Court Issues Guidance on Requirements for Justifying Level 2 Fees with a School Facilities Needs Analysis

In Tanimura & Antle Fresh Foods, Inc. v. Salinas Union High School District (Apr. 26, 2019) the Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the Salinas Union High School District in a case challenging the collection of Level 2 residential fees on an unusual project consisting of a 100-unit agricultural worker housing complex limited to adult employees only. The developer contended both that (1) this type of project had not been addressed in the District’s School Facilities Needs Analysis (SFNA) to support Level 2 fees; and (2) that there would be no impact on the District’s schools because no children would live there, and therefore Level 2 residential fees could not be imposed.

The Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the District finding that the statutory scheme for developer fees does not require the SFNA to contain an analysis of specific types of residential development not listed in the statute, otherwise there would be an unlimited number of development possibilities to be analyzed. The Court also ruled that analysis of the impact of a specific project on the need for school facilities is not required, stating “site-specific review is neither available nor needed” under the developer fee statutes. The SFNA need only project the total number of new residential units to be built, approximate the number of students that would be generated by the new housing, and estimate the cost burden on the District’s school facilities.

If you have questions concerning developer fees on residential, commercial or industrial development or the current requirements for a school facilities needs analysis or fee resolution, please contact our Southern California office at (714) 573-0900, our Northern California office at (916) 245-8677, or visit our website at www.parkercovert.com.

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