County needs 2K-plus units to meet housing needs | TheUnion.com
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County needs 2K-plus units to meet housing needs

Nevada County added just under 140 units to its housing stock last year, according to the latest housing progress report.

The report covers the first two years of the county’s housing element, which analyzes Nevada County’s projected housing needs and programs from 2019-2027.

According to the Housing Element, through 2027 the county needs to add 2,062 units to meet its share of the regional housing needs as mandated by the state. A community’s housing needs are determined by the area’s housing availability, affordability, and conditions.



The county anticipates meeting about 62% of its housing needs overall through new construction, 23% with rehabilitation and 14% through conservation.

The bulk of Nevada County’s housing needs, 874 units, are geared toward above-moderate income level housing.




Extremely low income and very low income housing makes up 475 of the needed units and low income housing accounts for another 367 units. Moderate income level housing makes up the remaining 346 units of the county’s need.

While the county is not required to actually spend funds to build the units, it does need to ensure it has adequate and appropriately zoned sites to accommodate the needed housing in each income bracket.

It’s also required to “eliminate any constraints to the private development of a supply of housing” to meet the county’s housing needs.

DATA

The report estimates so far 240 units were permitted over the last two years, with 91 in the above moderate income level category. Moderate income level housing accounted for another 54 units over the same period.

Because the county does not collect income level data for single family housing unless it is deed restricted, the county estimates about 60% of all single family units are above moderate income level and 40% are in the the moderate income level.

Single family housing made up 84% of the county’s housing stock in 2018, according to the housing element.

The progress report states an estimated 72 low income housing units and 23 extremely and very low income units were added so far.

In the previous housing element covering 2014-2019, the county also struggles to add housing for the very lowest income earners, building just 147 units in that category, falling 153 units short of meeting their share.

Those units were added through mobile homes and multi-family dwellings.

According to the housing element, the lack of new construction in low income categories was partially attributable to a lack of county funding and lack of interest from affordable housing developers.

“Further the County does not have a real property division that would facilitate the development and maintenance of publicly funded affordable housing projects,” it states.

To help increase the housing stock in these categories, the county plans to review the possibility of incentivizing additional dwelling units, which due to size restrictions are generally geared toward low income residents.

The county anticipates meeting the housing needs of low income residents by adding seven additional dwelling units per year.

But according to the housing element, even these small units, capped at 1,200 square feet, are often unaffordable for extremely and very low income residents, which make up just under 10% of county households.

The county also has plans to reduce the cost of building by adopting stock housing plans for little or no cost.

According to the housing element, housing vacancy rates in 2018 were over 20% across the county.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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