An earlier advisory about how Walnut Creek appeared to be backing away from increases in its affordable housing impact fee program was wildly optimistic. At a joint study session between the Walnut Creek City Council and the Planning Commission on May 11, 2017, the city's Housing Director Margot Ernst explained the absence of a fee recommendation in her staff report for the meeting this way: She had bifurcated the policy and fee portions of the discussion, with the fee portion of the debate scheduled for July. The City Council responded by declining to offer specific feedback on her recommended inclusionary percentage increases, saying that the percentages are inextricably linked to the affordable housing impact fee and they could not make decisions about one without the other. However, the council members expressed general support for higher inclusionary percentages along with strong interest for setting the fees high enough to either force developers to build the units on-site or outright eliminating the fee option for for-sale housing. What happens next? The city has hired EPS to conduct an economic feasibility analyses of all the city's fees on new development and come back in July and tell the council how much it can exact from projects before it kills them. The city is looking at increasing other development fees, as well, so the council will likely have to prioritize. For questions or comments, contact BIA’s Lisa Vorderbrueggen at 925-348-1956 or email@example.com
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