Developer funds may build up city coffers 

Developers could be asked to pay more than $200 million in fees in the coming decades for child care sites, parks and fire services to keep up with the number of new residents projected by 2025.

A new city report reviews the fees San Francisco charges, looks at population and employment growth forecasts, and reviews fees charged in other areas.

Currently, The City requires developers to contribute to San Francisco’s below-market-rate housing stock and has wastewater impact fees for residential developments. Additionally, members of the Board of Supervisors have required developers to pay special fees for certain projects, including those in the newly approved Market-Octavia plan and for the Rincon Hill towers. Generally, commercial developments, in certain areas, pay transportation, wastewater, child care and park impact fees.

The City — which is facing a projected $338 million budget deficit for the next fiscal year — can legally increase impact fees citywide on all new developments.

Depending on the type of development and number of bedrooms, the study found The City could charge developers per unit between $1,493 to $2,272 for child care, $3,078 to $7,854 for parks and $227 to $688 for fire services.

The report projects The City will see 55,871 more residents, 24,505 more housing units and 83,807 more employees — not including developments in Mission Bay, Rincon Hill and Visitacion Valley.

Residential Builders Association President Sean Keighran, who had not seen the report, cautioned that additional fees could "kill the goose that lays the golden egg," saying housing development brings millions annually to the operating budget through property taxes.

A study of the financial feasibility of the new fees is being conducted by the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and is expected by the end of May, according to Michael Cohen, director of OEWD.

"The hard work on figuring out what is the appropriate fee package still has to come," Cohen said, adding that "we have to be extraordinarily cautious not loading up the Christmas tree so much that projects don’t get built."

According to the report’s projections, The City will require three additional fire stations, as well as additional engines, trucks and a medic unit to keep up with San Francisco’s growth. The estimated cost for the additional facilities is $27.4 million. Another $167.7 million is projected for park acquisitions and improvements to serve new development. Funds needed to develop new child care facilities add up to $48.9 million, according to the report.

"Developments need to recognize the impacts they have on communities" said Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who said he had not yet seen the report.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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