The Oakland City Council voted Tuesday night to approve a new affordable housing impact fee, taking another step to address rapidly rising rents in the city.

As they did two weeks ago, when the council passed a 90-day moratorium on rent increases for most apartments in Oakland, community members packed the council chambers to call for broad action to curb the city’s escalating cost of living and halt displacement.

In the 18 months from August 2014 to March 2016, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Oakland increased 40 percent, from $1,600 to $2,250 a month, according to listing service Zumper.

“We don’t want to solve this problem in three years. We want to solve it now,” Oakland resident Margaret Cunningham told the council, echoing concerns from other speakers that the impact fee would not help anyone in the city currently struggling to secure housing.

The new ordinance permits the city to charge developers who want to build market-rate housing a one-time fee intended to help fund subsidized affordable housing. Previously, the city negotiated with developers on a case-by-case basis to determine if an impact fee would be paid and how much it would amount to.

The fee is determined based on the number of units in the development and differs based on three geographic zones. The ordinance will also usher in smaller transportation and capital improvement fees.

The impact fee ordinance was originally proposed in a report on the city’s housing crisis prepared by Oakland’s Department of Housing and Community Development and social-equity action group PolicyLink last year.

Though the impact fee is the first action the council has taken to directly address the city’s affordable housing shortage, the city administrator’s office expects it will only fund about 600 new affordable units over the next 10 years.

If all goes according to the city’s plan, the measure will take affect on Sept. 1.

Oakland City Council Approves New Affordable Housing Impact Fee 20 April,2016Lucas Waldron

  • WIltonguy45

    They just shot themselves in the foot, this will drastically effect development of new housing affordable or not. The more red tape you make and the more fees you tack on just turns developers away. A prime example again of government hacks messing in something they know nothing about.

  • dto510

    This is far from the first action taken by the Council to address Oakland’s housing shortage, it’s just the first action that anti-development activists have been pushing. In addition the video is full of misleading date – the median income and the median asking rental price cannot be combined into a statistic that most Oakland renters spend 73% of their income on rent – that’s simply not true.

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