The following is a letter of position submitted by the GCVCC Legislative Advocacy Committee.
March 15, 2017
Senator Mike McGuire (Chair)
Senate Governance & Finance Committee
State Capital – Room 5061
Sacramento, CA 95814
On behalf of the Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce we are writing to express our SUPPORT for the proposed legislative bill SB 697 (Stone). Our organization represents over 1300 businesses within the Coachella Valley.
The Mitigation Fee Act, originating as AB 1600 (1987) was introduced to provide surety and equitability to cities, counties and other local agencies in providing the means to build the necessary infrastructure to support growth from business and residential construction. Amendments, together with the Nollan (1987) and Dolan (1994) cases have secured the Mitigation Fee Act’s standards as the means for new construction to pay its fair share for new, and the expansion of existing infrastructure. The required development impact fee studies identify needs and shared, equitable costs attributable to new construction. It is transparent and based on the appropriate “nexus” studies, and fees are posted for potential construction’s consideration.
Additionally, the Mitigation Fee Act requires an annual report identifying the agencies’ collection of fees, where and how those funds were expended, or encumbered for future infrastructure projects. This process also allows the agencies and the public to view the “nexus” of needed infrastructure to the burden of supporting new development. It also assures us that the agencies are spending those funds appropriately, either to those needs identified in the original “nexus” study or to an annually adopted “Capital Improvement Plan”.
However, not every agency is fulfilling their annual reporting obligation. And, there are many agencies that flat out refuse to comply with this reporting requirement. This becomes a serious transparency issue when our home-buyers throughout the State have paid for infrastructure as part of their purchase price, but the infrastructure facilities have yet to materialize.
SB 697 adds some incentive to appropriately publish and file the reportable fees reports annually. This bill would require agencies that have failed to publish and file an annual report for two (2) consecutive years, to refrain from the collection of any development impact fee. Until such a time that the agency complies with their reporting obligations under the Mitigation Fee Act, those agencies are required to accept building permit applications without the ability to collect the development impact fee. Additionally, the agency may not threaten nor implement a moratorium on new construction projects.
Our organization supports SB 697. We believe it provides a necessary tool for transparency in the collection and spending of impact fees as originally intended in the Mitigation Fee Act.
Community Development Officer
The Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce
Senator Janet Nguyen (Vice Chair)
Senator Jim Beall
Senator Ed Hernandez
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Senator Ricardo Lara
Senator John M.W. Moorlach