Planning Commission to consider expanding child care impact fee for developers

San Francisco has the lowest percent of children out of any major metropolitan city in the U.S., but there’s still an unmet need for child care facilities.

That’s why Supervisor Norman Yee over the summer introduced an ordinance to expand The City’s child care impact fee to certain commercial and residential developments citywide, an effort the Planning Commission will consider recommending for approval on Thursday.

The current child care fees, collected from new office and hotel developments of more than 50,000 square feet, were established in 1985. There have since been several minor tweaks but the proposed increase of the fee to include commercial projects half that size and, for the first time, citywide residential fees, mark the greatest change yet to the fee.

The fee would charge citywide residential developments of at least 10 units $1.83 per square foot, and residential projects nine units or less $0.91 per square foot. Fees for citywide office and hotel developments would increase from $1.21 per square foot of at least 50,000-square-foot projects to $1.57 per square foot of projects at least least 25,000 square feet.

The increased fees would help offset the some $12 million needed in the next two years to provide enough child care facilities for The City’s growing youth population, according to city planners.

Yee said both San Francisco’s projected population increase of up to 200,000 residents in the next decade coupled with the development boom prompted the proposed fee increase.

“It’s like a perfect storm in a positive way,” Yee said. “The population is growing, we know we don’t have enough child care space… If we don’t hurry up and make these changes now then we’re going to miss a window of opportunity because so much is being developed right now.”

Child care facilities in the pipeline that would benefit from the increased impact fee include Hunter’s View Block 10, the Transbay Block 7, HOPE SF Alice Griffiths, 1500 Mission Street, Mission Neighborhood Centers and Nihonmachi Little Friends, according to city planners.

The child care impact fee is among more than 20 development impact fees in the Planning Code. The fee increase must still be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

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