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Placer County putting $575,000 toward affordable housing projects

The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to update the county's General Plan Housing Element, adding $575,000 for affordable housing efforts.
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Red For Rent Real Estate Sign in Front House.

ROSEVILLE, Calif. — Placer County is updating its housing plan. The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to add $575,000 to the General Plan Housing Element for affordable housing.

The new update adds more programs and policies that encourage the development of affordable housing in the county's unincorporated areas.

"Housing affordability is one of our community’s biggest challenges. Not just for our residents, but also for our businesses, who will struggle to hire and grow if their employees can’t afford quality housing for their families,” Board Chair Robert Weygandt said in a press release. “This is a long-term, complex issue, and it won’t be solved overnight."

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The $575,000 is going to Housing Trust Placer to create more affordable housing projects. This trust was launched in 2019 to "encourage contributions from private, public and nonprofit partners to help accelerate housing construction," according to the press release.

The plan uses $75,000 for start-up costs and the other $500,000 will be a cash match to private contributions.

The new updates to the plan include 23 new policies and 28 new programs for affordable housing. Updates to the housing plan are required at least every eight years, according to state laws and the new updates align with the state's recent housing law changes, according to the press release.

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One of the new laws identifies zoning changes so that developers can build enough housing in areas of the county that meet the current and future needs of Placer County residents with a wide range of incomes.

The board of supervisors said that they spent three years gathering community feedback through workshops and surveys focusing on housing challenges the community has faced and what they want to see in the county.

"We’ve taken an exhaustive look at every layer of the housing crisis and ‘Placer-ized’ the best practices we could find from around the country to address every single one of them,” Shawna Purvines, deputy director of Placer’s Community Development Resource Agency, said in the press release.

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Placer County has plenty of zoned land that would accommodate single-family homes in moderate to above-moderate incomes, according to the release, but there isn't enough zoned land for smaller or multifamily homes for lower-income households. The county needs to change some zoning to make up for about 1,100 affordable housing units.

Based on current population growth estimates, the Sacramento Area Council of Governments believes that Placer County will need about another 8,000 housing units by 2029 in western Placer and about 500 in the Lake Tahoe basin.

Based on the estimates and current zoning, the Housing Element for the county is looking at exploring density changes over the next three years in higher-density residential or commercial development areas. It's already identified 32 sites to possibly be rezoned.

Some of those areas might also have to be acted on fast because, in order to comply with state law, Placer County needs to meet the regional housing needs by May 15, 2024.

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