BIA Unveils Impact Fee Study
Home-builders and developers know firsthand that excessive development impact fees contribute to the high cost of housing in California. Experts at the Legislative Analyst's Office and just about everywhere else agree. But how is the public to really know where those dollars are going, if they are being spent wisely or if the fees are justified? BIA|Bay Area set out to try and answer those questions and more in its newly released report, "San Francisco Bay Area Development Impact Fees: Can You -- Can Anybody? -- Follow the Money?" Click HERE to download the report. For questions or to request the data collected for this report, contact BIA|Bay Area's East Bay Executive Director for Governmental Affairs Lisa Vorderbrueggen at 925-348-1956 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BACKGROUND: BIA's governmental affairs staff analyzed nearly 140 annual development impact fee reports filed by 20 San Francisco Bay Area jurisdictions during the past seven years. The annual disclosures are required under the state's Mitigation Fee Act. As the association's study shows, some of the critical data that is supposed to be made available to the public was late, missing, inconsistent, incomplete or nearly impossible to comprehend without an engineering degree. One agency surveyed, for example, had not reported on 66 traffic and flood district fees since at least 2006 and only recently began reporting its 10-year-old park impact fee.
Why does it matter?
Combined, the 19 cities and one county surveyed reported collecting $1.14 billion in impact fees during this time period, much of it from new housing. Multiply these findings across the Bay Area and it is very likely that tens of millions of dollars in impact fees went unreported or minimally disclosed.
At a time when the Bay Area is suffering under the crushing weight of an unprecedented housing crisis, no one really knows -- not even the agencies that collect the money -- how much of the problem is directly attributable to the myriad fees charged on new homes or whether we are getting our money's worth.