San Luis Obispo County Approves Inclusionary Housing Overhaul

Kimberly Heaton

On March 12, the San Luis Obsipo County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in favor of a major amendment to the County's existing Inclusionary Housing Ordinance. The updated policy, which takes effect July 1, would require that developers make 8 percent of their units affordable or pay in-lieu fees that are tiered based on a home’s square footage.

Keyser Marston Associates (KMA) was hired by the County to assist in updating affordable housing in-lieu fee requirements for residential and non-residential development, part of KMA's assignment was to provide a fianancial analysis and nexus study.  Ensuring the financial feasibliity of programs is a cornerstone approach to our inclusionary work.   KMA ultimately recommended modifying the County’s in-lieu fee to a tiered fee structure to address a variety of policy objectives.

Affordable housing advocates as well as home builders supported the amendment to the ordinance and consider it an important piece of policy to help address the shortage of affordable housing countywide.  While the previous inclusionary ordinance generated roughly $25,000 annually, the new ordinance is estimated to bring in up to $1 million.