PLEASANTON -- The City Council's recent meeting to explore the idea of increasing developer fees used to fund affordable housing resulted in a decision to, well, study it some more.

Council members held a joint meeting with the city's Housing Commission on Oct. 22 to discuss the issue, but no action was required.

"Their decision was to look into lower-income housing fees, concurrent with a review of other development impact fees," said Assistant City Manager Steve Bocian. "They would like to have that done within eight months."

The city's lower-income housing fees were established in the late 1970s to allow developers to pay fees in lieu of building homes for low-income residents. Those fees are placed in the city's Lower Income Housing Fund, which Pleasanton spends on aiding the construction of affordable housing. The fund's current balance is $16.4 million, Bocian said.

Currently, those fees are about $10,700 for single-family houses larger than 1,500 square feet; $2,655 for single-family homes smaller than 1,500 square feet, and for apartment complexes and other multifamily housing; and $2.83 per square foot for commercial and industrial buildings.

Economic Planning Systems Inc., the consultant firm hired to study the issue, presented four options to council members for changing those fee figures, including:

  • Retaining current fees with no change to policy.

  • Retaining current fees for one year to assess impacts on development and processing fee adjustments.

  • Increasing fees by 10 percent for single-family homes and 5 percent for commercial and multifamily housing.

  • Significantly increasing the fees to "full mitigation," boosting the cost to $27,187 for larger single-family houses; $18,265 for smaller single-family homes; $15,694 for multifamily housing; and $4.67 per square foot for commercial and industrial developments.

    Staff employees recommended choosing either the first option, keeping the status quo, or option three, increasing developer fees but at a much lower rate than option four. The city's next step is to perform a more comprehensive review of the fee structures and their potential impacts on future development, officials said. Which direction the City Council is leaning toward is not yet been known, Bocian said.

    "It depends on how aggressive they want to be in pursuing certain types of affordable housing," he said.

    Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.

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