This decision reinforces the concept that, while school districts must demonstrate a nexus – or reasonable relationship – between development fees and the type of development, such as residential units, they generally are not required to evaluate the ultimate user of a particular development project before imposing district-wide fees on a developer. This ruling will likely have direct repercussions to a developer’s proforma in today’s marketplace, were both developers and local governments are implementing creative strategies for addressing certain housing shortages – such as the provision of specific workforce housing.
The Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled that whether the Salinas Union High School District acted reasonably in imposing a school impact fee on a new 100-unit residential development intended to only house adult seasonal farmworkers — without dependents employed by Tanimura & Antle Fresh Foods. After reviewing the relevant statutory schemes, the Legislature’s intent, and the District’s evidence for imposing the fee, the court found that the District properly determined a reasonable relationship existed between the fee and the new residential construction, even though the development would not generate any new students. In holding so, the court reversed the trial court judgment.