Lacey to expand waiver of development fees for some affordable housing projects

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On Thursday, the Lacey City Council discussed plans to expand the Lacey Municipal Code (LMC) 1.20 to defer certain development costs on new affordable housing projects.

LMC 1.20 allows the city to waive some development fees to encourage construction for affordable housing. Such fees include building, mechanical, plumbing, electrical, plan check, and water meter fees.

In addition, the city also authorized the waiver for wastewater connection and general discharge fees for certain low-income housing developments which fit into their criteria.

Prior to the regular council meeting on June 3, the council members had already agreed to consider the amendment. However, Deputy Mayor Cynthia Pratt expressed her concern since the prices for lumber and other building materials had “skyrocketed”.

“There is that problem of trying to build an affordable house and still have to deal with the actual materials,” the Deputy Mayor said. She believed waiving developmental fees can help to bring down construction costs.

In addition, the city also plans to add more incentives for homes with a smaller footprint.

Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder said that they are yet to determine several considerations to expand the code. These considerations include the size of the homes, as well the type of housing units.

To begin the process, the Lacey Government Committee also met with the Olympia Master Builders (OMB) to discuss their proposal. The OMB had expressed its support regarding the expansion. Moving forward, the Committee will re-introduce the proposed amendment to all developers who construct houses for low-to-moderate-income buyers. 

Salvation Army homelessness initiative

The council also announced other initiatives to address homelessness. During the meeting, Pratt shared that the Salvation Army had applied for a  Homeless Providers Grant to improve their Veteran’s Community Housing Program. Pratt claimed that the Salvation Army plans to provide housing by working to provide ten beds to house homeless veterans.

Currently, the Salvation Army is waiting for confirmation whether they will receive federal funding, although they have already begun their operation through funding from private donors.

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