Supervisors side with builder on fees

A retired teacher who was hit with a $10,445 road impact fee for a home he plans to build in Paso Robles had the amount sliced in half by a Board of Supervisors which was sympathetic to his argument that he was not going to create a lot of traffic.

Supervisors also took note of the fact that Ronald Jolliffe had not received communication from the county alerting him to the fee. When he found out about it, it caught him off guard, he said.

County staffers said they sent a letter by certified mail to Jolliffe in July, and “we received no notice from the U.S. Post Office of its receipt … nor was it returned to us.”

They sent out subsequent letters in December and January that were received.

But by that time, Jolliffe was proceeding with his plans for his 2,820-square-foot dwelling at 8380 Vineyard Drive unaware that an extra $10,000 was going to be tacked onto his costs.

He said if he had to pay the fee, it could delay the building of his home by a year or more.

“Maybe we can send the bill to the postal service,” Supervisor Frank Mecham quipped.

Mecham, however, was serious about Jolliffe finding himself with unexpected costs added to the project.

It is a recurring phenomenon at the Board of Supervisors, and Mecham, who has made clear his dislike of it, Tuesday called it the “Oh, by the way, here’s another thing we’re going to have to pay” practice.

“We need to have a better system that identifies the cost (ahead of time) and have the applicant sign it,” he said.

Jolliffe also argued that he was not going to make a significant impact to traffic when his house goes up.

Road impact fees are applied to developers and residents who build in an area. The money goes to creating roads and maintaining them.

There has to be a connection or nexus between the project and the road, however. Supervisors said Jolliffe’s impact was not enough for the higher fee.