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Downey : Development Fees Imposed

March 19, 1987

The Board of Education of the Downey Unified School District voted unanimously Tuesday to levy fees on new residential, commercial and industrial developments to finance renovation and construction of school buildings.

The district will levy a 50-cents-a-square-foot fee on new residential buildings and a 25-cents-a-square-foot charge on commercial and industrial developments. The district will begin imposing the fees on projects started after May 18, said Peter Lippman, business manager.

The district anticipates that the fees will generate $200,000 from residential developments and $40,000 from commercial and industrial developments annually through 1990, Lippman said. No decision has been made on how the money will be spent.

"The most crying need we have right now is for Downey High School, the refurbishing of four buildings over there that are very old," Lippman said.

Residential additions and new housing for senior citizens are exempt from the fees.

The Legislature last fall gave power to school districts to levy the fees to help pay for construction of facilities. By law, school districts can charge developers up to $1.50 a square foot on residential construction and 25 cents a square foot on commercial and industrial building.

The fee for a typical home of 1,500 square feet in the Downey district would be $750. Builders have said they will charge the expense to consumers.

In a compromise with local developers, the district decided to charge only 50 cents a square foot on residential development in exchange for support of a proposed bond issue that would appear on the ballot in April, 1988. The bond issue, which still needs board approval, would provide from $10 million to $15 million for renovation of district buildings and the replacement of portables with permanent buidlings, Lippman said.

The district covers Downey and portions of South Gate, Bellflower and Bell Gardens.

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