OAKLEY -- The city will give developers here a break on their fees for two more years ¿to encourage them to continue building.
Oakley council members on Tuesday agreed to extend the incentive the city originally adopted in June 2011 to jump-start not only commercial construction but get homes built on the hundreds of empty lots around the city.
The extension will end June 30, 2015.
Until then, the city will continue waiving four of its developer fees -- a savings of $9,385 -- and reduce a fifth by 40 percent, a combined discount that amounts to about $14,400 per house.
The goal is to make it feasible for builders to pick up where they left off on the estimated 250 lots in Oakley that have been graded and are ready for houses.
The city's concern is that unless developers have sufficient financial motivation, projects might remain in limbo as they wait for the real estate market to turn around.
And that would undermine Oakley's economy, which is invigorated by activities related to home construction such as the sale of building materials and workers buying lunches at local stores.
Companies were building about 600 houses a year in Oakley just before the recession, but after the precipitous drop in sale prices, that number plummeted to about 125. City leaders want to boost the annual construction rate to a moderate 250 to 300 houses.
In presenting the proposed extension of fee reductions to the council, Finance Director Paul Abelson said he thinks the city will have to offer the incentive even longer than two more years to ensure that building continues.
Reach Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her on Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.