The Court of Appeal ruled that a suit concerning an affordable housing fee that plaintiff had agreed to pay two decades earlier was still timely because the 90-day limitations period under the Subdivision Map Act did not begin to run until a dispute arose over the interpretation of provisions in the affordable housing agreement. Schmeir
Exactions and Assessments
Water District Rate Increases Violated Proposition 218
A court of appeal invalidated a water district’s adopted rate increases, concluding that the district failed to meet its burden under Proposition 218 of establishing that the increases did not exceed the cost of providing the water service. KCSFV I, LLC v. Florin County Water District, No. C088824 (3rd Dist., May 28, 2021).
Requirement That Proposed Development Mitigate Cumulative Traffic Impacts Violated Nollan/Dolan Standard
An initiative measure that required new development to mitigate not only its individual traffic impacts but also cumulative impacts of other projects on traffic levels of service violated the rough-proportionality standard of Nollan and Dolan and was therefore unconstitutional. Alliance for Responsible Planning v. Taylor (County of El Dorado, No. C085712 (3rd Dist., May…
Suit Challenging Water District’s Ad Valorem Property Tax Was Time-Barred Under the Validation Statutes
A challenge to a water district’s increase in its ad valorem property tax was untimely under the 60-day statute of limitations in the validation statutes. Coachella Valley Water District v. Superior Court (Roberts), No. E074010 (4th Dist., March 9, 2021).
Code of Civil Procedure sections 860-870 provide for accelerated procedures for determining the validity…
Agreement to Indemnify LAFCO Against Claims Arising from Annexation Decision Was Unenforceable as Lacking Consideration
The Court of Appeal held that an agreement obligating a developer and city to indemnify LAFCO against claims arising from its annexation decision lacked consideration because the agreement simply required LAFCO to do what it was already obligated to do by statute. San Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission v. City of Pismo Beach,…
Local Governments Lacked Authority to Impose Fees on Property Owners for Trash Receptacles at Public Transit Stops Adjacent to Their Properties
The state was required to reimburse municipalities for the cost of state-mandated trash receptacles at transit stops because local governments lacked authority under Proposition 218 to impose fees either on transit agencies or on owners of adjacent property to recover such costs. Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates, No. B292446 (2nd Dist.,…
School District May Assess Fees Based on General Type of Development and Need Not Consider Subtypes
A school district may impose reasonable school impact fees based on the general type of development, regardless of whether the specific subtype of development will or will not generate new students. AMCAL Chico, LLC v. Chico Unified School District, No. C08700 (3rd Dist., Nov. 5, 2020).
AMCAL constructed a private dormitory complex intended to…
Municipal Water Rates are Protected from Referendum Challenges
The California Supreme Court ruled that water rates and other local utility charges are considered “taxes” for the purpose of California Constitution Article II, Section 9 and therefore exempt from the referendum process. Wilde v. City of Dunsmuir, No. S252915 (Cal. Supr. Ct., August 2, 2020).
The City of Dunsmuir adopted new water rates…
Development Agreement, Not Vesting Tentative Map, Governed Whether New Fees Applied to Project
When a tract of land is governed by both a vesting tentative map and a subsequent development agreement and the terms of the two documents conflict, the development agreement controls. North Murrieta Community v. City of Murrieta, No. E072663 (4th Dist., June 8, 2020).
North Murrieta Community, LLC, is the master developer of a large community in Riverside County called the “Golden City Project.” In 1999, the City of Murrieta approved a two-year Vesting Tentative Map for a subset of the overall project property. In 2001, four months before the Vesting Tentative Map was set to expire, North Murrieta and the City entered into a Development Agreement, which covered the entire project, including the tract subject to the 1999 Vesting Tentative Map.
The Development Agreement extended the Vesting Tentative Map for fifteen years, locking in regulations and fees for the same period, although now with an effective date of 2001. Importantly, in addition to the new effective date, the City expressly reserved rights in the Development Agreement to impose additional fees (or increase fees) in the future for city-wide impacts that were not fully mitigated at the time of project approval. The Vesting Tentative Map and Development agreement were both subsequently extended, with final expiration dates of 2019 and 2021, respectively.
In 2003, the City passed the Transportation Uniform Fee Program Ordinance (TUMF) to raise funds to improve the regional transportation system. Originally, the TUMF contained an exemption for projects subject to existing vesting tentative maps or development agreements, but the Murrieta City Council voted to remove the exemption in 2010. The City subsequently collected TUMF fees for development within the Golden City Project.
Continue Reading Development Agreement, Not Vesting Tentative Map, Governed Whether New Fees Applied to Project
San Francisco Voters Approve Vacancy Tax Ordinance
San Francisco voters have approved a Vacancy Tax Ordinance, which imposes a tax assessment on vacant commercial space beginning January 1, 2021. The tax applies to any commercial space that is “unoccupied, uninhabited, or unused for more than 182 days whether consecutive or non-consecutive in a tax year.” The tax is intended to help reinvigorate…