• EC Habitat Conservancy Settles Fee Litigation

  • Seeno homebuilding companies have settled a seven-year-old lawsuit challenging the East Contra Costa County Habitat Conservancy’s mitigation fees. The conservancy board unanimously approved the agreement at a special meeting on Jan. 8, 2021.

    For the development industry, the Seeno settlement means that the ECCHC and its member agencies — Pittsburg, Brentwood, Oakley, Clayton and Contra Costa County — are now free to adopt fee changes pursuant to rate audits conducted every five years. Under the HCP, legal action taken against any single member freezes fees districtwide until the litigation is resolved. The conservancy’s most recent rate audit was completed in 2017 and its anticipated adoption in the next several months will result in reductions in the broad development impact fee of approximately 4 percent. The savings will range from $340 per acre to $1,371 per acre, depending on location.

    Discovery Builders, Inc., filed suit against Brentwood in November 2013, challenging the city’s legal authority to impose HCP fees on the builder’s Mission Grove residential development project on the grounds that the site did not contain the threatened or endangered species covered by the permit. Under the approved settlement, Seeno agreed to drop the Brentwood lawsuit in exchange for fee adjustments on three Pittsburg area housing projects and the provision of specific mitigation properties in-lieu of fees. To view the agenda packet and settlement language, click HERE. Contact BIA’s Lisa Vorderbrueggen at lvorderbrueggen@biabayarea.org with questions or comments.