• Walnut Creek Looks At Fee Hikes

  • The City of Walnut Creek has released updates to its affordable housing impact fee nexus studies and associated feasibility analyses for market-rate residential, rental and commercial development. Based on the fee studies, city staff has recommended a series of policy changes and fee increases. (Click here to view the staff report.) The city intends to hold a stakeholder meeting in May and present proposed ordinances to the Planning Commission and City Council in June and July.

    Broadly speaking, the city appears poised to consider increasing its affordable housing impact fee from $15 per sq. ft. to $24 per sq. ft., a rate supported as economically feasible by the city's consultants with Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. The city also looking at eliminating the tiered fee structure for projects with 2 to 9 units, removing the exemption for an application to construct one house and allowing second units to qualify as an inclusionary unit. In addition, the city is evaluating whether or not it should adopt a straight affordable housing impact fee program and move away from an inclusionary system.

    BIA will participate in the stakeholder discussions and prepare comments and testimony. Interested BIA members should review the staff report and provide input to East Bay Government Affairs Executive Director Lisa Vorderbrueggen at 95-348-1956 or lvorderbrueggen@biabayarea.org. If there is sufficient interest, she will convene a conference call among BIA members for further discussion.

    In a related matter, the City Council has also completed an analysis of the feasibility of the city's total development fee load. (Click here to view the staff report.) The consultants with Economic & Planning Systems conclude that future developments could withstand "modest" impact fee increases across all development types without adversely impacting the city's competitive position. (In addition to the affordable housing fee, the city is updating its traffic impact fee as part of the pending 2016-2018 capital budget vote in June.) Contrary to the staff report, however, the consultant's report shows that current development impact fees for multi-family projects in Walnut Creek already encroach into the maximum feasible cost range. (Click here to view the EPS addendum dated March 8, 2016, and go to Page 9.)