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Water District Seeks $664,323 From Builders

September 16, 1993|DOUG McCLELLAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Calleguas Municipal Water District is going after deadbeat developers who allegedly owe $664,323 in overdue fees for hooking up to water services.

Calleguas General Manager Don Kendall said the district is attempting to collect the money because it has had to raise water rates for its customers and is considering raising fees for new development.

"It's not fair that these things are still hanging," Kendall said.

But several of the developers on the list said the district is unfairly accusing them of shirking their dues.

"You can't get anything done unless you pay the fees up front," said Marshall Wengrow, who worked for the former Tiffany Development Co. and Tiffany North Ranch II development in Thousand Oaks.

For instance, Calleguas says the Tiffany North Ranch project owes $11,046, but Wengrow said the claim is for land that was never developed but left as common areas.

"You don't have to pay for something you're not going to build upon," Wengrow said.

Calleguas' outstanding debt has been whittled to about half of what it was in 1991, when the district hired a financial assistant to identify developers who owed money to the district, said Calleguas controller Mary Jo Fischer.

"I think they knew they had to pay it," said board President Patrick Miller. Miller said most of the developers included the cost of the fees in the homes they built.

But Miller said the district would not attempt to recover any money--or shut off the water--from homeowners or others who purchased the developers' property in good faith.

"We didn't feel it was their responsibility. We were going after the developers," Miller said.

The biggest name on the list is developer Barclay Hollander, which built several tracts in Camarillo, including the Springs, Camarillo Springs, Tierras and Miramonte condominiums. Calleguas claims the developer owes a total of $183,133.

Miller said the board is likely to sue Barclay Hollander unless the company pays its past fees.

"We will never issue another 'will-serve' letter to him until he makes good," Miller said, referring to the document issued by Calleguas when a development is approved for water service.

Barclay Hollander officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The Calprop Corp. of Los Angeles is listed as owing $62,040 for the Design Edition housing development in Moorpark--a claim one Calprop official said is ridiculous.

"We don't believe we owe the money. They haven't been able to produce any documentation that we owe the money or that we haven't paid," said Ron Petch, an executive vice president of Calprop. "And with the way the economy is, even if we did recognize that we owed it, which we don't, we couldn't pay it. We're trying to stay in business."

Petch said it is unfair for Calleguas to attempt to collect a debt that is several years old.

"This project was finished in 1986," Petch said. "They're coming back years later and saying, by the way, you forgot to pay us $62,000."

One developer on the list, the Canyon North Co. of Thousand Oaks, has been making regular payments to eliminate its debt to Calleguas.

Even other public agencies are on the list. The city of Simi Valley is listed as owing $1,982 and the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District is down for $7,208.

The fees, known as the capital construction charges, are levied on new development to pay for their share of the new equipment and supplies needed to serve them.

Developers currently pay $940 for a new single-family home and $595 for each unit of a townhouse, apartment condominium or other multiple housing unit.

Calleguas is the county's largest water wholesaler and serves nearly 500,000 customers in Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Moorpark and Oxnard, and the unincorporated communities of Oak Park, Bell Canyon and Lake Sherwood.

Calleguas buys water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and resells it to 21 public and private water companies throughout the county.

Fees Owed the Water District Unincorporated county areas

Amount Date Debt Builder Outstanding Discovered Viewscape Corp. $2,072 5/22/91 Calmark Properties $25,215 5/22/91 Brent Smith $940 12/9/91 Century Investment $940 5/22/91 Sterling Homes $3,760 6/1/91 Bruce Lindsey $940 1992 Arthur Dewhurst $345 1/93 Rancho Simi Parks and Recreation Dept. $7,208 1993

*Thousand Oaks

Amount Date Debt Builder Outstanding Discovered Northoaks Properties(2) $26,180 7/1/91 Stepford Group $5,700 8/26/91 Canyon North Co. $34,780 11/1/91 Tiffany Development $6,580 8/27/91 S.F.& Sons, Inc. $14,875 8/27/91 Tiffany North Ranch II $11,046 9/13/91 Frank Millman $3,353 7/24/91 North Ranch Community Center Undetermined 3/1/93

*Simi Valley

Amount Date Debt Builder Outstanding Discovered Simi-Kuehner Ltd. $4,023 3/22/91 City of Simi Valley $1,982 3/24/93

*Oxnard

Amount Date Debt Builder Outstanding Discovered Sammis/Sarris Undetermined 5/5/93

*Moorpark

Amount Date Debt Builder Outstanding Discovered Poindexter & Associates $18,607 4/26/91 Tiffany Business Park $93,411 10/4/91 Calprop Corp. $62,040 10/31/91 Kavlico $3,017 3/1/93

*Camarillo

Amount Date Debt Builder Outstanding Discovered Calle Quetzal Partners Ltd. $10,058 12/13/91 Yoshitaka Sakazaki $11,305 5/1/91 Barclay Hollander (5) $183,133 1991 Oceanic California $77,353 3/28/91 Wittenberg Corp. $55,460 4/89/91 TOTAL $604,325.84

Source: Calleguas Municipal Water District

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