Affordable Housing Impact Fee

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has adopted an Affordable Housing Impact Fee. The new fee will be applicable to residential and non-residential development of certain types and sizes. The purpose of the fee is to offset the impact of new development on the need for affordable housing in San Mateo County; the fees will be collected in a dedicated trust fund used to finance affordable housing in the County.

The new fee goes into effect on August 8, 2016. Any development project application not accepted as complete prior to August 8 will be subject to the fee, if applicable. The basic fees are:

Housing Impact Fees for Residential Development Projects

Type of Residential Unit Fee Per Square Foot of Net New Residential Floor Area
Single-Family Detached Home (1 unit) $0 per square foot for first 2,500 sq ft
$5.00 per each square foot over 2,500
Single-Family Detached Home (2 to 4 units) $5 per square foot for first 2,500 sq ft
$12.50 per each square foot over 2,500
Single-Family Detached Home (5 or more units) $15
Townhomes & Condominiums (4 or fewer units)** $5 per square foot for first 2,500 sq ft
$12.50 per each square foot over 2,500
Apartments (any development size) $10

** Townhome and Condominium Developments that are 5 or more units are subject to the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance

Calculation of Square Footage

Housing impact fees for residential projects shall be calculated using the net new square footage of “Residential Floor Area” for the dwelling unit to which the housing impact fee relates. “Residential Floor Area” is defined as follows:

For Single-Family Detached Homes, Townhomes, and Condominiums, Residential Floor Area includes all horizontal areas of the several floors of such buildings measured from the exterior faces of exterior walls or from the center line of party walls separating two (2) buildings, minus the horizontal areas of such buildings used exclusively for parking. For Apartments, Residential Floor Area includes all horizontal areas of the several floors of such buildings measured from the exterior faces of exterior walls or from the center line of party walls separating two (2) buildings, minus the horizontal areas of such buildings used exclusively for covered porches, patios, or other outdoor space, amenities and common space, parking, elevators, stairwells or stairs between floors, hallways, and between- unit circulation.

Housing Impact Fees for Non-Residential Development Projects

Non-Residential Use Fee Per Square Foot of New Net Gross Floor Area
Hotel $10
Retail, Restaurants and Services $5
Office, Medical Office and Research and Development Uses $25

All Housing Impact Fees for Non-Residential Development Projects, including new construction and conversion of a residential use to a non-residential use, shall be calculated using the gross floor area of net new non-residential space, excluding structured parking. Projects up to and including 3,500 square feet of net new gross floor area shall be exempt from payment of the fee; projects generating in excess of 3,500 square feet of net new gross floor area shall pay the fee per square foot on the total net new gross floor area.

There are exemptions from the fee for various types of uses, including charitable purposes, second units, housing for the elderly and disabled, religious facilities, public recreation facilities and other uses. The full list of exemptions are in the Board of Supervisors’ adopted Resolution, below.

Waivers and modifications of the requirements of the applicable affordable housing impact fee may also be requested, for an initial deposit of $1,500, to be charged on a cost recovery basis, with time and other costs of review charged against the deposit.

Materials from the Board of Supervisors’ hearing adopting the impact fee program, and establishing the program details:

Affordable Housing Impact Fee Study: Residential and Non-Residential Development

Any jurisdiction adopting a new impact fee must establish that the fee is reasonably and proportionally related to the impact that the fee is intended to address. San Mateo County completed a study of the need for this fee, establishing the link between the impact of new development on the need for affordable housing, and the reasonable and feasible levels of fees that might be imposed to address that need. This “Nexus Study,” which provides detailed information on the analysis used to assess the need and to establish the levels of the fees, is available below.

Questions about Housing Impact Fees? Contact the Planning Counter with your questions at 650-363-1825.

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