Big Win for Affordable Homes in Walnut Creek

After two years of studies, workshops, and deliberation, the Walnut Creek City Council voted on August 1, 2017, to increase the Housing Impact Fee.

Walnut Creek has been a leader in Contra Costa County on housing issues, supporting homes for a diverse community. Over the last decade, the Housing Impact Fee helped to create about 330 new affordable homes. By increasing these local resources, Walnut Creek will help create even more new affordable homes, supporting inclusive communities near transit and the thriving downtown area.

We are thrilled that Walnut Creek supported affordable homes by:

  • Increasing the existing Housing Impact Fee by 20% (from $15 to $18 per square foot) on January 1, 2018. This is a significant step towards fitting the economy of today and helping to meet the housing needs of the community.
  • Making the smart move to adjust the fees annually to construction costs, allowing for minor adjustments to the fee without requiring extensive deliberation.

Over the last two years, we worked with dozens of dedicated residents and community organizations to lift the policy into the forefront of City Council priorities—delivering a letter writing campaign and powerful community testimony in support of a more inclusive Walnut Creek.

We want to thank the tireless residents of Walnut Creek along with our partners at East Bay Housing Organizations and the Multi-Faith ACTION Coalition, as well as City staff leadership. We are particularly inspired by the incredible passion and persistence from members of the community who kept raising their voices even when success seemed distant. Champions like Mary Fenelon were at nearly every meeting for the last two years and gave local meaning to the adage that “a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”

We also want to thank Councilmembers Silva, Wilk, and Haskew for their support. While the 3-2 council decision was close, Walnut Creek sent a resounding message that the City is dedicated to the creation and celebration of a community for everyone. This is an inspiration for cities throughout the Bay Area at a time when we all need to step up to address the affordable housing crisis.

Let’s keep the momentum going! We encourage the City to finalize the West Downtown Specific Plan (going on 6 years!) to provide more opportunities for homes near transit and jobs. It’s also critical to advocate for affordable homes that these investments help fund. Please support the 100% affordable “Las Juntas Way” Habitat for Humanity project in Walnut Creek by emailing the City Council.

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