Stockton Approves Measure to Reduce Building Fees, Hopes to Stimulate Growth

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Stockton has approved a temporary plan to reduce construction fees for up to 1,000 single family homes and 500 multi-family units throughout the city.

It’s a move city leaders are hoping will attract more jobs and housing to the area.

Builders and real estate agents applauded the action, but some groups were disappointed, especially nonprofit housing developers.

In a well-kept, quiet neighborhood there’s room for dogs to play. It’s the place Steven Key calls home.

"Very affordable, everything’s really nice,” Key said.

For eight years, Key has lived next to newly built homes and ongoing construction.

"We’re actually one of the first homes that was in this whole area before all these other homes got built,” he said.

Thanks to a new move by Stockton city leaders, the sounds of building will increase.

The city decided to reduce building fees to attract more jobs and developers.

John Beckman represents builders throughout Stockton. He says his organization, the Building Industry Association of the Greater Valley, has been pushing for the fee decrease since February of 2015.

“I’m very excited about it. I think we’ll see some immediate construction start as fast as the homebuilders can start building homes,” Beckman said.

Here’s how it works. To build a new home in North Stockton right now the construction fees are around $61,000. But under this new plan, that fees drops to about $40,000.

Building fees are determined by the square footage of the unit.

Only 1,000 single family homes and 500 multi-family homes will be able to get this fee reduction throughout the city. Fees are determined by the square footage of the unit.

“The last couple years, they’ve been building only about 100 homes a year. I would anticipate next year somewhere in the range of 400 to 600 homes,” Beckman explained.

The temporary plan also covers some low-income housing projects, but unlike the limit on single family and multi-family homes get the reduction, city officials said an unlimited number of housing projects in disadvantaged areas will be able to get the fee reduction.

Carol Ornelas, the CEO of Visionary Homebuilders in Stockton, believes the city should have given these builders a bigger break.

"I guess where I was disappointed is that our council people didn’t step up to the plate and make sure that these areas were covered,” Ornelas said.

Despite the disagreements, all agree this is about building a bigger and better city.

“Little scary to bring what’s coming in, but I mean, it’s all good for our pocketbooks, and seeing that growth, I guess to boost the economy,” Key said.

The ordinance will go into effect in 60 days, and the city council will review the matter again in 18 months. The temporary fee reduction will expire in three years.

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