No seriously folks, I’m totally doing it. So because it’s Spring Break next week for those of us with kids in the Alameda Unified school system, I’m not actually going to have any content for next week.
Instead I’ll just be posting open forum threads and folks can comment or veer off topic if they like. If you haven’t already noticed I have enabled nested comments. I tried doing that a while back but folks seemed resistant, but now, I’m bring them back for the open forum posts because then people can reply directly to a comment as opposed to referencing the person or the comment number.
I’m not going to be doing much moderating so please play as nicely as you possibly can.
But before that, one thing about the recent op-ed in the Alameda Journal which I’ve seen quoted around.
First sets up the scenario with big numbers about the housing element and potential projects in the pipeline:
The city should also charge developers huge sums of money to build in Alameda. Oakland is planning to charge developers between $20,000 and $34,000 for every market-priced unit they build. San Francisco is doing the same — and both cities will dedicate that money to pay for more affordable housing.
Then the writer asks:
What has Alameda gotten per unit from the developers who are building market-priced units on the Island, and how much of whatever money they got is going to fund affordable housing? There’s an election in less than eight months, everyone should be paying attention.
Well, with a bit more research the writer would have learned that the plan that Oakland is proposing is for development impact fees. From an Oakland Tribune columnist:
The idea is that by requiring developers to pay a certain amount for every new unit of residential construction, the city can raise funds to build more affordable housing, in addition to helping mitigate the impacts more residents bring to traffic, transit and parks, libraries, and police and fire services.
Some 30 Bay Area cities already have impact fees. Oakland, which has emerged as one of the most expensive rental markets in the country, has been preparing to adopt its own fee for more than two years.
And with even more basic research the writer would have learned that Alameda has had development impact fees on the books since 2001 and as recently as 2014 performed a nexus study to increase the development impact fees.
Additionally, Alameda has had inclusionary housing requirements on the books for many years. Alameda’s inclusionary housing requirement mandates that new developments over a certain number must provide 15% of the units as affordable housing. At Alameda Point it’s 25%.
While Oakland is asking for an additional impact fee for affordable housing alone in addition to a more general development impact fee, it is waived if the developer builds on-site affordable housing (much like an inclusionary housing requirement):
An applicant would not be subject to the Affordable Housing Impact Fee if they provide a certain level of affordable housing within the development project.
So to answer the writer’s question:
What has Alameda gotten per unit from the developers who are building market-priced units on the Island, and how much of whatever money they got is going to fund affordable housing?
Alameda has gotten about $20K per single family market rate unit from developers in addition to public art requirements, inclusionary housing requirements, TDM programs, municipal service district agreements, etc and so forth.
But I supposed it’s more politically expedient to pose a rhetorical question that would have been easily answered with a phone call to City Hall or just a few Google searches.