SodaCanyonRoad | Urban development and in-lieu fees (updated)

Urban development and in-lieu fees (updated)
Bill Hocker | Jul 11, 2016 on: City of Napa

Update 8/1/16
NVR 8/1/16: Napa to seek more parking funds from downtown builders

Update 7/11/16
NVR 7/11/16 Napa to lift parking requirements on six downtown properties
$20,000/stall is the amount mentioned as an in-lieu fee. Since the cost of parking structures is $30,000/stall (the $12 mil, 400 stall structure mentioned in the article) to $50,000/stall (if undergrounded as would be required on the exempted sites) at the $20,000 rate the city and residents will end up subsidizing the profits of the developer.

Update 7/6/16
On July 7th, 2016, the Napa City Planning Commission is reviewing a proposal for a parking exempt overlay on 6 more properties downtown, similar to the Wiseman building with in-lieu fees to be paid instead. The staff letter for the proposal is here. It is highly unlikely that the city will assess the $50,000/stall needed to actually build new parking garages and the residents of the city will be expected to make up the difference, thereby subsidizing developers' profits. In reality the projects will be built now but the parking garages will only come in the distant future (if at all) and parking problems will become a major issue in the city. An exhortation from Harris Nussbaum to attend the meeting is here.

NVR 4/19/16: Napa planners to weigh downtown buildings, senior home

Re: the Wiseman building, please look at this 2009 cost estimate for a parking structure (now apparently hidden after my link to it). The estimate was $30000 per stall excluding land costs.

The cost of an underground garage was $50000 per stall. If the developer actually were required to provide the parking on the site the costs would probably be higher given the necessity to integrate it into the architecture of the building. And this is 2016. The in lieu fee, rather than $15,500/ stall, should be the actual cost of providing the parking on site.

As in all development projects, whether for industrial or commercial developments or housing projects (or wineries) developers are quite happy to pay in lieu fees because those costs are much lower than actually meeting ordinance requirements or providing mitigations. Guess who pays the cost difference: taxpayers in one form or another. Regardless of the public revenues touted at the planning commission phase, as Volker Eisele said, development never pays for itself, never. Residents are saddled forever with fee increases, tax increases and bond measures to pay for the unfunded costs of urban development. The developers take their profits, including the money saved on parking, and move on to another project - which governments are eager to approve because they need the windfall of new in-lieu fees to pay for the infrastructure needed for previous projects.

This rant is not about this specific project, which appears to be an attractive addition to the downtown. But urban development is ultimately a costly undertaking for the residents that will eventually be asked to pay more to maintain it. And we never ask ourselves, are we interested in living in a more urbanized world and willing to pay for the privilege? For me, and perhaps for others that enjoy their quasi-ruaral life in Napa, the answer is no.

Harris Nussbaum - Jul 10, 2017 7:15AM

[statement to the Napa Planning Commission 7/7/16]

You are our friends, but with some of the decisions you are making, it doesn't seem like it. Many people moved here from Los Angeles to get away from the madness and now it is being created here. Please think about what you want Napa to be in 10 years? Your actions are heating up an already heated Napa economy. It is like cooking food, you burn it and it is ruined. You are here making decisions that will greatly impact what it will be and if you are wrong, you can't go back and change it. I talked with about 100 people in the area. Most are concerned, but said you won't listen, your minds are made-up, so why even bother to come to your meetings. The process feels flawed. Most people didn't know about it.
To start, the approval of the Wiseman building will create problems. Here are a few if the problems this proposal creates.

1) Parking is already a problem in the area and you don't know what it will be like until after what is already in process is completed, so why the urgent rush to make this change now?
2) You greatly underestimated the parking need for the Wiseman building and are doing the same for the entire block. The assumption is mixed use will solve the problem, but there is already a problem. You will need 4 to 5 times what you think will be needed and developers are paying a relatively small % of the real costs when you include land, upkeep, etc.
3) How many parking garages will you need and some of the lots you are building parking spaces on you don't own. They could give you 30 day notice to vacate- like the Cinedome property.
4) Parking garages are ugly and expensive and you really don't have the money to build enough. If you did that money could used for much more worthwhile needs.
4) Local businesses are being forced out by high rents as these new buildings are built.
5) If you change this block, what is to keep you from doing the same to the next one and the next one?
6) You are losing the historic character of the area.
7) There can be to much traffic into, out of and around Napa now-I recently saw a fire truck stuck in traffic on 1st. This will get worse and people will die. I hate to think about what will happen to 1st street when the giant Archer hotel is completed.
8) The business model is good, but it has limits. Reasonable development with parking fits the area better.
9) How do you think this will affect the Church, the schools and people who live in the area?
10) Over development is expensive, It puts stress on the residents emotionally, but also puts pressure on the schools, police, fire, and other services. These costs can be far more than the income they produce for the city.
There is so much more I could say if I had more than 3 minutes. Now it is up to you. I hope you let your conscience help you decide and let it be for the people who live here. Please wait until what is in process now is completed to make this change.