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SLO County raises developer fees to help fund affordable housing

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In what's expected to be a temporary move, San Luis Obispo County supervisors voted on March 12 to raise the fees charged to developers of market-rate homes in order to boost the county's low-income housing coffers.

The new inclusionary housing fees—supported by local building groups, housing advocates, and economic leaders—are expected to raise $1 million per year for affordable housing projects. They charge per-square-foot of every new home built larger than 2,200 square-feet, so the amount of that fee increases with the size of the home.

NEW FEES The SLO County Board of Supervisors raised the fees charged to developers of market-rate homes on March 13 in order to boost the county's low-income housing coffers. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • File Photo By Jayson Mellom
  • NEW FEES The SLO County Board of Supervisors raised the fees charged to developers of market-rate homes on March 13 in order to boost the county's low-income housing coffers.

Last year, county supervisors set out to overhaul the fee structure after a previous five-year phase-in approach stalled and failed to generate adequate revenue. A coalition of community groups including the homebuilders' association, nonprofit housing groups, and the SLO Chamber of Commerce convened and recommended a set of measures, including the fee revisions, that could create $2 million to $4 million per year for affordable housing.

"I am supportive of this today," said 1st District Supervisor John Peschong. "The problem has been in this county that we're not building houses. They can't keep up with the demand. We do need to get some money into the system."

The fees are likely to remain in effect for three years while the county evaluates a new vacation rental impact fee and other funding sources, like a sales tax or bond, to support affordable housing. If that revenue comes to fruition, a majority of supervisors expressed interest in repealing the inclusionary housing fees. Δ

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