Posted by: Patricia Salkin | November 5, 2020

CA Appeals Court Upholds School Impact Fees

This post was authored by Matthew Loescher, Esq. 

Plaintiff AMCAL Chico, LLC constructed a dormitory complex that would house unmarried university students within the boundaries of defendant Chico Unified School District. The District imposed school impact fees on the complex and AMCAL filed suit seeking a refund of the fees. The trial court granted the District’s motion for summary judgment. AMCAL appealed, and contended the fees were required to be refunded because: the District failed to comply with section 66001, the fee was an invalid special tax, and the fee was an improper taking.

 As it pertains to this case, Government Code section 66001 requires that the District determine that: “there is a reasonable relationship between the fee’s use and the type of development on which the fee is imposed”; and “there is a reasonable relationship between the need for the school facilities for which the fees will be used and the residential development upon which the fee is imposed.” The court determined that the Mitigation Fee Act did not support the developer’s claim that a school district must make an individualized determination for each particular project. Instead, the school district was required to make findings based on the general type of construction, as the District did here. As the trial court found, and the record reflected, the District’s fee study conclusion was reasonable and the mitigation fee was proper.

 The court lastly noted that developer fees generally do not constitute a taking if the fee is reasonably related to the impacts of the type of new residential development on the school district’s school facilities and meet the requirements of the Mitigation Fee Act. As the District’s fee complied with the Mitigation Fee Act, it therefore did not constitute a taking.

AMCAL Chico LLC v Chico Unified School District, 2020 WL 6498638 (CA App. 11/5/2020)

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