Requiring a landowner to provide an excess amount of infrastructure capacity - and reimbursing that landowner later with other county funds - does not fall under the state's conflict of interest laws if a county supervisor is one of the landowners, according to a new opinion from the state attorney general's office. According to the attorney general, such a requirement - permitted under the state's Subdivision Map Act - is not a contract between the developer and the landowners and therefore does not fall under Government Code §1090, which prohibits public officers from being financially interested in contracts made by the boards to which they belong. The AG's opinion was requested by San Benito County in connection with a proposed agreement involving excess storm drain capacity. Under Government Code §66485-66487 - part of the Subdivision Map Act - local governments can require landowners to provide excess infrastructure capacity and then pay the landowners back later (often with funds provided by nearby landowners wishing to develop). "If a local ordinance imposes the requirement authorized by section 66485 and the local agency determines that the supplemental capacity is needed to benefit property not within the subdivision, the subdivider must provide the supplemental capacity as a condition for obtaining approval of the subdivision map," noted Deputy Attorney General Gregory Gonot in the opniion. "Under the agreement, the subdivider must be reimbursed for the expense of constructing the supplemental capacity for the benefit of later subdivisions and uses of adjacent property." However, Gonot added: "Even in the reimbursement could be viewed as a benefit, neither the subdivider nor the local agency has any choice in the matter; once the local agency orders the supplemental capacity, it is required by law to provide for reimbursement through an agreement." He said the situation is analogous to the situation laid out to the eminent domain procedure included in Santa Clara Valley Water District v. Gross, 200 Cal.App.3d 1362 (1988). In that case, the appellate court concluded that participating in a process required by statute does not constitute the making of a contract under §1090 even if a benefit may be conferred. "Similarly, here, the supplemental capacity reimbursement procedure for subdivisions is mandated by statute," Gonot wrote. "The reimbursement amount is dictated by the costs of construction; it is not subject to negotiation so as to cause an appearance of impropriety. The supervisor in question may only recover his actual costs - no more, no less - in being required to benefit property located outside the subdivision. Attorney General's Opinion 98-1001, 98 C.D.O.S. 8739 (issued November 25, 1998). Contact: Gregory L. Gonot, Deputy Attorney General, ((916) 324-7860.