Efforts to increase housing options in San Luis Obispo County are moving forward with the county supervisors’ unanimous passage of two fee-related measures on September 26, 2017.

The measures are part of a package of reforms coming before the county this fall that are rooted in policy recommendations put forward by the Chamber, the Home Builders Association of the Central Coast and the Economic Vitality Corporation to reduce the housing affordability crisis.

“These are two small fixes that help us move in the right direction,” said Chamber Director of Economic Development Melissa James. “But no one policy fixes it all. It’s the collection of reforms done in unison that will move us forward.”

The unanimous passage is another clear statement from the supervisors that generating more housing affordable to middle- and low-income houses is a priority.

The first measure scales fees to unit size, meaning that developers will pay smaller fees for smaller units rather than a flat per-unit fee that incentivizes developers to build larger, less affordable homes.

The second measure allows developers to defer paying fees until they sell the units, reducing the financial risk and carrying costs that prevent some projects from moving forward and raise prices on those that do.

With up-front fees, many developers are forced to finance, adding interest to their building costs. With this measure, the county joins 50 other jurisdictions that have adopted fee deferrals.

The unanimous passage is another clear statement from the supervisors that generating more housing affordable to middle- and low-income houses is a priority.

As part of the larger Housing Reform Package, county staff secured funding in 2017-2018 county budget earlier this year to identify and map locations best suited for additional housing as well as those facing constraints from infrastructure, water or land use regulations.

The budget also funds a study to explore allowing granny units in certain residential zones in unincorporated areas, aiming to reduce costs and remove barriers for additional rental housing.

As these measures move forward, the Chamber will continue working with our regional partners advocating for housing policy reforms targeted at unlocking opportunities for the creation of more housing through improvements to planning and development processes, zoning and infrastructure.