The affordable housing development at the old Island High School site on Eagle Street has reduced the number of units from 22 to 20 in order to stay within budget. This project has been under review since November 2015 and who knows that the final disposition will be on Monday night at the Planning Board and if it will face any challenges that will take it to the City Council.
We have a desperate need for housing, particularly affordable housing, and we can’t seem to approve or get any built with any kind of urgency.
There’s this great tool developed by UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation that shows the likelihood of a development getting built in the Bay Area based on a series of parameters. One of the factors that cause the development to go from a maybe to unlikely or likely is the length of time to get approvals:
In the permit process, time is money. Though only a small chunk of the investor’s money is spent up front, the investor still requires an annual return on that sum. The longer the permit process takes, the more profitable the project must be when it’s finally constructed. Shorter permit times — such as shortening building permit wait times or plan checks — can mean significant savings.
It’s an interesting tool to play around with if you’re interested in the calculus of how the decision is made on where to build and what to build.
Now this particular project is being built by the Housing Authority so it will get done, but the more money that is expended just in the planning portion means that there is less money for higher quality finishes or future projects.