The developer building a hotel and 26 homes at the former Palo Alto Bowl site is demanding a refund from the city, which he claims overcharged him for "impact fees" relating to the project.
Monroe Place LP has filed a claim challenging the city's demand for impact fees that typically fund parks, libraries and other community services that would be impacted by new houses -- and their residents. The new development is being built at 4301 El Camino Real.
In calculating these fees, Monroe claims, the city had erred in considering the townhouses as "single-family structures" rather than multi-family ones. Thus, the city's demands, which had to be met before a building permit was issued, were "unlawful, unjustified, excessive, arbitrary and in error and in excess of the defendant's authority," the claim states.
"There is no factual, legal or evidentiary basis for the City's demand for payment of such disputed 'parkland dedication in-lieu fees,' 'community center fees' or 'library development fees' at the excessive 'single family residential' rates," the developer's attorney David Lanferman wrote in the claim.
For these reasons, the claim argues, the city's "demands and imposition of the disputed fees on the project are unlawful and invalid and should be enjoined and refunded with interest."
The dispute has been dragging on since at least January, when Lanferman submitted to the city a letter protesting the fees. The imposition of fees using "single-family" rates, he wrote, "is not only unjustified and inappropriate and inconsistent with the analysis underlying the calculations of the City's fees for these public facilities and amenities, it is also inconsistent with the City's own Municipal Code pursuant to which this entire project is clearly a multi-family development."
According to the city, the term "single family" -- as the term relates to impact fees -- refers to a "single dwelling unit that does not share a common wall with another dwelling unit."
The development, which the City Council approved in December 2009, includes the 26 three-story and a 167-room Hilton Homewood Suites hotel. Some of the homes are free-standing and others share one wall (called a duplex), according to the website of the parent company, Classic Communities. Its lawsuit notwithstanding, Classic Communities describes the residential component of the new development as "Single-Family & Duplex Homes."