Pacifica City Council created a formula and potential scenarios for staff to study to make park development facilities impact fees affordable to encourage below-market builders and ensure they can still recoup their investment in developments.

The city is undergoing a study of park development facilities impact fees to raise them to bring in more money needed for parks. The formula was based on the city’s current Regional Housing Needs Allocation for the various income categories and contemplates housing in the city through 2040, said Sam Bautista, deputy director of the Public Works Department. The work was done at the March 28 City Council meeting.

City Council specified the developments should be deed restricted to ensure housing affected by reduced fees remains affordable. Deed restricted affordable housing are units that have a use restriction that limits the rent or purchase price and requires occupancy by low income people for a set period of time, Bautista said. They gave direction to deed restricted accessory dwelling units as well created consistency in their formula.

For moderate income people, those who earn 80 to 120 percent of the area median income, council chose a 75 percent reduction of the maximum rate. The rate will be available for an expected 291 units.

City Council provided two potential scenarios for low income people — those earning 50 to 80 percent of the area median income. One calls for a 50 percent reduction of the maximum rate and one for 25 percent reduction of the maximum rate. This would affect an expected 310 units.

Completely exempt from the park development facilities impact fees are the expected 538 very low income units for those earning less than 50 percent of area median income.

City Council will discuss a final resolution of the park development facilities impact fees at the City Council meeting on April 25, said Bautista.

The city’s park development facilities impact fees haven’t been updated since 2012. Currently, park development facilities impact fees generate an average of $150,352 per year which is not enough to maintain the city’s existing level of services, he said.

The goal of this effort to update the park development facilities impact fees is to ensure there is adequate funding to acquire land, build new parks and improve existing parks, Bautista said.

The city plans to use revenues to purchase parkland or construct improvements to add to the system of park and recreation facilities needed to serve new development, rehabilitate park facilities and acquire new parkland, Bautista said.

Carlos Villarreal of Willdan Financial Services said, for residential development, the fee is based on the number of bedrooms. If a homeowner wants to add a bedroom, they would pay $6,349 for a park development facilities impact fee, he said.

When the fees are raised, Pacifica will go from $5,887 per year to $50,938 per year with a 5-acre level of service, Villarreal said. Half Moon Bay charges $7,764 for a similar service area, he said. South San Francisco charges $29,124 for a 3-acre level of service, he said.

Bautista said City Council asked about reductions for affordable housing at a prior meeting. A 100 percent fee exemption would result in a loss of approximately $2 million of park development facilities impact fees, while 75 percent exemptions would impact loss of fees of $1.5 million, 50 percent by $1 million, and 25 percent reduction of $500,000 from 2021 to 2040, he said.

Villarreal said state law exempts any ADU smaller than 750 square feet from park development facilities impact fees, but the city can charge on ADUs larger than 750 square feet in proportion to the size of the primary dwelling unit.

To answer a question by Councilmember Mike O’Neill about what the park development facilities impact fees buy, Villarreal said it is the standard cost to improve a park acre. It does not include recreation centers, only neighborhood parks.

“We need to have an incentive for affordable housing,” said Councilmember Sue Beckmeyer.

Mayor Mary Bier brought up more reductions, but agreed with her fellow council members on the formula they chose.

“We are talking about money for parks the city doesn’t have,” said City Manager Kevin Woodhouse. “We are talking about maintenance and money to buy parks we don’t have.”

“Our two biggest categories are very low income

and low income,” said Assistant City Manager Tina Wehrmeister. “We would have staff issue the deed restriction process before building.”

Jane Northrop has covered Pacifica for the Pacifica Tribune since 1996. She has won first place John Swett Awards from the California Teachers Association for her coverage of education.

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