New $500 permit makes it harder for home buyers |

New $500 permit makes it harder for home buyers

If you own a home in Nevada County, we’d like to offer our congratulations. The state government has decided to make you

$500 wealthier early next year by making your home that much more valuable.

If you hope to buy a home in Nevada County – maybe you’d like to get your young family out of that cramped apartment before you all go crazy – we offer our condolences. The state government just put your new home $500 farther out of reach.

The state government, of course, isn’t promoting its new $500 erosion-control permit as a way of making homes more expensive. In fact, we suspect that no one in Sacramento gave the issue a second thought – and that ought to annoy everyone who cares about housing the families of Nevada County.

Next March, the state will require an additional $500 building permit if construction disturbs more than an acre of land. It doesn’t take much to disturb an acre – build a driveway, clear a building pad, get a site ready for a septic leachfield. The state says the permit is needed to make sure that builders and homeowners follow new rules to reduce soil erosion.

No one is going to argue with the need to reduce soil erosion at construction sites. The Nevada County government is working hard to get out the word about the new rules and the need to keep erosion to a minimum. But we’d bet no one gave much thought to the implications for folks wanting to buy a home.

The new house that might have sold for $200,000 now will sell for $200,500. And, the real estate market being the way that it is, all the comparable houses on the market that might have been listed at $200,000 will rise to $200,500 as well. Good for homeowners; bad for home buyers.

When we talk about the reasons that housing in Nevada County no longer is affordable for working families, we err if we look for a single cause. Rather, the price of housing moves beyond the reach of many families in steps like this, one well-intentioned $500 step at a time.

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