Stand Up for Neighborly Novato strongly supports the implementation of a commercial linkage fee as a way to
bolster funding for more reasonably priced housing. We believe the commercial linkage fee has broad support
A commercial job/housing linkage fee is a fee developers pay to help cities cope with an expanded workforce
due to new commercial projects. Fee requirements vary according to each city’s commercial fee ordinance.
Generally, the fee does not apply to commercial property when commercial space changes hands or is
remodeled. It’s only intended for new construction of commercial space. Some members of the Novato City
Council are hesitant to write a commercial linkage fee into our city’s housing element for fear that it would
scare away developers.
That has not been the case in other cities with commercial linkage fees. Take our neighbor, San Rafael, for
example. Target recently paid a $750,000 job/housing commercial linkage fee for its new San Rafael store, and
even used the fee as a way to build support during City hearings, saying it showed their commitment to the
Corte Madera is another good example. Macys and Nordstrom have requested a major expansion at the
Village at Corte Madera, subjecting those businesses to a linkage fee. Their plans are moving forward and they
have not objected to making the payment to help the city handle the expected job growth that comes with
expanded retail space.
If developers rejected San Rafael and Corte Madera because of their commercial linkage fee, we would have
seen a significant increase in commercial projects here in Novato, where we do not have a commercial linkage
fee. As we know, that has not happened over the last few years.
Novato can address its concern about development flight when crafting the formula as a per square foot fee
proportional to the size and type of the development.
A commercial linkage fee is needed now more than ever. Not only because the need for reasonably
priced housing is bigger than ever, but housing is potentially losing one of its best funding sources with
redevelopment agencies set to be shut down. At the very least, we need a commercial linkage fee to help
replace some of that lost funding.
We ask Novato residents and community and business leaders to join us in supporting a commercial linkage
fee for Novato’s housing element.