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School District's 'Developer Fee'

February 12, 1988

There were two things wrong with your article on the school fees and Rancho Palos Verdes (Times, Feb. 11). One was that turn-of-the-century photo you printed of me. The other was (the statement) that I am a longtime critic of school district finances.

I have never, secretly or publicly, been critical of their finances. I, along with the entire Rancho Palos Verdes City Council, endorsed the school parcel tax question, which unfortunately lost by a whisker.

I disagree 100% with the "developer fee" imposed by the school district. It is really a homeowner fee. It was contrived by the state Legislature at the behest of developers in the San Diego area who were building homes faster than schools could be created to serve the new kids. The developers wanted some protection because they were getting hit with the $5-per-square-foot school fees. The state got into the act and authorized school fees statewide with $1.50 as the maximum. The intent, language and thrust of the bill is to take care of the rapidly expanding school districts. It gets funny when school districts that are collapsing from lack of kids try to get under the same umbrella.

The bill states that there must be a nexus between the construction and the overcrowding and that the school district must make an appropriate finding. The Palos Verdes district claims they can use the money to rehabilitate property. Aside from Malaga Cove school, I don't believe any school needs anything but routine maintenance. The Malaga Cove problem is certainly one the school district could have avoided if they had retained the modern Margate school and turned over the superannuated Malaga Cove facility to the Palos Verdes Homes Assn. for historical preservation.

Our city has always had excellent relations with the school district and this will continue. The state knows they have created a Hydra-headed monster; there are many lawsuits on this issue and a welter of solutions already being floated about Sacramento. It is typical state solution. Walk away from a problem by dumping it on the local people.

You build an 800-square-foot addition for a den. You must pay the schools a $1,200 impact fee. Sic transit fairness.

ROBERT E. RYAN

Mayor, Rancho Palos Verdes

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