Will Supreme Court Case Lead to Lower Impact Fees — or Just More Studies?

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down Cal­i­for­ni­a’s unique rule — embed­ded in the Mit­i­ga­tion Fee Act — that exac­tions and impact fees don’t have to be “rough­ly pro­por­tion­al” to the impact of the new devel­op­ment project under con­sid­er­a­tion if they are imposed as of a gen­er­al plan or pro­gram-lev­el effort.

But now the ques­tion becomes whether the way Cal­i­for­nia juris­dic­tions actu­al­ly cal­cu­late those pro­gram-lev­el fees is spe­cif­ic enough to the “rough pro­por­tion­al­i­ty” rule – and that ques­tion be deter­mined by Cal­i­for­nia courts. Some have said this will inevitably lead to low­er impact fees. Giv­en the his­to­ry of impact and mit­i­ga­tion in Cal­i­for­nia, how­ev­er, it seems more like­ly that it will sim­ply lead to the use of a more sophis­ti­cat­ed method­ol­o­gy in nexus stud­ies that jus­ti­fy the fees. Cities and coun­ties in Cal­i­for­nia aren’t like­ly to up impact fee rev­enue that .

This arti­cle pro­vides a detailed expla­na­tion of how El Dora­do Coun­ty came up with the impact fee chal­lenged in the and dis­cuss­es options for how cities and coun­ties around the may have to cal­cu­late sim­i­lar fees in the .

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