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City Collected More Than $5.6 Million in Development Impact Fees, Reports Says


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January 8, 2019 -- The City of Santa Monica collected nearly $5.65 million in impact fees from developers to fund community benefits during the past fiscal year, according to the latest annual report.

The fees will fund investments in child care, transportation, parks, affordable housing and water consumption, according to the report presented to the City Council Tuesday.

"Staff continues to monitor development projects and revenue collected to ensure that fees are accounted for and expended in accordance with the purposes for which they were collected as required by law," according to the staff report.

The most money -- $2.136 million -- was generated by Transportation Impact Fees that fund improvements to sidewalks and crossings, traffic signal upgrades and transit and bicycle facilities.

The City often leverages the funds to obtain matching grants, staff said.

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Parks and Recreation Impact Fees, which are used to upgrade and expand parks and recreation facilities, accounted for $1.482 million.

Some of the money will be used to help build new restrooms at Clover Park, as well as the expansions of Memorial Park and Airport Park.

Child Care Linkage Fees -- which will help fund the Early Childhood Lab School (ECLS) -- accounted for $1.271 million.

A joint partnership between SMC and the City, the $16 million facility will serve as many as 110 infants, toddlers and preschoolers ("Long-Awaited Santa Monica Early Childhood Center to Break Ground," March 6, 2018).

"This fee is intended to address the increased demand for child care triggered by the development of commercial projects adding floor area of at least 7,500 square feet or multi-family residential projects," staff said.

The Affordable Housing Commercial Linkage Fee -- used "to offset the additional need for affordable housing generated by new commercial development" -- totaled $505,674.

The smallest amount was the Water Demand Mitigation Fee, which mitigates "the total daily water consumption rate projected for the development." The fee generated $248,219.

The City Council recently modified the law to close loopholes in the water fee law ("Santa Monica to Explain Changes in Water Law to Builders," December 6, 2018).

Mitigation fees were established by the California Assembly in 1987 "to defray the all or a portion of the costs of public facilities related to (a) project," staff said.

Te purpose of a mitigation fee and its anticipated use must be clearly identified when the fee is established, staff said.

Santa Monica's five fees were established by the Council between 1991 and 2015.

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