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Lincoln’s future housing needs addressed

By: Patty McAlpin, Reporter
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The  city of Lincoln is starting the process to identify land available for Lincoln’s future housing needs.

A workshop to discuss updating the housing element of the city’s General Plan took place Jan. 30 at City Hall.

The housing element establishes specific goals and policies to guide the development of housing in Lincoln. Community input will be used to modify existing housing element policies and develop new policies and actions, according to George Dellwo, the city’s assistant director of development services.

Lincoln’s General Plan was adopted in 2008. While the housing element portion of the General Plan was updated every five years in the past, a new state law allows municipalities to adopt a plan every four or eight years. Lincoln’s update will cover the time period of 2014 to 2021. The deadline to complete the housing element is this Oct. 21.

A group of Realtors and a planning commissioner and his wife attended the hour-long workshop.

“I am here because they are talking about housing. This is very important to me and my clients. I am a local resident as well,” said real estate agent Meghan Wood of Realty World.

Wood, who mostly handles residential properties, said the housing market “is bouncing back.

“The rates are low and houses are affordable,” Wood said. “That’s the combination we need. People can afford the 30-year fixed loans. We are seeing something secure. You feel that stability.”

Jennifer Gastelum of PMC gave a power-point presentation to the audience on the process to update the housing element and surveyed audience members to ask what type of housing needs to be built in Lincoln.

PMC is a Rancho Cordova company hired by the city of Lincoln to help develop an update to its housing element. The company is being paid $26,765 for the work.

Lincoln’s regional housing production goal is 3,790 units, a number allocated to the city by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. Of that number, 1,621 units, or 42 percent, are identified as lower-income units, 705 are identified as moderate-income units and 1,464 are identified as above-moderate units.

The income range for lower-income units ranges from $22,850 to $60,900; for moderate units from $60,901 to $91,300; and above moderate $91,300 and higher. All income ranges are based on a household of four.

According to Housing and Community Development income limits, the housing income limit for a four-person household is $38,050 for very low income and the maximum purchase price is $128,000; for low income $60,900 and the maximum purchase price $205,000; and for moderate income $91,300 and the maximum purchase price $306,000.  

“This is a basically a land-use exercise,” Gastelum said. “The city is not required to build. They just have to identify land that is available in varying densities.”

Lincoln had 16,592 single-family homes, 1,116 multifamily units and 96 mobile homes in 2010, according to the California Department of Finance.

City of Lincoln housing and special projects coordinator Amanda Norton said the vast majority of the city’s housing stock was constructed from 2000 to the present day.

As of Nov. 30, 2012, the city of Lincoln had a total of 18,189 housing units, according to Norton. At the end of 1999, there were 4,731 housing units. From 2000 through 2012, 13,458 units were constructed.

According to the 2010 U.S. census, Lincoln’s population was 3,176 in 1970 and 42,819 in 2010. A road sign on Highway 65 at the city limits lists the current population at 43,572.

From a list of eight categories, Gastelum asked the audience members where the greatest need is. The list included homebuyers, renters, large (five-plus), single, elderly, disabled, homeless and other.

“We need a mix for sure,” said Kevin McDonald, a real estate agent who serves Lincoln, Rocklin, Roseville and Sacramento. “Lincoln needs more condos like those in Sierra View and Foskett (Ranch) in affordable ranges, $100,000 to $150,000. The demand is there and it would help a lot of people out.”

McDonald said Lincoln needs more affordable housing for those in the lower-income ranges. Elliott Homes is building smaller homes in Twelve Bridges “and they are selling,” McDonald said.

“What is killing affordability in the housing market is Mello Roos taxes and homeowners’ association taxes,” McDonald said.

A Mello Roos is a financing vehicle municipalities use to fund large-scale projects such as roads and schools. The Lincoln Crossing housing development has a Mello Roos district.   

Some buyers looking at Lincoln “include grandparents moving to the area to be closer to grandchildren and young people just getting started,” according to McDonald.

Norton said the city was awarded a state grant of $1 million in 2012 to help first-time homebuyers with down payment assistance. She said the city expects to hire a consultant by Feb. 12 to help administer the program. The program will provide up to $60,000 for a silent second for those who are income-qualified. 

Gastelum asked what type of housing Lincoln needs most – emergency shelter, transitional housing for the homeless, permanent support housing for special needs, affordable rental housing, affordable for sale housing or other.

Lincoln Planning Commissioner Bill Lyons said he “was looking for a single story, downstairs unit in Lincoln” for his parents but couldn’t find one.

“All that was available was upstairs,” Lyons said. “I ended up putting them in Antelope. It was the only thing that was affordable.”       

Lyons said individuals consider apartments because “short sales take forever to close escrow.”

Dellwo said the city knows there is a pent-up demand for market-rate rentals in Lincoln. The only apartment complex in Lincoln that is market rate is Auburn Creek.

A market rent apartment is an apartment that has no income restrictions.

McDonald said another opportunity for sales or rentals is soldiers from Beale Air Force Base.

“A lot of the higher-grade military are purchasing in Rocklin because of schools. The lower-grade military are moving to Loomis Lake,” McDonald said. “There is a shortage of housing and short sales are ridiculously long. We need more buildings and rehabilitated products.”