Council reactivates suspended workforce housing ordinance | SierraSun.com

Council reactivates suspended workforce housing ordinance

Hannah Jones
hjones@sierrasun.com

Last week the Truckee Town Council voted to fully reactivate an existing Workforce Housing Ordinance that would require development projects to supply affordable housing units for their employees within the project.

"I'm glad we're reinstating it," said Council Member Morgan Goodwin before the council unanimously voted to restore the original ordinance.

In 2009 the original ordinance was adopted to address the need for affordable housing units for employees. The Town Council adopted resolutions in 2011, 2012 and 2013 to temporarily suspend the ordinance for a year each in response to an economic downturn and decrease in development. The council suspended it with hopes of encouraging development in Truckee.

In 2015 the ordinance was reactivated with modifications in which a sliding scale reduction was applied to the requirement. The tiered implementation, as referred to by the council, was supported for two years. Once the two years passed the council was expected to reinstate the original ordinance. In November last year the council addressed the ordinance but decided to continue it in its modified form until a revised ordinance is adopted.

The staff report presented last week stated that "failure to implement the Workforce Housing Ordinance will likely contribute to the increasing pay gap between available jobs and available affordable housing opportunities for the local workforce."

The adopted ordinance as of the last council meeting calculates the amount of housing needed in a project based on land use, square footage and full-time employee generation and includes a calculation to determine the amount of employees needed at a location.

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For commercial use the calculation determines one employee for every 500 square feet of gross floor area and one employee for every 1,000 square feet for industrial uses. Businesses may also submit justification and documentation of what their actual employee generation would be.

Projects that generate less than seven full-time employees are exempt from requirements. Once a project generates more employees there is a tiered structure for small, medium and large projects to determine the number of units required.

Small projects are required to build four market rate units and one affordable unit. Medium projects must build 15 market rate units and five affordable units with large projects needing 144 market rate units and 56 affordable units.

The ordinance requires the housing units in a development project to be "substantially completed by the time 50 percent of the development project is occupied."

Development code requires the council to review the ordinance every year.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Truckee Sun. She can be reached at hjones@truckeesun.com or 503-550-2652.