The County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to ditch the proposed $15-per-square-foot permit fee increase intended to pay for the affordable housing program.
As reported by the Santa Cruz Sentinel:
County Board ditches controversial housing fees Key Measure J requirement kept, too
By Jason Hoppin
The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors came up with a new affordable housing plan on Tuesday that, with a few small changes, looks a lot like its old plan. Faced with the loss of millions in affordable housing money annually after redevelopment agencies across the state were nixed, the county has spent months coming up with a new scheme of development fees that it hoped would bolster depleted coffers aimed at helping people who can’t afford Santa Cruz County’s high cost of living. That scheme contained two controversial elements — eliminating a 36-year-old requirement to build affordable housing as part of large housing developments, and applying a fee of $15 per square foot to all new home developments, including single family residences. With a 4-1 vote, the board eliminated both of those changes. “I think the (requirement to build affordable housing) is good,” Supervisor John Leopold said. “It has been talked about by the people of Santa Cruz County, and they’re not recommending it to go away.” Under Measure J, passed in 1978, developers of projects five units or more are required to set aside 15 percent of the units for buyers who meet certain in come limits. That provision has provided only about 14 affordable units annually since it went into effect. A county consultant suggested allowing developers to in stead pay into an affordable housing fund in the hopes of freeing up the market.