Affordable/workforce housing being addressedBy: Placer County Supervisor Robert Weygandt
I have some good news to report this month about the future of affordable and workforce housing in Placer County.
At the Placer County Board of Supervisors’ first meeting in August, the board unanimously approved a new comprehensive plan to address the growing lack of affordable and workforce housing in the county.
You may have seen or heard news reports in recent months that Placer County is continuing to grow as a highly desirable place to live. When you combine that news with the Sacramento region’s and the Bay Area’s housing markets are rising at a rapid pace, it’s not hard to understand why affordable and workforce housing can be difficult to find and why we need to take action.
I am delighted that so many people have chosen or want to make our county their home. Placer has so much to offer, but we must take measures to ensure that there is a home for people of every economic status.
County staff has prepared a one-year work plan that includes actions to increase the supply of affordable housing in the near- and long-terms and further reduce the regulatory barriers to housing construction.
It approaches the housing problem through four main areas: creating more incentives to build affordable and workforce housing, changing regulations to make building easier, advocating for state and federal assistance, and furthering partnerships for meeting regional housing needs.
One aspect of the plan includes developing a new funding strategy to build more affordable housing. While they are just ideas at this point, possible future funding options could include dedicating a certain amount of transient occupancy tax revenue (collected from overnight guests of hotels and vacation homes) to fund workforce housing or possibly developing an in-lieu fee program as an alternative way for developers to satisfy their affordable housing obligations, among other possible sources.
While county staff did conduct some development fee studies for the board’s consideration and guidance, I and several of my fellow board members are reluctant to pursue a fee program right away, and instead are opting for regulatory changes and incentives as a better start.
Additional next steps include completing an inventory of available public lands in the region that have potential to site workforce housing and developing a new county ordinance governing tiny homes and emerging group housing options, expected to come to the board in October.
I am also very excited at the prospect of a new affordable housing development planned for the proposed Placer County Government Center campus in North Auburn, which brings together county services and community amenities in one vibrant area.
The challenge of affordable housing is a tough one and one that faces most communities in the state, so it will take time and a lot of collaboration to solve. But we are off to a very strong start with this plan and we are committed to helping make sure that Placer County remains a place we can all call home.
Robert Weygandt is the Placer County supervisor for District 2, which covers Lincoln, Sheridan, and the western portions of Rocklin and Roseville. To contact Weygandt, call (530) 889-4010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.