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
Exactions and Assessments
School Mitigation Fees May Validly be Imposed on Adult-Only Seasonal Farmworker Housing
When imposing a school impact fee on residential development, a district need not separately analyze particular subtypes of projects; the authorizing statutes simply require a reasonable relationship between the need for the school facilities and the type of development project — in this case, residential. Tanimura & Antle Fresh Foods v. Salinas Union High School…
Increase in San Francisco Office and Laboratory Use Development Fees to Pay for Affordable Housing
The San Francisco Jobs Housing Linkage Fee (JHLF) is set to more than double under the “Housing for SF Workers” ordinance recently passed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (Ordinance). Mayor London Breed refused to sign the Ordinance, but even without the Mayor’s signature, Housing for SF Workers becomes effective on December 15, 2019.…
Action for Refund of Developer Fees Was Subject to One-Year Statute of Limitations
The Third District Court of Appeal held that a suit for refund of developer fees based on failure to make findings required under the Mitigation Fee Act was an action for a “penalty or forfeiture” subject to the one-year limitations period under Code of Civil Procedure section 340(a). County of El Dorado v. Superior Court…
Park and Recreation Fees Violated Mitigation Fee Act
The court of appeal held that the City of Alameda’s development fee for parks and recreation was invalid and unenforceable because there was no reasonable relationship between the fee charged and the burden from new development. Boatworks, LLC v. City of Alameda, 35 Cal. App. 5th 290 (2019). The City improperly inflated mitigation fees…
Public Agency Could Validly Accept Dedication After Twenty Years By Physically Occupying the Property
Twenty years was a reasonable period of time for a public agency to accept a right-of-way dedication offer by physically occupying the property. Prout v. Department of Transportation, 31 Cal. App. 5th 200 (2019).
Prout developed a 165-acre residential subdivision that fronted State Highway 12 in Calaveras County. In 1989, Prout submitted to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) an application for an encroachment permit to connect his subdivision’s private road to Highway 12. Caltrans approved the encroachment permit conditioned upon Prout dedicating a 20-foot-wide strip of vacant land along Highway 12 (1.31 acres total) as public right-of-way. Final subdivision maps recorded in 1990 labeled the 20-foot strip as “area in the process of being deeded to Caltrans for highway purposes.” However, “the matter simply ‘fell through the cracks,’” and the 20-foot strip was never transferred by deed to Caltrans. In the subsequent years, Prout never was assessed or paid property taxes on the 20-foot strip, and he did not fence the area within his subdivision parcels.
Two decades later, while planning for work to improve Highway 12, Caltrans discovered that the 20-foot strip of land had never been transferred by deed. Caltrans requested that Prout sign a deed to convey the strip of land; Prout refused. Caltrans proceeded with widening Highway 12 to include the 20-foot strip of land, completing the work in 2011.
Prout filed an inverse condemnation action against Caltrans, alleging that Caltrans owed him just compensation for physically occupying the 20-foot strip of land. Caltrans filed a cross-complaint for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and specific performance, alleging that Prout had accepted the benefit of the encroachment permit but refused to finalize the dedication and deed of the 20-foot strip. In response, Prout argued that if the dedication of the 20-foot strip was a condition of the encroachment permit (as claimed by Caltrans), it was an illegal exaction.
Continue Reading Public Agency Could Validly Accept Dedication After Twenty Years By Physically Occupying the Property
29th Annual Briefing on Land Use and Development Law — Materials Available
School District’s Fee Study Did Not Contain the Information Necessary to Lawfully Impose Development Fees
The Sixth District Court of Appeal invalidated a school district’s Level 1 development fee because the underlying fee study did not properly calculate anticipated growth and included the cost of hypothetical new schools that the district had no plans to build. Summerhill Winchester v Campbell Union School District, No. H043253 (6th Dist., Dec. 4,…
School Fees for Apartment Buildings Not Limited to Square Footage of Individual Units
School impact fees for an apartment complex must be calculated based on the square footage of both the individual units and other space within the interior of the buildings, such as hallways and elevator shafts. 1901 First Street Owner v. Tustin Unified School District, 21 Cal. App. 5th 1186 (2018).
School impact fees under Government Code section 65995 are based on “assessable space,” defined as “all of the square footage within the perimeter of a residential structure, not including any carport, covered or uncovered walkway, garage, overhang, patio, enclosed patio, detached accessory structure, or similar area.” (§ 65995(b)(1).) This square footage is to be “calculated by the building department of the city or county issuing the building permit, in accordance with the standard practice of that city or county in calculating structural perimeters.” (Id.)
The City of Tustin calculated the square footage of an apartment building owned by 1901 First Street using a “net rentable” method — the City’s standard practice at that time — which included the square footage of the individual apartment units but excluded everything else in the building. The school district objected to this method, contending that the statute required all space within the perimeter of the building to be included. The City then revised its square footage calculation based on the perimeter of the building, which resulted in an increase in the fee of over $238,000. First Street sued to recover the difference.
Continue Reading School Fees for Apartment Buildings Not Limited to Square Footage of Individual Units
City Does Not Have Burden of Showing Reasonableness of Housing Fees
Just over a year after the California Supreme Court strongly endorsed inclusionary housing ordinances, the Second District Court of Appeal upheld a city’s collection of in-lieu housing fees against a developer’s claim that the city failed to carry its burden of proving the fees were reasonably related to development impacts. 616 Croft Ave., LLC v. …