The City of San Clemente must refund $10 million in beach parking impact fees accumulated over a 20-year period because it did not build parking facilities with the money nor make the necessary findings under the Mitigation Fee Act to retain the money for more than five years, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled.
San Clemente imposed the "Beach Parking Impact Fee" of $1,500 per unit in 1989 because it concluded that new residential development in inland area of the city would increase the demand for parking near the beach. The city collected $10 million in the next 20 years but expended only $350,000 to purchase one parcel of property. >>read more
Assessments for services traditionally funded by property tax have faced an uphill battle after the passage of Proposition 218, the 1996 voter initiative that requires the local governments and special districts to seek voter approval for any proposed new or increased assessment before it could be levied. That hill has gotten steeper in the wake of a recent decision.
In upholding the City of Lemoore's development impact fees for a wide range of municipal facilities, an appellate court has rejected a homebuilders association argument that such fees must be based on a specific list of public facilities.
In this roundup of the news: The Western Riverside Council of Governments has removed the City of Beaumont from a regional transportation program because, the council says in a lawsuit, Beaumont has spent impact fees that were intended for the program; Santa Barbara County has finally adopted a plan for the Santa Ynez Valley; dam removal on the Klamath River comes closer to reality.
An air pollution fee levied on new development in the San Joaquin Valley has been upheld by the Fifth District Court of Appeal. In rejecting all arguments presented by the California Building Industry Association and its allies, the court concluded that the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District fee is not bound by restrictions in the Mitigation Fee Act and is a properly adopted regulatory fee.
The recession and slack development activity have caused about 10 cites and counties to reduce their development impact fees, while more jurisdictions have delayed collecting fees until new buildings are ready to occupy. Some interest groups regard the fee deferrals as helpful in generating local activity. But whether fee reductions are similarly stimulative is debatable.
An unusual Coastal Commission mitigation fee to offset the impact of a private seawall has been upheld by the Sixth District Court of Appeal, which rejected arguments that the fee was unconstitutional, was prohibited by the Coastal Act and was the result of post hoc rationalization.
An air pollution fee on new development in the San Joaquin Valley has been upheld by a Fresno County Superior Court. Judge Donald Black rejected numerous arguments against the fee in a lawsuit filed by the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, Valley Taxpayers Association and affordable housing developer Coalition of Urban Renewal Excellence.
The state Supreme Court has rejected most claims of a development company fighting building permit fees in the City of Rancho Cucamonga. However, the court did decide that the builder, Barratt American, could contest the validity of a city fee ordinance adopted in 2002 — a reversal of a lower court ruling.