RIM fee lawsuit likely to go on

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

A lawsuit filed against Calaveras County supervisors for not having a road impact mitigation fee in place will likely go forward even if supervisors vote Monday to levy the fees.

In June, an organization called Concerned Citizens of Calaveras County, representing about 25 residents, filed the lawsuit to "compel" supervisors to approve RIM fees, said Monterey attorney Alexander Hensen, the group's lawyer.

The suit claims the organization's members are "suffering from the increasing traffic throughout the county." It also said no money had been set aside for roads, despite the county's growing population.

Ultimately, the suit demands a ban on future development until road impact mitigation fees are collected from developers of new homes and apartments.

Road impact mitigation fees, often referred to as RIM fees, are collected for each new house built in a city or county. They pay for road expansion, such as adding lanes or turnouts, or for building new roads. They're not used for road repairs.

On Monday, county supervisors could approve an ordinance to set RIM fees at $4,900 per single-family home or $3,300 for each apartment in a complex or each half of a duplex.

Developers of commercial buildings would be charged $2,920 per 1,000 square feet.

Burson resident Joyce Techel, a Concerned Citizens member, said her group won't drop its lawsuit until RIM fees are actually in place.

"They've gone through at least two sets of consultants in the past, and have come up with the documents they have now, but they didn't act on it," Techel said. "We want them to act on it."

However, she said, her group has enough problems with the proposed RIM fees that it may move forward with its lawsuit, even if the RIM fees are set in place.

Hensen said the $57 million that would be generated by the proposed RIM fees over the next 20 years would cover only about 35 percent of the expenses for upcoming road projects.

The state would provide some funding for projects. The rest of the money may have to come from new or increased taxes.

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The Union Democrat
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