Southern California homebuilders applauded the decision by the city of Lancaster last week to reduce and delay development fees and urged other communities in the region to quickly follow suit.
“Homes being built today are greener than ever and designed for 21st century lifestyles,” said Holly Schroeder, CEO of the Los Angeles/Ventura Chapter of the Building Industry Association of Southern California. “But fees charged by local cities, counties and school districts that average $50,000 or more per home make it extremely difficult to make projects pencil out in today’s market.
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“We believe Lancaster’s action will spur construction there and urge other cities, school districts and other government agencies to follow suit and reduce and defer their fees to help us build more and help get the state’s economy moving again.”
The Lancaster City Council voted 4-0 to waive 25 percent of its development fees in existing housing developments, which will save homebuilders – and ultimately, homebuyers – about $2,800 per home. The city will also waive requirements that builders landscape back and side yards, which will save about $10,000 per home.
The city is also delaying collection of fees for commercial and industrial projects until the developments are completed, rather than before construction begins.
“Lancaster expects a win-win by reducing its fees, because the expected increase in building is expected to actually increase revenues to the city and create more than 200 jobs,” Schroeder said. “A similar stimulus plan in 2010 resulted in the construction of more than 100 homes, and we’re hopeful yesterday’s action will generate similar increases.”