Placer supes affordable housing fee discussion bumped to spring

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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It will be well into the new year before Placer County supervisors take another look at establishing a $5.95 per-square-foot fee for smaller western Placer County subdivision developers in lieu of building affordable housing onsite.

Under a plan supported by staff, developers with larger projects would be required to build affordable housing within a subdivision if they don’t qualify for the fee.

Supervisors had first heard the proposal in October but put off a decision until staff came back with more information. At Tuesday’s board meeting, Principal Planner Shawna Purvines said a stakeholder group is being formed to look at the fee proposal, with an initial session likely in December.

Anticipated participants include the North State Building Industry Association, Placer County Association of Realtors, Legal Services of Northern California and the Placer County Community Foundation, she said.

The Board of Supervisors is to next hear about the issue in early spring.

Under a proposal heard in October, supervisors were asked to approve a “no fee option” for specific plans and larger general-plan-amendment projects.

But if onsite construction is proven to not be possible, the fee would be $5.95 per square foot plus a 3 percent administrative fee that would be applied to pay for offsite, market-rate residential construction.

Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery said the development community has concerns about building affordable housing onsite but said that her own neighborhood has a mix and it works well.

“We get along very well - we all eat the same hot dogs at picnics,” Montgomery said. “The idea of ‘oh my gosh’ mixing low-income people with high-end development. It’s going to create a more vibrant community.”

Supervisor Kirk Uhler called for an “open mind” on the issue and consider the differences in service costs between development in urban areas versus rural, unincorporated parts of the county.