Alameda Park Fees Invalidated
A park facility impact fee imposed on development in the City of Alameda has again been ruled invalid. A California appellate court upheld a lower court decision in Boatworks, LLC vs. the City of Alameda, affirming a ruling that Alameda cannot charge new development for parkland that the city had already acquired at no cost. Click HERE to read the court decision. Click HERE to download Boatworks’ press release. Developers who paid the park fee may be eligible for a refund and should consult their attorneys.
BACKGROUND: Boatworks’ developer Francis Collins and his attorney, Tom Roth, filed a lawsuit in 2014 against the City of Alameda, arguing that the city’s parks facility impact fee improperly included the cost to purchase land that it had received for free. Boatworks is a 9.4-acre project on Clement Street in Alameda, where Collins proposes to construct 182 multi-family units.
A Superior Court judge sided with the developer in December 2016 and ordered the city to rescind the fee. Initially, Alameda stopped charging the fee pending the completion of a new nexus study. But the city quickly reversed course, appealed the lower court ruling and resumed collection of the fee. The city released an updated nexus study in March 2018, which was intended to address issues raised in the lawsuit but recommended rates that were higher or very close to those being charged under the invalidated fee program. At the time of the lower court decision, BIA urged members to pay the fees under protest in order to preserve their rights to pursue refunds pending the outcome of the appeal. The city’s park facility fee is $12,711 per single-family unit and $10,088 per multi-family unit.