Comstock's magazine 0119 - January 2019 - Page 40

n DEVELOPMENT attention: The Mountain Housing Council calculates that un- der a per-unit system, a hypothetical multifamily project of 15 apartments of 1,000 square feet each would pay $375,000. Under the per-square-foot plan, that would be $270,000. Loux says it’s too soon to tell whether Truckee’s adjustments are having an effect on developers’ willingness to build, but the fee deferral policy appears to have factored into getting a new apartment project underway. Next spring, Triumph Develop- ment will finalize Coburn Crossing, a multifamily housing com- plex of 138 market-rate rental apartments , including 33 studios and 54 one-bedrooms. Triumph co-founder and principal Steve Virostek says the fees on that project ran as high as $500,000, so the deferrals were critical, saving them substantially on upfront equity and interest costs. “Employee and workforce housing projects need every bit of help they can get, so those were less dollars out of our pockets upfront, which made the deal easier to swallow,” he says. Truckee developers have an additional fee-related ask. They’d like to see a housing coordinator hired who could help them navigate the fees charged by the 18 special districts in the North Tahoe-Truckee region, like public utility, school and water districts. Kristi Thompson, of Truckee-based MWA Inc., says that one big developer was stymied by that maze of spe- cial districts — he had to go back to his partners to rework the financing when one district gave him an incorrect estimate, an outcome that a housing coordinator could have prevented, she says. Alternatively, a Mountain Housing Council study suggest- ed the creation of a single-fee point where developers could go for accurate estimates and a one-stop permit processing center that would let them pay all of their fees at once. Early and accurate assessments of what they’ll owe in fees also encourage developers. The Terner Center report noted that of the seven cities studied, only Roseville had fee schedules that were detailed enough to let a developer estimate costs in ad- vance. In the others, schedules were so hard to find that calcula- tions for a hypothetical project were well-nigh impossible even with the help of municipal officials, according to the authors. Placer County is trying to help builders navigate that problem by creating an online fee calculator that lets them plug in various scenarios and get an accurate estimate, says Shawna Purvines, principal planner at the county’s Community Development/ Resource Agency. THE VALUE OF SIGNALING There’s wide agreement that Sacramento’s waiver decision is the boldest yet in using fee changes to get affordable housing built. Garcia says he hasn’t heard of another city of comparable size doing anything similar. And Purvines says she’s watching the ACT! SOFTWARE COACHING AND SUPPORT Act! Free 14 Day Trial User Training and Coaching Personalized Support, Plain English Contact me for a complimentary 30 minute needs assessment, or a free trail of Act! version 21. CRM & Marketing Automation built for small business success! 406.493.7047 40 | January 2019 Chris Pumphrey, ACC 30 years hands-on experience