The Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee (MHC) has released an in-depth analysis of the fees developers pay when building new housing projects in the North Tahoe-Truckee region. The council has proposed fee restructuring recommendations in order to incentivize more achievable local housing projects in the region.

Lowering Barriers to Private Investment: How Fee Incentives Can Help Achievable Local Housing Projects was published by the council in November 2018. The council is a coalition of 29 regional stakeholders with the mission of accelerating housing solutions in North Tahoe-Truckee. The 15-page document examines the current fee landscape, compares local fees with those of other regions, and proposes that fee deferrals and new fee structures could potentially lower barriers for the development of achievable local housing.

North Tahoe-Truckee has 18 fee-charging agencies that use different methodologies to calculate fees, making for a complex environment for developers.

“Fees can be a make-or-break factor in achievable local housing projects where margins are razor-thin and many of the other costs, like land prices and construction budgets, are fixed,” said Stacy Caldwell, CEO of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, which facilitates the Mountain Housing Council.“We’ve recommended common-sense policies that can preserve agencies’ budgets while also delivering valuable incentives to developers interested in building new achievable local housing.” 

The Mountain Housing Council recommends three main actions: 

• Make Fees Scalable: Scalable fees can be calculated per square foot, bedroom, or fixture rather than flat per-unit fees. This brings down fees for smaller housing units, which are more affordable simply by their design. 

• Offer Fee Deferrals: Deferring fees until after a home or apartment is occupied will reduce developers’ financing costs for projects that meet the definition of achievable local housing (affordable for residents making up to 195% annual median income).Deferrals could save a developer between $171,325 – $287,133 in financing costs on a 77-unit, multi-family housing project. 

• Revise ADU Policy: Complying with state guidelines that make it easier to build ADUs (accessory dwelling units/secondary housing units/“granny flats”) will encourage more homeowners to build ADUs — a promising source of new achievable local housing. 

The MHC has sent the report to all 18 regional fee-charging agencies with a request that they discuss the recommendations at an upcoming board meeting within the next six months. 

The full fee document can be found at: https://mountainhousingcouncil.org/fees/ 

The Mountain Housing Council of Tahoe Truckee is comprised of 29 committed stakeholders committed to their mission of accelerating achievable local housing solutions. Learn more at mountainhousingcouncil.org