City gives up affordable housing fees


San Mateo will forgo millions of dollars in developer-paid fees to address the affordable housing crisis in a move the city’s mayor called shocking and hypocritical.

Just months after approving linkage fees commercial developers would pay to help offset the impacts to the regional housing crisis, the city was asked to make concessions and provide a discount for five projects. Staff and the majority of the council described amendment to the city’s ordinance as a clarification and in fairness to developers that already had projects in the pipeline when the new fees were approved.

But Mayor David Lim said he was shocked and opposed to “spot legislation” that would cater to just a handful of developers.

“I know this is strong language, but it’s basically kowtowing to developers. We’re going to lose $2.9 million to $3.9 million that we could use for affordable housing,” Lim said. “I think this is one of the worst decisions I’ve ever seen the council make.”