By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Settlement means lower fees on some new homes
Placeholder Image
Florsheim Homes two years ago faced a $4,702 charge per home it built in the Valley Park and Valley Blossom neighborhoods in southwest Manteca.

The charge was to pay each new home’s fair share of the cost of building government facilities to accommodate growth. The builder believed the city was charging growth too much for the facilities they said they needed. So after the city refused to consider lowering them, the builder sued.

On Tuesday, a signed settlement to that lawsuit is expected to be delivered to the City Council during the 7 p.m. meeting at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

It means Floresheim will be charged $3,800 per low density residential unit and $3,169 per medium residential unit through Jan. 1, 2012. After that point, the fees will be adjusted upward to reflect the increases in the Engineering News Record Construction Cost Index for the previous two years.

The settlement does not affect the lawsuits Pulte Homes and Morrison Homes have against the city over the same fee charges.

The lawsuits started when home builders contended Manteca hadn’t proven its case that as the community grows the city needed a larger police headquarters.

Nor did builders believe the need for a new library, more city office space, an expanded corporation yard, a new animal control shelter or a performing arts center had been justified as required by state law with an accurate nexus.

City officials countered that they have conducted studies and public meetings over the course of several years that the facilities costing $109.1 million are needed and growth’s share of that tab - ultimately $4,702 a home - was justified.

Whether the facilities were needed was one of the premises of the original lawsuit filed in San Joaquin County Superior Court by the Building Industry Association of the Delta against the City of Manteca.

Developers, through BIA, also contended:

•the fee was excessive.

•growth was paying more than its fair share.

•the fee was unfair as it is nearly a 1,200 percent increase.

City leaders countered:
•the fee was justified as required by state law requiring exhaustive studies known as nexuses before such a fee can be put in place.

•the BIA got the city to delay the implementation of the fee for several months examined the nexus and discovered - with the city concurring - they had charged growth $73 too much per home for a new library and the fee was reduced accordingly. No other cost splits between growth and existing residents were challenged successfully at that time by developers’ representatives.

•the city has been talking with developers which is why the original fee of $4,702 ended up being phasing it in over three years starting with $4,000 this year, $4,300 in 2008 and $4,702 in 2009.

•the fee had been at $350 for 20 years since it was adopted in June 1986 with no adjustments for inflation or identifying what new growth during that time would demand in terms of city facilities.