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By Eric Heinz
San Clemente City Council voted to petition the California Supreme Court regarding the Beach Parking Fund case during the closed session portion of the Tuesday night’s meeting.
The civil case in Orange County Superior Court, Walker V. San Clemente, was first decided in favor of the plaintiffs, who filed a lawsuit against the city for not tracking money properly that is intended to be spent on beach parking and that the funds should be returned to the property owners.
Last month, the Court of Appeal panel of judges upheld the lower court’s decision.
“California’s Mitigation Fee Act requires periodic accounting and reporting of the spend-down of mitigation fees collected,” a press release from the city stated. “The Court of Appeal found that the city’s 2009 report and accompanying budget documents did not adequately explain why those beach parking impact fees (BPIFs) had not been spent, or how they would be spent in the future.”
The court has ordered the city to dissolve the funds and return about $10 million that was collected over the course of more than 20 years. The city wants to be able to provide evidence of the 2009 report rather than completely dissolve the fund.
California state law allows for governments to vote on matters of existing or pending litigation, provided any action taken is reported afterward during the open meeting.
The arguments the city makes against the decisions can be found in the press release, which was disbursed earlier this afternoon, and can be read by clicking here: 9-17-15 City to seek CA Supreme Court Review of Walker v San Clemente