Bay Area Council Hails Supreme Court Decision on Costly Impact Fees

The Bay Area Council today (April 12) issued the following statement on the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows builders and developers to challenge costly and often arbitrary impact fees that cities and counties charge for a wide range of projects. The Council submitted an amicus brief in support of the ruling, which stemmed from a case (Sheetz v El Dorado County) of a homeowner who was charged $23,000 in traffic impact fees for a project to build an 1,800 square foot modular home on his property.

“This ruling is hopefully the first step on the path to returning some fairness in how housing and other local impact fees are charged,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The way impact fees have thus far been imposed has been arbitrary and varies wildly from town to town. Exorbitant fee loads have been a huge drag on our ability to bring down California’s astronomical housing costs and can add tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of building new homes and too often are wildly disproportionate to the impact they are seeking to mitigate.”

“Local jurisdictions should be allowed to charge impact fees, which fund a wide range of important public services,” Wunderman added. “While the Supreme Court ruling doesn’t prescribe a solution for how such fees are imposed, the Council is working with local government partners and legislators on ways to administer fees that are reasonable, transparent and fair.”

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