Impact Fees

Many of our neighbors are complaining about Impact Fees, which the company is charging people for a variety of things, from parking a camper in their driveway, to doing major renovations.

While I don’t know for sure, my guess is that impact fees originate from the fact that we are all “supposed” to be charge pretty much the same amount for our water. The current fees I think are $58 plus $1 per share, which for a standard 5,000 sq. ft. property comes out to $60/month.

However, some houses have one person living at a house, and some have 10. How is that fair?

Well, the fairness part is primarily I think due to the fact that the major cost of delivering water to each house is the plumbing and equipment. The amount of water we use has some expense, but is not the major expense.

When someone does a renovation on their house, the water company is supposed to do a review of the plans, and could potentially charge a fee for the expense of reviewing the plans, and whatever additional burden the new renovation will have on the system. However, without meters, its not possible to measure this burden. So, the water company appears to be trying to make up for this by charging “impact fees”, from $2,500 to $5,000.

These impact fees have no basis in law, nor does the water company explain how they compute them. The amounts seem excessive. They also appear to be charging them in situations where there is no impact to the water, including when people change out the windows in their house, or just park a camper in the driveway.

There was also a Class Action Lawsuit many years ago that ended with a judgement against the water company, ordering the water company to stop charging these fees until they put them in the Bylaws, and making sure they were only charged when there was an actual impact to the water. The company appears to be ignoring this court order.

Author: shannon

Shannon and his wife April have lived in East Palo Alto since they were married in 1991. He is the Executive Director of the Ravenswood Youth Athletic Association, which oversees the soccer club that plays at Cesar Chavez school in East Palo Alto.