The Compton Unified School District has ordered the city to block construction of a 102-unit condominium project after the developer refused to pay a $9,130 fee that the district says it owes.
Under a 1986 law, a school district may charge developers an impact fee for new construction in its area. Before a city can issue permits allowing construction to begin, it must have confirmation from the school district that all fees are paid.
Sonju Construction, which began building the Racquet Club Villas project in August, stopped payment on a check to the school district after it received a legal opinion that said it was not subject to the fees. In a letter to the district, the developer argued that it is exempt because plans to build the complex were filed in 1984, before the impact fee law was enacted.
The district disagrees, saying that the developer is subject to the fee because Sonju had not taken out permits on the project until this year. The district had issued its approval of Sonju's permits after receiving the check without waiting to see if it would clear the bank. Sonju is owned in part by William Dawson, chairman of Seal Beach-based AFCOM construction, which is the largest housing developer in Compton.