Truckee council increases in-lieu housing fee for developers | SierraSun.com

Truckee council increases in-lieu housing fee for developers

Hannah Jones
hjones@sierrasun.com

In an effort to continue combating the lack of affordable housing in Truckee, the town has increased the in-lieu housing fee which developers are required to pay if they are not able to provide affordable housing units in their project.

In 2017 a $87,718 in-lieu fee was approved by council based off a study done by BAE Urban Economics, which came to that number by calculating 20 percent of the average cost of construction of one unit. The fee is expected to be updated annually.

Using today's average home value from the Tahoe Sierra board of realtors database, construction costs from the Engineering News Record and Nevada County income limits, staff determined that the fee could be increased to $93,783.

For projects involving one unit or lot a standard of 15 percent of the in-lieu fee is required or $14,067. For projects with six new units 90 percent of the fee is required or $84,404.

In the past, the town has used in-lieu fee funds to partner with developers on projects including Henness Flats and Frishman Hollow, according to Yumie Dahn, associate planner for the town of Truckee.

The funds have also gone towards first time home buyers assistance programs and housing studies. Dahn said the town currently has a reserve of around $500,000 in in-lieu fees after deducting the funds that the town has committed to ongoing projects.

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"We have many projects that have money dedicated to them that haven't called that money yet," said Dahn, including the 76 units at the Truckee Artist Lofts. "I'd say the one major residential project is Coburn Crossing and that is actually providing it's affordable housing on site."

Current ordinances require at least 15 percent of the units included in a residential project to be affordable while non-residential projects provide affordable housing based off the number of employees it generates. The in-lieu fee exists to provide an alternative for smaller projects, those that have less than even units or generate less than seven employees, to fulfill those housing requirements.

In June, the town council voted to fully reactivate the existing Workforce Housing Ordinance that would require non-residential projects to supply affordable housing units for their employees within the project. In 2011, 2012, and 2013 council temporarily suspended the ordinance for a year to encourage development in Truckee during economic downturn. In 2015 the ordinance was reactivated with modifications.

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