Originally published in the Sierra Sun
Truckee is moving forward with plans to incentivize construction of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, to provide more affordable housing stock in the town.
The town currently has $2 million set aside in general housing designation funds and is planning to put $500,000 toward an ADU program. The plan is geared to making housing available to the “missing middle,” or those who make too much money to qualify for affordable housing programs and too little to buy a house.
“The goal here is to create local housing for a broader range of income levels,” said Truckee Mayor David Tirman.
On Aug. 30, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 670, created and sponsored by the town of Truckee, which forbids homeowner associations from prohibiting secondary units. Additionally the state has eliminated parking requirements for ADUs and changed zoning requirements to allow ADUs in multi-family zones.
In order to promote ADU construction in Truckee, a staff report says the town must simplify the process and ADU ordinance, create a marketing campaign and provide financial incentives.
One option that the General Plan Advisory Committee suggested was paying for building permits and impact fees in exchange for deed-restricted units.
Town staff will return to the council in February with a status and timeline on an ADU program. Staff will also look at other programs that the remaining $1.5 million could go toward.
“These do take awhile,” said Town Manager Jeff Loux. “It’s important that we spend the money wisely.”
Other potential uses for the money include a program that pays homeowners to deed-restrict their homes or home buyer assistance programs.
North Tahoe residents looking to purchase a home already have access to the Martis Fund home buyer assistance program to provide extra financial resources to purchase a home.
Tirman suggested the town use a portion of the money to partner with the Martis Fund.
The program offers loans up to $50,000, or 10% of the purchase price. In addition, interest is deferred for the life of the loan or until the house is sold. Since 2016 the Martis Fund has put $1.4 million into the program and housed 32 families, according to Heidi Allstead, executive director of the Martis Fund. Recently the Martis Fund Board of Directors allocated another $500,000 to the down payment assistance program.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.