The Dublin City Council recently learned more about how the city can assist development of an Economic Development Zone (EDZ) at Fallon East to boost plans for future tax revenue generation.
City Manager Linda Smith introduced the council to the Fallon East infrastructure concept on Sept. 15 and returned with more information at the Oct. 21 meeting. The report focused on various incentives the city could offer developers and businesses to locate at Fallon East.
On a case by case basis, the city can offer businesses and developers fee reductions on building permits and inspection fees for the kinds of businesses Dublin wants to attract. Among them are life-science research and development, green technology, automation and robotics, and tech start-ups and incubators. Another incentive is a property tax sharing program, in which the annual property tax for construction of a new building in one of the desired industry sectors. Smith said usually there is a five- or 10-year limit on this incentive.
Constructing a green building that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards could waive a percentage of development and entitlement fees. There are four categories of LEED buildings, so the discount could range from 40% to the top 100% waiver for a platinum building.
Vice Mayor Arun Goel said that water and utility fees are high, and Smith agreed.
“I’m not going to dispute the fact we have very high connection fees for water. I don’t think we’ll get Zone 7 to significantly lower their impact fees, because that’s how they paid for improvements they already installed,” said Smith. “Dublin San Ramon Services District is paying for its recycled water facility and for the water they bring to Dublin (through wholesaler Zone 7), so we probably can’t get them to lower their fees. Developers will have to use some of the options we will offer to displace the fees they pay on water.”
Mayor David Haubert said he likes the idea of creating the EDZ. He suggested bringing in a broker, as the city did with its downtown development plan, and study other cities to develop a plan. He and the other councilmembers also want to the city’s Economic Development Committee to review it.
One important data point was the council’s curiosity about how many residential units might be built there. The speed of residential development has been a hot topic in Dublin for years, and the first report gave only one figure — 393 — for how many residential units would be possible under the current zoning in the 291-acre neighborhood. Now, the number has changed to a range between 302 to 95 units, with some moderate-income and above-moderate-income in the mix on two of the property ownerships.
Haubert said the last time the council approved a development was two years ago, and Smith said that it will be at least six months before any new proposal comes forward.
The Fallon information was intended for discussion only, to give Smith an indicator of whether staff should go further into creating the infrastructure. Staff will do that, and return again with a further report.