The Tooele City Council passed an ordinance amending the city code regarding impact fee waivers for affordable housing at a business meeting Wednesday.
The city council approved an update to the Tooele City General Plan to ensure it’s in compliance with Utah Senate Bill 34: Affordable Housing Modifications. SB 34 was passed in February 2019 and addressed a statewide concern of moderate-income homes proportionate to the state’s population.
Tooele City Code Chapter 4-15 governs development impact fees, which are intended to mitigate the impact of new growth on Tooele City system improvements, including water facilities, sewer facilities, police and fire buildings, as well as parks and recreation facilities.
The ordinance was presented to the City Council by Tooele City Attorney Roger Baker.
“This is a topic that we’ve discussed on a number of occasions previous to this evening at public work events, and we’ve had substantial input from the Tooele County Housing Authority and Utah Housing Corporation which provide access to federal tax credits for the purpose of providing affordable purchase and rent-to-own single family homes in Tooele City,” Baker said.
As outlined in Tooele City Code Chapter 4-15-5 pertaining to waivers, “the City Council may, but is not required to, waive the imposition of impact fees for construction of affordable housing up to $5,000 per unit.”
Tooele City has as existing waiver for impact fee units set at $5,000 per dwelling unit. The procedures for identifying those who are eligible are not contained at all in the current code, Baker said.
“The purpose of tonight’s ordinance is to accomplish two main objectives,” Baker said. “The first is to clearly identify who is eligible for the credits and to make sure that eligibility is linked to actual affordability so that the benefit accomplishes a decrease in the rental and purchase prices as opposed to becoming a development benefit. The second is to propose increasing the amount of the waiver from $5,000 to $10,000 per dwelling unit.”
According to the ordinance, the city desires to provide a greater incentive for the construction of affordable housing by increasing the current impact fee waiver from $5,000 per dwelling unit to $10,000 per dwelling unit, finding that the availability of additional affordable housing to Tooele City residents is in the best interests of the community.
Tooele City’s current development impact fees for a single-family house are set at $9,405. The individual impacts are as follows: $4,609 for culinary water, $2,290 for sewer water, $2,168 for parks and recreation, $137.29 for police and $200.59 for fire services.
Also amended in the Chapter 15 code is the definition of an “eligible affordable housing unit,” which is defined as a single-family and two-family dwelling that is constructed, rented and sold in partnership with the Tooele County Housing Authority.
The amendment indicates that “the Utah Housing Corporation partners with the Tooele County Housing Authority to obtain federal low-income housing credits to provide affordable housing for households making 60% of the area median income or less through purchase and rent-to-own programs, the success of which are assured through deed restrictions addressing rent control, sub-market purchase prices, owner/tenant verification, property maintenance, insurance, and other important program details.”
“I think this is a wonderful thing to help out our citizens,” said City Council chairman Steve Pruden. “Hopefully there are a few that will be able to take advantage of it.”
Baker said, “In fact, we have 12 houses in the entitlement process now that will be able to take advantage of this.”
The city council moved forward to unanimously adopt the ordinance amending Tooele City Code Chapter 15.