Council Joins Supreme Court Case Challenging Arbitrary Local Impact Fees

Posted In:

Excessive and often arbitrary local fees have long contributed to California’s housing crisis, driving up the cost of building, making new homes less affordable and creating a disincentive for producing the housing we badly need. While the Bay Area Council has worked to address excessive fees through legislation and other remedies, there is much work to be done when you consider the hodge podge of local fees exacted by the hundreds of cities and counties across the state.

That’s why the Council, working with member Coblentz Patch Duffy and Bass, this week submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving a homeowner in El Dorado County who got hit with an incredible $23,000 traffic impact fee for an 1,800 square foot single-family house he was proposing to build. The case centers around the constitutionality of imposing fees with little or no nexus to the impact they are seeking to mitigate. Early indications from the court suggest that the homeowner will prevail when a final ruling is announced next June, which is good news but just the beginning of the story.

A ruling in favor of the El Dorado homeowner could have sweeping and significant fiscal implications for cities and counties and special districts that have increasingly come to rely on fees to fund a wide range of local services, from parks and libraries to streets and roads. While the Council opposes excessive and arbitrary fees, we also recognize that reasonable fees are necessary to support impacts from new housing and other construction. They should be applied fairly and proportionately, and we hope the court’s decision reflects this. In anticipation of the ruling expected next summer, we’re already exploring possible legislation that would address any loss of revenue local jurisdictions derive from fees.

Subscribe to The Weekly Flash Subscribe
News and Guts Search Menu Left Angle Up Angle Down Angle Right Angle Left Arrow Right Arrow Email User Play Pause Fullscreen Exit Fullscreen Unmute Mute Close Loading Gallery Arrow Gallery Youtube Facebook Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn Pinterest Google + Flickr Yelp Trip Advisor