County calls for affordable housing

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By LENORE RUTHERFORD

To make more homes available for low- to moderate-income residents, builders will soon be required to include affordable housing in their Tuolumne County projects.

County supervisors yesterday unanimously adopted a revised General Plan Housing Element that calls for an "inclusionary ordinance" requiring developers to make a percentage of their planned homes affordable to low- and moderate-income families. The board directed a committee of supervisors, staff members and others to hammer out ordinance details.

Community Development Director Bev Shane said she hopes to have an ordinance ready for approval by summer.

The Housing Element has been the focus of several meetings among county planning officials, because it required an update and must be forwarded on to the state by the end of the year for final approval.

Supervisors only made two changes to the element, proposed by county staff and endorsed by the county's four planning commissions Columbia, Jamestown, Southern Tuolumne County and Tuolumne County as well as a task force organized by the county's Chamber of Commerce and Association of Realtors.

The Southern Tuolumne County Planning Commission endorsed the plan, but voted against provisions for establishment of a housing authority to oversee affordable housing and for an affordable housing trust fund.

But those items remained in the version adopted by supervisors yesterday.

Supervisors did agree to change "shall" to "may" in a sentence saying that between 10 and 20 percent of each new development must be affordable for those with with very low, low or moderate incomes.

The change gives staff members working on an ordinance more leeway, said Supervisor Dick Pland, who asked for the change.

Also, supervisors eliminated by a 3-2 vote a sentence saying the inclusionary ordinance will apply to subdivisions of five homes or more. However, the completed ordinance will contain a provision specifying which subdivisions the requirement will apply to.

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The Union Democrat
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