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Current Issues in Development Impact Fees


Gain tips on how to distinguish between fees that have been upheld and those which have been found deficient in one way or another.

The establishment and imposition of reasonable, legally-valid, development impact fees and similar exactions as conditions of development approval remains one of the most contentious and fiscally-significant subjects of concern for public policy-makers, planners, governmental agencies and private developers and property owners (as well as for prospective home buyers and tenants). In light of increasing budgetary constraints (exacerbated by the recent pandemic) many state and local agencies increasingly turn to fees as a critical source of funding for needed public infrastructure and facilities. At the same time, however, there is widespread recognition that such fees and exactions are a major factor adversely impacting the affordability of housing. Legislatures and courts have imposed new constraints on the use of development fees. This topic will provide insights as to how to try to navigate these turbulent waters, including practical suggestions and guidance based on recent court decisions, distinguishing between fees that have been upheld and those which have been found deficient in one way or another.



David P. Lanferman

David P. Lanferman

Rutan & Tucker, LLP

  • Experienced land use attorney and partner in Rutan & Tucker, LLP, based in the firm’s Palo Alto and San Francisco offices
  • Experience includes obtaining and defending land use entitlements, and features prominent roles in analyzing, negotiating, and litigating issues raised by development fees, impact mitigation fees, connection and capacity charges, school facilities fees, regulatory fees, special taxes, and other types of exactions or conditions imposed as conditions of development or permit approval
  • Involved in the design, review, and analysis of hundreds of fee programs and ordinances as well as input to state government on fee legislation
  • Litigated more than 300 cases involving development fees or land use exactions in trial courts throughout California
  • Lead counsel in many appellate court cases involving land use practice and development fees, including successful outcomes in several notable published decisions by the California Courts of Appeal and Supreme Court, as well as amicus briefing in the U.S. Supreme Court in several cases involving fees and exactions
  • Update Author, and editorial advisor, for CEB’s authoritative treatise on California Land Use Practice, and a frequent contributor of articles and presentations on impact development fees, CEQA, mitigation measures, zoning and subdivision regulation, and other topical land use issues
  • Served as vice-chair of the Executive Committee of the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of California
  • Awarded an advanced study certificate in Litigating and Defending Impact Fees by the Georgia Institute of Technology.
  • Graduate, high honors and Phi Beta Kappa, U.C. Davis; J.D. degree, editorial board, Constitutional Law Quarterly, U.C. Hastings College of Law

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