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Publication Date: Friday, July 13, 2001

Council pushes back Housing Impact Fee meeting Council pushes back Housing Impact Fee meeting (July 13, 2001)

Members cite desire for more information

By Justin Scheck

The Housing Impact Fee, a proposed city measure that would have commercial developers pay a fee to help build housing, has bounced around the pinball machine of city government for months, and it appears it will continue to do so until at least October.

The Environmental Planning Commission held extended discussions on the fee throughout the winter, many of which revolved around a state-mandated nexus study to determine if development of office properties truly affects the city's jobs-housing imbalance.

After the study gave legal confirmation to what city officials had suspected-that building office space rather than housing contributes to Mountain View's housing shortage for its workers-the planning commission recommended in March that the city implement a fee of $2 per square foot of hotel and retail space, and $6 per square foot for office and high-tech space, with lower rates for smaller projects and non-profits.

The revenue from the fee would go to build worker housing.

City staff recommended the council agendize the item for a July 31 public hearing, but at a Tuesday meeting the council decided to put off the hearing until at least Oct. 7.

The council voted 6-1 to postpone the hearing, with Council member Rosemary Stasek the lone dissenting vote.

Asked if she knew why the issue was postponed, Stasek said "not a clue... I'm still confused as to why we postponed it."

Council member Sally Lieber, who recommended the delay, said she expected the item to come to the council in September, and had told constituents that it would be dealt with in the fall. She said she would like the council to study the item further before holding a hearing, but the council takes a break in August, and council members may be away in September.

You don't get a quality product by fast-tracking something," said Lieber. "When we're talking about a fee that's going to be permanent in its duration I don't think waiting for the next available meeting when we'll have a full council after the break is a deal-breaker."


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