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IRVINE : Fees for Low-Cost Housing Criticized

Developers told the City Council on Friday that proposed fees to subsidize future low-cost housing would be excessive, would harm the local economy and would force builders out of the city.

Industrial and commercial builders criticized the proposed fees, which would be $3 to $5.50 per square foot for new construction. Developers suggested that a fee of 50 cents to $1 per square foot would be more equitable and also requested that the City Council consider including residential developers in the fee schedule.

If the fees are approved, the money would be used to subsidize construction of low-cost housing.

Irvine now charges developers of office buildings $12 per square foot, a rate substantially higher than those charged by neighboring cities. Builders argue that with an increased rate of up to $17.50, Irvine would become an undesirable building site.

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The developers pointed out that the fee for office developments in Newport Beach and Santa Ana is $5 per square foot, while Orange charges $8 per square foot.

More than 100 developers attended Friday’s meeting, at which the City Council postponed a vote on the new fees. The public hearing on the issue will continue at the April 10 City Council meeting.


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