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Santa Cruz Co. waives fees to spur housing construction

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The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to waive fees on accessory dwelling units to ease a housing shortage crisis, county officials said.

The three-year waiver program will apply to units that are 640 square feet or smaller.

Owners must be living in the parcel where they build an accessory unit, and must forfeit any vacation rental permits before construction begins, according to county regulations.

The decision could reduce fees by as much as $7,300 and remove a barrier to increasing housing availability in the region, according to county officials.

Officials said the county is one of the least affordable in the country and 23.87 percent of its residents live in poverty, second in the state behind Los Angeles.

The county currently has a toolkit for accessory dwelling units to help estimate costs and plan for construction. The resources will be updated to accommodate the new no-fee policy.

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