City Council Approves Chamber Opposed 100% Park Development Recovery Fee


On October 14, the Santa Clara City Council approved a 100% park development recovery fee that was strongly opposed by the chamber and many of our members.  This fee will now add at least $26,000 to the cost per unit for any multi-family dwelling projects built in Santa Clara after the next 60 days.  Using a 400 unit apartment complex as an example, this fee will now add an additional $10 million to the project’s costs!

The decision was especially surprising since the chamber and development community worked diligently with council members and City staff on a compromise.  The chamber and development community were willing to support a 65% recovery fee to begin with and then consider annual increases to bring Santa Clara up to the surrounding city’s fees in a rational and purposeful way.  Unfortunately, a majority of the City Council, (Matthews, Gillmor, Davis and O’Neal), felt differently and did not believe this new fee would slow future multi-family dwelling development.  Time will tell.

The chamber and our development community strongly support our parks and the development of future parks.  However, when a fee moves from literally zero to over $26,000 per single dwelling unit, a developer will have to take a second look and may decide the costs far outweigh the benefits to build.  Time will tell.                   

There is also one other issue that was thankfully continued on October 14.  The elimination of a one (1) acre prerequisite in order for a developer to qualify for a 50% credit for private on-site parks and recreational amenities that are built as part of any multi-family development.  It will be next to impossible for a developer to meet a one (1) acre requirement based on the lack of available land in our City.  We believe a developer should receive credit if they build a private on-site park or recreational amenities, regardless of whether or not they dedicate one (1) acre of public parkland.  Hopefully a majority of the City Council will agree with us and the developer community when it is reconsidered.  Time will tell.                  

The Santa Clara Chamber will continue to monitor these important issues and will step up to support our local businesses when the issues involve creating more jobs to improve our community.  Please let me know how your business is doing and what we can do to help your business grow.  I can be reached at 408-380-1231 or by email at:    

Steve Van Dorn, President and CEO


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