Town Council approved a memorandum of understanding Jan. 9 with Neighborhood Partners LLC in support of $16 million in state Cap and Trade grant funding (Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program) for the already approved 56-unit affordable housing project called Meadow View Place in Schaffer’s Mill.

“This decision shows a real commitment to work together and to further transportation and housing,” said Luke Watkins of Neighborhood Partners LLC. “This is a great partnership with the town and county, and the Mountain Housing Council should be thanked for facilitating it.”

If the project is awarded the grant, the project could break ground as soon as spring of 2019, Watkins said.

Also on Jan. 9, Truckee Town Council passed its annual update to traffic impact fees and facilities fees charged to new development, changing the fee structure to a per-square-foot basis, rather than per-unit basis.

“The primary goal of this change is to incentivize smaller unit types,” said Town Manager Jeff Loux. “We recognize that this may seem like a small change, but we believe it is actually a pretty significant move, and we hope other agencies will follow.”

The Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, which had initial concerns with technical aspects of the change, strongly supported the update after working with town staff.

“I have to give a lot of credit to town staff for really being on top of it and giving this high priority,” said Pat Davison, Government Affairs Manager for the Contractors Association. “We hope this does turn into some actual housing on the ground.”




Moonshine Ink: Families on the Brink

Photo by Jeremy Jensen/Moonshine Ink.

Local newspaper Moonshine Ink recently published a poignant story by David Bunker on the challenges long-time locals are facing in one of the Tahoe-Truckee Region’s many mobile home parks. Read the article here.

There are close to 1,000 mobile homes in the North-Tahoe Truckee Region, and they are a critical piece of the achievable local housing landscape, necessary to serve the diverse needs of our residents. Each mobile home park is different in who they serve and who owns them.

The Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee has created an Ad-Hoc team to work on the specific issues of mobile homes as they pertain to achievable housing. If you have insight, input or are interested in joining the committee, please contact us here.

An LA Developer’s Ideas on Affordable Housing

In our ongoing efforts to accelerate local housing solutions, the Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee studies what other communities are doing and what other experts are saying.

Multiple sources have sent us an editorial by Housing for LA titled 25 Solutions From A Builder’s Perspective To Fix The California Housing Crisis. It’s a good read for anybody interested in achievable housing issues. While a large urban area like Los Angeles is different than our rural region, we picked out a few items on their list that connect with our challenges and our potential solutions.

Click the image to view the original article

2) “Stop Killing Housing By Delaying Approvals” – One of the policy areas Mountain Housing Council is working on is shortening or streamlining the approval process for achievable housing projects. Click here to see what the Innovative Policy Team is working on.

3) “Create New Zones For Missing Middle Housing” – Zoning changes is one possible outcome of the unanimously-adopted expanded definition of local achievable housing passed by the Council January 2018. For those that don’t know, the missing middle is those who make too much to qualify for state and federally funded affordable housing (up to 120 percent of the median income), but too little to afford market rate housing (in Tahoe-Truckee area, around 195 percent of median income).

5) “We Must Woo The Publicly Traded Homebuidlers Back to California” – While that’s more of a state-sized problem, locally there’s been discussion of builders who’ve picked up stakes and followed the booming growth occurring in the Reno area, just across the state line.

10) “Be Very Careful Adding New Fees to Developments That Create New Housing” – Fees are an area Mountain Housing Council tiger teams and consultants are reviewing very closely. The Town of Truckee recently passed an update to impact fees – making them on a per square foot basis rather than per unit basis – with the idea of reducing obstacles to smaller, more affordable units.

12) “Incentivize and Remove Planning Approvals for as much Affordable Housing As Possible” – Like number two, this goes back to the work of the Policy Tiger Team, working on ways to streamline approval processes.

19) “Digitize and Open Source Zoning Information for all Property in California” – Another state-sized project, but the Mapping Tiger Team is working to identify land that could be used for achievable housing throughout the region. The team is looking at public and private land, planning a tour with developers and real estate professionals to assess the different parcels.

To see the entire list of 25 ideas, go to the article on urbanize.la by clicking  here.

Important Housing Topics Go Before Truckee, Placer January 9

Four items go before the Placer County Board of Supervisors and Truckee Town Council related to achievable housing. These meetings are an opportunity for public comment and input. 

Placer County Board of Supervisors Jan 9th Meeting: Summary of Housing Agenda Topic

Placer County’s Board of Supervisors will decide January 9 on a memorandum of understanding regarding funding for Meadow View Place, a 56-unit affordable housing project as part of the Schaffer’s Mill Subdivision.

Project developer Neighborhood Partners LLC is applying for approximately $16 million from the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program, which is State Cap and Trade funding used to support infill development and encourage public and non-motorized transportation usage with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

In order for the development to meet grant requirements, the Placer County Board of Supervisors is considering a memorandum of understanding which would include expansion of sustainable transportation infrastructure, including the purchase of electric transit vehicles, infrastructure, bike trail development and increasing bus services from every hour to 30 minute runs.

Placer County’s Board of Supervisors will discuss this at their January 9 meeting which starts at 9 a.m. at the County Administrative Center in Auburn. Those who are interested in listening and commenting can attend remotely from the Placer County Tahoe City Administrative Center, 775 N. Lake Blvd.

Can’t make the meeting but want to submit a comment?

Deadline to submit written comment: Monday, Jan 8 by noon
Send to Board Clerk: Megan Wood. mwood@placer.ca.gov

Click here to view the materials that will go before the Board of Supervisors.

About the Project

Meadow View Place, formerly known as Schaffer’s Mill Affordable Housing, will include 14 one-bedroom, 28 two-bedroom and 14 three-bedroom units.

Each building will have solar panels to achieve a zero-net-energy usage level.

Target resident population is individuals and families that are employed in local industries.

The development is located 1/2 mile southwest of the intersection of Highway 267 and Schaffer Mill Road.

Other proposed funding sources include tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds and 4 percent federal low income housing tax credits.

Town of Truckee Jan 9th Council Meeting: Summary of Housing Agenda Items

Truckee Town Council will also consider a memorandum of understanding with Neighborhood Partners LLC on the Meadow View Place development described above, along with a moderate income project at Gray’s Crossing and a new fee structure.

First, Town Council will consider a memorandum of understanding similar to that described above with Placer County, to include transit center and other transportation related improvements for the Meadow View Place grant application.

Second, Town Council will consider a minor zoning change to an 89-lot moderate income project at Gray’s Crossing.

Third, Town Council will consider an update and restructuring of traffic impact and facilities fees charged to new development by the Town. It proposes to change the fees to a square footage basis, rather than a per-unit basis.

Truckee Town Council will meet January 9 at 6 p.m. at Truckee Town Hall. Those who cannot attend can send comments to JPrice@townoftruckee.com. To see the agenda and council packet, click here.

Ski Area Solutions for Housing: Tiny Homes Campground Project

Housing Inspiration Webinar #1

Aspen Ski Company’s Philip Jeffreys presented on an innovative project with 40 tiny homes in a campground housing 102 seasonal employees at a November webinar.

Jeffreys detailed the thought housing issues that Aspen is facing, the thought process they went through in addressing employee housing, the hurtles, challenges and solutions. Roughly 30 attendees of the webinar, including Tahoe-Truckee ski area representatives, US Forest Service representatives, agency staff, elected officials and others tuned in live, asking questions addressed by Jeffreys at the end of the presentation.

Watch a video replay of the webinar here:

Click here for a background video on the project.

Sign up for Mountain Housing Council’s email list below to be notified of future webinars and meetings like this one.

Employer Solutions Think Tank Recap

The Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee hosted an Employer Solutions Think Tank on October 25, 2017 bringing together speakers and members of the public to discuss ways businesses and agencies can help address the region’s housing issues.

Mountain Housing Council Think Tank Oct. 25, 2017 from TTCTV on Vimeo.

Click here to see the introduction presentation.

Donald Terry, Director of Real Estate Development for NeighborWorks Home Ownership Center, Sacramento Region, spoke about his organization. NeighborWorks helps in aquiring and building new housing, providing home ownership assistance, direct lending, rental assistance and securing capital investments.

Terry manages housing development, USDA Direct Loan Packaging program and multiple contacts within government agencies to administer housing funds.

Click here to see Donald Terry’s presentation on NeighborWorks.

Kay Hartman, Human Resource Manager for the Mammoth Community Water District, discussed the similar housing challenges faced by Mammoth Lakes. Their district, starting in 2001, began implementing solutions to provide housing for staff. Over the last decade, the district has purchased four condominiums that have helped foster and retain local staff. In addition, the district implemented an Employee Home Loan Assistance Program to help employees purchase homes in the community they serve, and established a van pool option for staff outside the area.

Click here to see Kay Hartman’s presentation on Mammoth Community Water District.

Jaime Wright, Executive Director of the Truckee North Tahoe Transit Management System, spoke about linking transit with housing and jobs throughout the region and implementing a van sharing service. RTC Vanpool is partnered with vRide, providing insured vehicles and maintenance costs while the participants share the cost of gas and the rolling 30-day vehicle lease. To learn more about the program, go to www.tahoetruckeetransit.com

Click here to see Jamie Wright’s presentation on North Tahoe Transit.

Channel 2 News covered the meeting – see their coverage here.

State Wide: 15 New Housing Bills Signed Into CA Law

While Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee focuses on regional solutions, it’s important to keep tabs on what’s happening at the state level.

Governor Jerry Brown signed 15 new housing bills into law Sept. 28 in San Francisco addressing process reform, funding and local accountability for building homes in California.

Here’s San Jose Mercury News’ Summary of the housing bills:

“Senate Bill 2, by Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, will create a permanent source of funding for affordable housing, imposing fees of up to $225 on certain real-estate transactions, such as mortgage refinancing. (Home purchases would not be subject to the fee.) It will collect $1.2 billion over the next five years — and would raise a total of $5.8 billion during that time, including federal, local and private matching funds, according to committee estimates. Half of the money it raises in the first year would go to programs to address homelessness.

Senate Bill 3, by Sen. Jim Beall, D-Campbell, will place a $4 billion statewide housing bond on the November 2018 ballot. Like SB 2, it would pay for existing affordable-housing programs in California that used to be supported by funds from the state’s redevelopment agencies, a giant source of money that was slashed in the wake of the Great Recession and never replaced. If the bond measure passes and is approved by voters, $1 billion of the total would go to extend the CalVet Home Loan Program, which is scheduled to expire in 2018.

Senate Bill 35, by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, will try to tackle the state’s housing-supply shortage. Currently, cities are told every eight years how many units they need to build to meet their share of regional demand — but they are not required to build them. This bill aims to make it harder to ignore those goals. It targets cities that fall short, requiring them to approve more housing developments that fit the bill’s criteria until they are back on track.

Senate Bill 167, by Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Oakland, strengthens the state’s 35-year-old Housing Accountability Act, known colloquially as the “anti-NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) Act.” Cities that don’t comply with a court order to allow development would be hit with automatic fines of $10,000 per housing unit.

Senate Bill 540, by Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, allows cities to determine where housing needs to be built and to create a specific plan for development in that zone, including public hearings and environmental reviews. This is intended to speed up the approval and construction process.

Assembly Bill 73, by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, will give local governments cash incentives to create high-density “Housing Sustainability Districts” near transit with some affordable housing.

Assembly Bill 1505, by Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, restores the ability of local governments to require developers to include affordable rental units. A 2009 appellate court decision cut off that tool, which cities and counties had used for decades. The governor had vetoed similar legislation by Atkins in 2013, arguing that it could make it harder for a city to attract development, but while negotiating the package of bills with lawmakers, Brown agreed to sign it.”

Join Mountain Housing Council for a Think Tank Oct. 25

The Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee invites you to A Public Think Tank: Employer Solutions, to learn what employers and agencies both inside the region and from elsewhere are doing to address housing problems and retain employees – and to offer ideas of your own.

When: October 25, 6 – 8 p.m.
Where: North Tahoe Event Center, Kings Beach

The evening will include a panel discussion on how the housing crisis affects our local economy, speakers sharing ready-to-implement solutions for employers, an open Solutions Slam for community members to share their own ideas and a networking session.

Speakers on the panel include:

Panel Facilitator: Kristin York, Sierra Business Council
Kristin is Vice President of Business Innovation for Sierra Business Council. Kristin leverages 20 years of experience in strategic planning, finance, operations, marketing, and business transformation to assist businesses thrive economically while understanding their environmental and social impact. At SBC, Kristin directs the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as well as the Gold Country Broadband Consortium and the Sierra Economic Development District.
Kristin is also a Professor of Sustainable Business at Presidio Graduate School, Board Chair for the Truckee Donner Parks and Recreation District, and serves as a Board member for the Tahoe Food Hub and the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation.

Panelist: Joy Doyle, North Tahoe Business Association
Joy has been the Executive Director of the North Tahoe Business Association (NTBA) since September 2011. Under Joy’s leadership, NTBA’s membership, sponsorships, partnerships, and events have significantly grown and the main commercial core of NTBA’s District, Kings Beach, has prospered. Prior to joining NTBA, Joy worked in marketing and events in the ski, travel/tourism, and outdoor industries. Joy has lived in Carnelian Bay since 1990 and is passionate about North Lake Tahoe.

Panelist: Cindy Gustafson, North Lake Tahoe Resort Association
Cindy recently joined the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association as CEO. Previously, Cindy served as the General Manager at the Tahoe County Public Utility District, at which she maintained a storied and successful career for 26 years. Among the many roles Gustafson has played in serving the North Lake Tahoe community, key highlights include: five years spent as a Governor’s appointment on a State Commission; six years served as a member of the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency Board of Directors; founding board member of Excellence in Education; five years served as a member of the Truckee Tahoe School Board of Trustees; founding Chairperson of the Tahoe Fund; and two years on the Lake Tahoe Basin Federal Advisory committee.

Panelist: Lynn Saunders, Truckee Chamber of Commerce
Lynn Saunders has served as the President/CEO of the Truckee Chamber of Commerce since 2002. Lynn oversees all Chamber programs for the business community and their 640 members, is a key leader in the Truckee Tomorrow collaborative economic development initiative, and oversees the management and operation of the Truckee California Welcome Center in the historic train depot downtown.
The Chamber recognizes the far-reaching impacts the housing situation is having on business and the community. That it’s making it: making it difficult for employers to attract and retain employees; having a negative impact on businesses bottom line; is a significant hurdle to businesses that might be thinking of moving here; and that it’s creating quality of life issues for Truckee.

Presenter: Kay Hartman, Mammoth Community Water District
Kay is the Human Resources Manager for Mammoth Community Water District. Kay has over 36 years of experience in all aspects of public sector personnel. She has extensive experience in public sector budget development and administration, and strategic planning that includes performance measures laying a course for sound personnel and management business practices. Presently, Kay administers and manages District-owned employee housing. Originally from South Dakota, Kay relocated to California to earn her degree from California State University, Fresno, and has remained in California since.

Presenter: Donald Terry, NeighborWorks Home Ownership Center, Sacramento Region
Donald serves as the Director of Real Estate Development for NeighborWorks Home Ownership Center, Sacramento Region, where he oversees single-family for sale affordable housing development in an 11-county region in Northern California. In addition, he manages the organization’s in-house realty services team and the Community Housing Services Department that contracts with multiple cities and counties to administer Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME, and CalHome programs. Donald is also a local elected official first serving on the Sacramento City School Board from 2008 to 2012 and in 2012 elected to the Rancho Cordova City Council and is currently serving as Mayor.

Presenter: Jaime Wright, Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association
Jaime is the Executive Director of the Truckee North Tahoe Transportation Management Association (TNT-TMA) and has worked locally within Truckee and North Lake Tahoe both in private and public transit since 1999. Growing up in Truckee and North Lake Tahoe, mobility has always sparked an interest, motivating Jaime to continue her education and work experience with the field of transportation. Jaime began her career in the public sector working for Squaw Creek Transportation and then joined the TNT-TMA as the Program Manager in 2008, becoming the Executive Director of the TNT-TMA in 2013

Along with hearing from the panel, members of the public are encouraged to share their ideas both as part of the open Solutions Slam or in smaller groups as part of a networking portion of the meeting.

Click here to see what some local employers are already doing to make a difference

Secondary Dwelling Units: A Local Housing Solution in Your Own Backyard

What is a Secondary Dwelling Unit?

A Secondary Dwelling Unit (also referred to as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), second unit, in-law unit, or granny flat) has complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and generally takes one of four forms:

  • Detached: The unit is separated from the primary structure
  • Attached: The unit is attached to the primary structure
  • Repurposed Existing Space: Space (e.g., master bedroom) within the primary residence is converted into an independent living unit
  • Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs), which are no more than 500 square feet and are typically bedrooms in a single-family home that have an entrance into the unit from the main home and an entrance to the outside from the JADU.

Benefits of Second Dwellings

  • Second dwelling units are an affordable type of home to construct because they do not require paying for land or major new infrastructure.
  • Second dwelling units are installed on existing lots, which helps with contain urban sprawl and preserve open space.
  • Homeowners can construct a second dwelling on their lot or convert an underutilized part of their home such as a garage into a junior accessory dwelling unit. This flexibility benefits not just people renting the space, but the homeowner as well, who can receive an extra monthly rent income.
  • Second dwelling units give homeowners the flexibility to share independent living areas with family members and others, allowing seniors to age in place as they require more care and helping extended families to be near one another while maintaining privacy.

Did you Know?

The Town of Truckee, Nevada County, and Placer County all allow the construction of secondary dwelling units on residential lots as long as they meet building code and zoning requirements. Recent changes in State Law have relaxed the requirements and approval process for second dwelling units, such as reducing parking standards and limiting development fees.