Placer County seeks community input for the Dollar Hill Nahas Housing Project

A new mixed income neighborhood for locals and working professionals is being envisioned for the Dollar Hill community in North Lake Tahoe. On Monday March 19, the Development team comprised of Related California, Pacific West Communities and Dinsmore Sierra held their first community open house to hear and gather community feedback about the development. Representatives from Placer County and the Mountain Housing Council (MHC) kicked off the meeting with a presentation on the workforce housing needs in the region and volunteers from the MHC recorded public comments at each of the developer stations.  Comments will inform the design and site plan of the future community that will house the local workforce.

The majority of the attendees were neighbors and community members.  The development team is hoping for additional feedback from the local workforce so that housing type, size and preferences can also be considered in this early planning phase of the development.  Please send comments and thoughts on the development to dollarcreekcrossing@gmail.com.

Next MeetingsMay 20, 2019 and July 19, 2019 in Tahoe City, location TBD.

Nahas Meeting

Housing Tahoe Partnership targets flexible parking policy to unlock more affordable housing in South Lake Tahoe

What is the number one issue housing developers have shared that would help make projects pencil in the Lake Tahoe region? Parking reduction! The cost of a parking spot in a housing development in California is at least $24,000 for an above ground spot. More if underground and in places like Lake Tahoe where land and coverage is expensive. But, think about that for one minute – $24,000 for one parking spot, that often is empty if the housing is near transit, or in town where people don’t need a car to get to work. “For every $24,000 for a parking spot, that is $24,000 less to spend on affordable housing” according to Meea Kang, the housing developer who built Kings Beach’s Dolmus, one of our region’s most positive examples of affordable, local housing development.

To fix that, the Housing Tahoe Partnership Policy Workgroup developed a consensus-based parking policy that allows for flexible options for future affordable and full-time resident housing. The Tahoe Prosperity Center, facilitator of the Housing Tahoe Partnership will be working over the next few months to ensure that the jurisdictions in Lake Tahoe adopt this new flexible parking policy.

This policy will ensure projects in town, near transit and that include full-time resident housing won’t have to build parking spots that will end up empty. One recent example is the amount of parking at Sierra Gardens Apartments. This 76-unit affordable apartment building in South Lake Tahoe has more than 1/3 of its parking spaces empty most of the time. That doesn’t improve our environment since all that pavement contributes to runoff and loss of lake clarity. Now, the Flexible Parking Standards Policy will let each developer work to ensure enough spaces for their development and ensure that most of the project funding goes into housing – not empty parking spots.

Learn more.

TPCHousing Tahoe

Housing Tahoe Partnership – Sewer Fee Reduction Policy, South Tahoe Public Utility District

The South Tahoe Public Utility District (STPUD) Board of Directors changed their administrative code in September 2018 to allow for the transfer of sewer and water units from one parcel to another in order to encourage the building of affordable housing projects. In addition, they reduced the sewer hook-up fees by reducing the rate from $2700 to $100 as long as the sewer fees are dedicated to affordable and workforce housing projects (up to 120% of Area Median Income.) The $100 fee will cover administrative costs at the district associated with the transfers.

The significance of this cannot be understated – this is a potential game-changer for housing projects in the South Shore. One motel owner who was wanted to convert 10 motel rooms into affordable rental studio units previously was unable to afford the $27,000 to add small oven ranges to the rooms. Now that he would only have to pay the $100 administrative fee per oven, his cost is $1,000 instead for the ten units. This savings of $26,000 is not only an incentive to convert, it allowed him to invest in each of the units to make them more desirable for renters.

On a larger scale workforce housing project, one of the Tahoe Prosperity Center pro-formas showed a savings of $123,000 on a 45-unit project. That savings, along with other cost saving policy changes the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Tahoe Prosperity Center are promoting, can make the difference for developers looking to build workforce housing in South Lake Tahoe.

Learn more about South Lake Tahoe’s Housing Tahoe.

Housing Tahoe     TPC

The MHC shows up to advocate for California’s rural regions

On February 19th and 28th, two delegations ofCapitol Visit MHC members traveled to Sacramento for meetings with key policymakers. The purpose was two-fold: to bring awareness to the housing crisis in the Tahoe-Truckee region and to learn how proposed state policies would affect our region. Among the policy priorities conveyed by the group were support for policies that develop and unlock accessory dwelling units (ADUs), dedicated funding for rural areas in statewide affordable housing funding programs, and incentives for mobile home parks to be sold to residents or community organizations. The group met with several housing leaders, including Senator Jim Beall (representing San Jose), Louise Bedsworth (Executive Director of the Strategic Growth Council), and Ronda Paschal (Governor Newsom’s Housing Legislative Deputy). MHC will continue cultivating partnerships with policy makers and statewide organizations in an effort to bring resources to our region’s housing crisis.

“Our region was well represented, organized and articulate. We presented MHC’s policy interest to multiple legislatures and staffers throughout a very busy day, and specifically weighed in on policies and language that helped advance our regions’ need for solutions to housing.I was personally so proud of being with colleagues that showed up to advocate for the needs of our region,” said Stacy Caldwell, CEO of Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF) – the lead organization of the Council.

The San Francisco Chronicle Highlights the Mountain Housing Council’s Soon-to-be-Released Short-Term Rental White Paper

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The Mountain Housing Council’s analysis of the short-term rental market has not been publicly released yet, but it is already getting attention from major publications.

The San Francisco Chronicle is the latest media organization to delve into the topic of short-term rentals and report on the Mountain Housing Council’s deep-dive research in North Tahoe-Truckee. The article, entitled “Lake Tahoe houses sit vacant while locals struggle to find affordable housing,” was penned by Tahoe-based writer Dave Zook and published Feb. 8.

The story uses data compiled and analyzed by the Mountain Housing Council while looking at the short-term rental issue on both the north and south shores of Lake Tahoe. The data comes from the Mountain Housing Council’s soon-to-be-released “Short-Term Rentals in the North Tahoe-Truckee Region” — an approximately 50-page examination of the issue. The council spent nearly a year compiling, analyzing, and researching the intricacies of the short-term rental market and its effect on the overall housing market in the region.

Several Mountain Housing Council partners are quoted in the article, including Truckee Town Manager Jeff Loux, Truckee Mayor David Tirman and Placer County Deputy CEO Jennifer Merchant. Loux, Tirman and Merchant add thoughtful perspective on what local governments are currently doing about the issue, and how it may be addressed in the future. Mountain Housing Council Project Director Seana Doherty and Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation CEO Stacy Caldwell discuss how the information in the council’s report can be used to guide data-driven decisions.

The Mountain Housing Council’s work gives policymakers, community members, and the media a solid basis of information about the current short-term and long-term rental market in the region, what is currently being done in the area, what other communities are doing and potential ways to move forward.

The Mountain Housing Council expects to release the full report in late February at mountainhousingcouncil.org.

The entire San Francisco Chronicle article can be read here.

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

Placer County Moves Forward on Dollar Hill Achievable Housing Project

TAHOE CITY, Calif. – A proposed achievable housing development at Dollar Hill took a step forward with the Placer County Board of Supervisors voting on Dec. 4 to negotiate with Related-Pacific Companies to build the project.

“The approval shows our county’s commitment to moving forward in our mission to address community housing needs,” said Placer County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jim Holmes. “This project will not only provide future housing opportunities for our residents but reaffirms our goal to help our local businesses hire and retain employees.”

The vote is in line with the recommendation from a review panel including county staff and community members assembled to review project proposals and follows a detailed evaluation and interview process. Related-Pacific is a hybrid team of development companies with experience in the Lake Tahoe Basin and Tahoe Truckee region.

The current project concept includes a mix of residential uses, including single-family homes with the ability to add additional dwellings to the property in order to help offset mortgage costs. Apartment units would also be allowed to ensure the site could serve a broad range of income levels. The project concept also includes stormwater treatment, a community building and a village green that would allow for a children’s playground area, picnic and community gathering area, a dog run, vegetable gardens and a connection to an existing trail system near the project site.

In community meetings about spending priorities for local transient occupancy tax revenues and in Mountain Housing Council workshops, residents have continually expressed their concern over a lack of achievable housing in the region. This feedback led to the Placer County Board of Supervisors approval of a $3.6 million purchase and sale agreement for the Dollar Hill property in August.

In September, Placer County initiated a search for a housing developer through a request for proposals process. Respondents detailed their experience and vision for a development project consistent with community goals and area plans. The county also hosted a community workshop Aug. 1 to receive input on the features residents would like to see included in the proposed project. That feedback was included in the RFP for developers to consider in their proposals.

Dollar Hill offers an ideal site for achievable housing, with easy access to TART bus routes, schools, North Lake Tahoe’s downtown centers of Tahoe City and Kings Beach and the Dollar Creek Trail.

Comstock’s Magazine Spotlights Placer County Housing Efforts

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Comstock’s Magazine writer Laurie Lauletta-Boshart spent several months researching and articulating a topic that is on the pages of every publication these days: housing. The housing crisis is not unique to our region or state, it doesn’t exist in just cities or only in rural areas. What is unique to our region is the complexity of working across jurisdictions, counties, and incorporated vs. unincorporated communities.

“Placer County Amps Up Housing Efforts” was published in November 2018. The piece impressively captures the subtle nuances of addressing and developing housing solutions for a county as diverse and geographically expansive as Placer. Through interviews and follow up questions with those leading the charge together, Lauletta-Boshart paints a picture of the collaboration necessary to solve such a profound and systemic issue.

Stacy Caldwell, CEO of Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, the facilitating organization of the Mountain Housing Council, spoke with Lauletta-Boshart several times. While many people are familiar with the work of the Mountain Housing Council’s 29 stakeholders and the collaborative work done to serve specifically North Tahoe-Truckee, fewer people may be aware of the cross-regional work occurring behind the scenes. For example, Caldwell and Victoria Blake, Placer Community Foundation CEO, have been in frequent communication via phone and in person.

“Placer Community Foundation CEO and Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation have both designed the best approach and program to coordinate our communities to mobilize around solutions. We are in constant conversation around our strategies, seek opportunities to advocate at the state level and both of our organizations participate in the Housing Committee of the League of California Community Foundations,” said Caldwell.

Read the entire article here.