SCSQUARED halfBy Eric Heinz

On Friday, May 6, the city of San Clemente announced it will begin the process of refunding Beach Parking Impact Fees (BPIFs), which were reclaimed by property owners in a lawsuit filed in 2014.

The city will mail a notification to property owners, most of whom reside on the east side of Interstate 5, who are eligible for a refund. The city’s staff will propose the City Council pass a resolution at the May 17 meeting to distribute the funds through its financial service company, BNY Mellon.

“The court order dictates who is eligible for the refund and to use the 2014-2015 (county) assessor’s tax roll of property owners during the time the decision was made,” Assistant City Manager Erik Sund said.

People who no longer own properties within the eligible area will not be able to receive a refund, even if they paid into it, according to the court order.

Because the funds gathered interest over time, eligible recipients will have to complete a W-9 tax form, Sund said.

The fund was as large as $10.9 million, but about $2.6 million of it was used to pay legal feeds to the litigants, which was ordered by the court.

Assessment of BPIFs were halted when the Orange County Superior Court ruled in favor of the litigants, Sund said.

“If we were to establish that fee again, we would have to conduct a nexus study that addresses the need of the fee,” Sund said.

The last beachside parking lot that was planned by the city was rejected by the California Coastal Commission, and any projects related to beach parking have been put “on hold,” City Manager James Makshanoff said.

“It’s a unique situation,” Makshanoff said. “It’s kind of uncharted territory.

The BPIFs were collected beginning in 1989 as a way to fund parking at beachside areas in San Clemente. As projects did not materialize and the fund sat stagnant, local attorney Brad Malamud as well as other litigants filed suit in 2012 challenging the necessity of the fees.

“The results of this decision affects all of the state of California in how they address mitigation fees,” Sund said, “and as we approach our next milestone on mitigation fees, we’ll also have to look at nexus studies in terms of updating and revisiting those fees. That will be a large endeavor in itself.”

Sund said there was no deadline for the city to use the fees, but the court decided they had held on to the money for too long to continue assessing and collecting the fee.

Sund said it could take up to five years to distribute all the money if there are people who do not claim their refund. After about five years, the unclaimed funds go into the state’s escheatment fund.

According to Sund, a list of the properties and their eligible refund, as well as a list of legal fees, will be listed on the city’s website, www.san-clemente.org under the News Feed item, “Beach Parking Impact Fees,” by the end of the week.

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comments (5)

  • Why does city hall simply make up stuff? City hall says it had no deadline to spend the money and yet it lost the lawsuit. Why did it lose the lawsuit? Because it failed to spend the money for the purpose intended within the time required. Sounds like a deadline. The court decided on that very issue. Too funny and too sad.

    Further, the city took money from homes east of the I-5 and loaned it to the golf course. And, spent the money on unauthorized expenditures. And, promised to use the same money to subsidize developer of the Playa del Norte project in North Beach that was soundly rejected by the public.

    It collected money for twenty-five years form East of I-5 homes to build beach parking while it was giving away beach parking to Metro-Link and property owners. You cannot make this stuff up.

    • In reading about this and learning it originated in 1989, it sure seems that when government gets too big they lose track of older stuff like this.

      It is an election year and those with less knowledge and political acumen will try to politicize this and pin it on the current elected officials who only serve for four years at a time.

      A few of the council members would have been in elementary school back then. Too funny.

  • The City treats those east of the 5 as 2nd class citizens except is glad to the their money.

    I believe the city council is ingrained and corrupt.

    • @Tom M. I’m kinda cracking up Tom. Second hand citizens with Golf Courses, Sports Parks, Shopping and Restaurants all lined with beautifully manicured green belts. My goodness. I’m thinking more and more people need to start focusing on the gifts around them and taking note of all that we are so lucky to share and call home.

      I think a bit more gratitude and a more in depth study on the Parking Fun on your behalf via public documents provided on the city’s domain would serve you good.

      Better yet! You should run for City council. I know a big gripe is not enough representation and involvement from the East of the Five folks. Anyone can run for office. Maybe this is your time?

  • its a shame the beach parking was not built ,, and those moneys should be replaced and spent

    and if we recall the pier bowl was a option and the residents rejected that idea .. Residents did not wont the extra congestion, just so a few business could make more money ,,so instead of parking ,,the DBA and PIER BOWL merchants stole the amtrak from north beach ,,, so now instead of by the car load displacement of our citizens on our beaches , its now by the train load displacement now that’s betrayal

    i for one do not know witch displaces our citizens from the beaches more erosion or the DBA aka camber of their commerce

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