Skip to comments.Carlsbad, CA: Property rights at issue (PLF Alert)
Posted on 04/06/2007 12:01:08 PM PDT by CounterCounterCulture
CARLSBAD A property-rights group has sued the city, claiming it requires property owners to give up their right to vote on forming an assessment district in return for obtaining a permit to improve their property and waive development fees.
However, the city attorney said the lawsuit misses the point that development is a privilege and that the city has a right to place conditions on it.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in San Diego federal court by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of Craig and Robin Griswold, focuses on a city ordinance that requires owners who are making property improvements in excess of $75,000 to pay a street improvement fee to the city.
In the Griswolds' case, the fee amounted to $114,979 for a 1,400-square-foot expansion of their house, the lawsuit says.
The city offers an option to waive the fee if owners sign a neighborhood improvement agreement. The couple signed the agreement, by which they promised to include their property in an assessment district that may be formed in the future to pay for street improvements. In other words, the Griswolds agreed that they would give up their right to oppose any assessment district placed on the ballot in the future.
The lawsuit claims the fee is an assessment in disguise, and that the agreement forced the couple to turn their vote over to the city to support a formation of a future assessment district, a violation of the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
(Excerpt) Read more at signonsandiego.com ...
Have an update on this?
Sounds like an illegal exaction, not to mention arbitrary and capricious, and PLF is the right organization to handle this case. A similar issue was covered by the USSC in Tigard v Dolan. The fascist city attorney will come out looking like a squashed bug. Hope the city gets hit for $100 million in punitive damages.
It’s “an offer they can’t refuse”.
Cities were doing this for years, until one builder took a Texas city to the SCOTUS. SCOTUS ruled that the cities couldn’t assess a builder for something that he didn’t directly benefit from. It’s going to be hard for the city to prove that the homeowner gets $114,000 in city benefits for that fee.
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