The City of San Clemente must refund $10.5 million in beach parking fees charged to homeowners over the past 26 years, a state appeals court has ruled. The Aug. 28 decision upholds a prior Orange County Superior Court ruling calling for dissolution of the city’s beach-parking fund and the return of unspent funds to some 6,000 homeowners.
According to the court, the city never built beach parking with the funds it received. It also violated the Mitigation Fee Act by failing to justify retention of the fees. Consequently, homeowners who have paid the fees since they were established in 1989 will see an average refund of $1,500 after legal costs, said Brad Malamud who filed the lawsuit in 2012.
“We are disappointed in the decision,” said City Manager James Makshanoff. “I have informed the council of the decision, but as of this time I have not had an opportunity to discuss the decision with the council. I am sure we will discuss it in the near future and then a we can decide our next steps.”
The court’s decision deals a significant blow to the city and could increase the likelihood of similar challenges elsewhere.
Read more about the ruling here.
Image Credit: Flickr User mission-beach, https://flic.kr/p/aqumHA via (CC BY 2.0)