A 1998 law that builders hoped would keep a lid on school impact fees is instead becoming a tool for some districts to charge far higher fees than builders envisioned.
The 1998 measure, known as SB 50, capped school fees at $1.93 per square foot. The Legislature passed SB 50 as part of a deal in which developers then agreed to support a $9.2 billion school facility bond on the November 1998 state ballot. Voters subsequently approved Proposition 1A. (See CP&DR June 1999.)
However, SB 50 allows for school districts to charge "Level Two" fees in excess of $1.93 per square foot, and numerous school districts are going through the process. For instance, Modesto City Schools intends to adopt a fee of $3.73 this month, said Debbe Bailey, the district's director of planning and research.
To go beyond the $1.93 limit, districts must prepare a five-year school facilities needs analysis as spelled out in the legislation, and must apply and be eligible for state funds. Then the district also must meet one of four criteria: 40 % of students enrolled in multi-track, year round school; or 50 % to two-thirds voter approval for a general obligation bond in the district during the last four years (meaning it failed); or 20 % of teaching stations in portable classrooms; or certain debt ceilings having been reached by the district. As of next year, districts must meet two of these criteria.
Bailey's district cleared the portable classroom and bond indebtedness hurdles, but the required needs analysis was a challenge. "It's not a real needs analysis, it's a fee formula," she said. "Our district has probably one of the best data bases in the state, and it has taken us almost a year to get the information together."
Several school districts in the San Diego area are preparing to levy Level Two fees of $2 to $5 per square foot, said Tom May, an attorney who assists with school financing. The requirements regarding portable classrooms and a failed local bond that got 50% of the vote are particularly easy to meet, May said.
When Proposition 1A's $2.9 billion earmarked for additional K-12 schools runs out, districts may charge builders the full cost of new facilities, minus locally dedicated school monies, Bailey added.
The City of Anaheim's attempts to bar a proposed adult cabaret from an industrial area were unconstitutional and the city must approve the business's permits, the Fourth District Court of Appeals has ruled.
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The Novato Fire Protection District detached the former Hamilton Air Force Base in 1977, but last month the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the detachment was an illegal attempt to tax the federal government. The court said the fire district is obliged to serve the former base, now occupied by the Navy, the Coast Guard, other federal agencies and even some private entities.
The unanimous three-judge appeals court upheld Northern California District Judge Fern Smith's ruling that the detachme...
A city has an obligation to complete an environmental impact report and may not just continually reject an EIR prepared by a developer's consultant, the Fourth District Court of Appeals has ruled.
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The City of Redlands three times rejected a proposed draft EIR prepared by consultants of a ho...
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In the fi...
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When 5.7 million people say they want to shield local funding from grabbing hands – as they did in November -- that should be the end of the story. At least, that's what California's redevelopment agencies would hope after this annus horribilis in the redevelopment world.
In Year Three of the Great Recession, it's comforting to think that California has heard all the bad news it's going to hear. Or at least we're so accustomed to bad news, that we've stopped getting depressed by it. As a result, many of this year's top stories come with silver linings.
The no-growth vs. slow-growth vs. build-everything debate has become a faint murmur, since not much of anything is getting built anyway. What is getting built, though, is generally pleasing to the smart growth crowd.
Fans of infrastructure development have surely cheered the progress on projects like High Speed Rail and Los Angeles Metro's 30/10 Initiative. Then again, skeptics may be assuring themselves that these projects will never get built.
Relations between the City of Alameda and developer SunCal appear to have soured in the wake of voters' overwhelming defeat of SunCal's plan to redevelop Alameda Naval Air Station. Three days after 85% of voters rejected SunCal's plan during a February 2 special election, city officials sent SunCal a notice of default, the first step in ending SunCal's exclusive negotiating agreement to redevelop the base.
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Opponents of the Gold Rush Ranch 1,600-unit housing development and golf resort in Sutter Creek submitted referendum petitions with 468 signatures in early February (see CP&DR Local Watch, January 15, 2010). If as few as one-third of those signatures is valid, the referendum of the Gold Rush Ranch specific plan and general plan amendment would qualify for the ballot, possibly as soon as June.
Characterized as "the last piece in the puzzle" for Chula Vista bayfront redevelopment, a land swap between the San Diego Unified Port District and developer Pacifica Holdings has been approved by the district and the City of Chula Vista.