By Pamela Hall, ACCE State Board Member
In November this year, the city of Oakland will be considering passing an impact fee, a one-time fee imposed on developers that ensures private developers pay their fair share in mitigating the needs for housing, services and infrastructure created by their new projects.
When new market-rate housing is developed, it brings in new, affluent residents. These residents need goods and services – and that means new low-wage or service sector jobs.
The retail workers, childcare providers and other people in these jobs can’t afford market-rate housing, so new development increases the need for affordable housing.
At ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), as a member-driven group organizing the flatland communities of east and west Oakland, we know that the shortage of affordable housing is the biggest crisis facing our city. At stake is the culture and vitality of Oakland’s long-standing communities, who are being displaced for the highest dollar.
The time is now for solutions, including impact fees and creating higher standards for development, affordable housing and jobs to lift up our communities and our workers.
Impact fees are not a new or risky policy move either. 27 other Bay Area cities have successfully implemented affordable housing impact fees, including cities like San Francisco, Emeryville, Berkeley and San Jose, with no major impacts on development or rents.
An affordable housing impact fee is the least the city of Oakland can do to help build permanently affordable homes for the city’s workers and families.