The State of California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) recently announced that the County of Nevada, Community Development Agency-Planning Department has been approved from funding under the Regional Early Action Planning Grants Program (REAP). REAP provides one-time grant funding to regional governments and regional entities for planning activities that will accelerate housing production and facilitate compliance in implementing the sixth cycle of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation.
The Planning Department’s grant application outlined five projects focused on implementing two specific Board of Supervisors 2021 Objectives: Housing and Economic Development. In the coming months, the Planning Department will bring a Resolution to the Board to execute a Standard Agreement with HCD for fund distribution and the County will have until December 2023 to complete the projects outlined in the grant.
The projects include:
- Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Workbook: ($45,000) In collaboration with the Mother Lode Region counties of Amador, Calaveras and Mariposa, Nevada County desires to encourage the development of ADUs as one strategy to address the regional and statewide housing crisis. The workbook would be tool for homeowners and developers to encourage the development of ADUs with the intention of streamlining the ADU development process and providing guidance on how to approach on-site well and septic services for an ADU.
- Zoning Ordinance Amendment(s): ($75,000) The County’s Density Bonus and Senior Citizen/Disabled Housing Ordinances are intended to provide incentives to developers to build affordable housing. These ordinances have fallen behind recent updates to State Density Bonus law, are somewhat redundant/confusing and have been underutilized. This project would bring these regulations into compliance with recent updates to the applicable laws, with the intention of encouraging the development of more affordable housing in Nevada County.
- Zoning Ordinance Amendment(s): ($35,000) The County’s 6th Cycle Housing Element included programs that require updates to the County’s zoning regulation to ensure Nevada County remains compliant with State Housing Element laws and regulations. The overall purpose of these programs is to promote and streamline the approval of higher density and affordable housing developments.
- ADU Fee Study: ($130,000) Recent State ADU laws further restrict the collection of development impact fees on smaller ADUs and allows a proportionate share for larger ADUs. The most recent County ADU regulations allow for a fee deferral but do not waive any fees and a “proportioned share” is an arbitrary amount based primarily on square footage and project valuation. The purpose of this study would be reducing the cost of building an ADU in Nevada County creating certainty for homeowners and developers who are budgeting to build an ADU.
- Regional Infrastructure Planning: ($177,699) The purpose of this project would be to work with the County’s regional jurisdictions to analyze potential infrastructure constraints, such as undersized sewer lines to develop a plan and a program for assisting those jurisdictions with infrastructure upgrades that would support the development of housing within their sphere spurring economic development in the region.