City to Clarify its Development Impact Fees for Park Improvements



December 2, 2016




Sarah Henry, Public Information Officer

(510) 747-4714



City to Clarify its Development Impact Fees for Park Improvements


On December 1, 2016, the California Superior Court for the County of Alameda issued a ruling stating that the Development Impact Fees the City of Alameda collects for park development were not adequately explained. When a developer seeks to build a new housing project, a Development Impact Fee is paid to the City for the public improvements necessary to serve the population growth that each new housing project is expected to generate. Public improvements include police and fire facilities, roads, public buildings, and parks.


In July 2014, the City of Alameda updated its Development Impact Fees, which prior to that had not been updated since 2001. The updated fees were based on a study that calculates a maximum justified fee appropriate to pay for the needed new facilities. As with any new fee, the City brought the study findings and staff recommendation for the updated fees in a public hearing to the Alameda City Council. This led to the adoption of an Ordinance approving a significantly lower fee schedule than the amount justified in the study, to ensure the City’s fees were comparable to development fees in other Bay Area cities.


The Court’s ruling comes in response to current litigation with the developer of a 182-unit housing development proposed for the vacant lot on Oak Street at Clement, and is specific to a portion of the fees for park improvements. Yesterday the Court dismissed the remainder of the developer’s challenges to the City’s fee schedule. A second court date in January was established where the City will be given guidance as to what aspects of the City’s study need to be amended.


“Contrary to statements made within hours of yesterday’s ruling, the Court’s action will not impact the City’s current plans for development at Jean Sweeney Park, nor will the City lose its ability to collect park development fees,” stated Janet Kern, Alameda City Attorney.


While the Court noted that the City documents were confusing as to whether the City was basing the fees on parkland acquisition or improvements, the ruling does not prohibit the City from using fees for new park improvements. Additionally, the Court ruling does not impact the City’s development fees imposed on non-residential development or on redevelopment of Alameda Point.


“The developer did not participate in the public process that led to the adoption of the updated fee schedule, and has now presented the City with a time-consuming and costly legal battle,” said Ms. Kern. “We plan to bring this transparent public issue back to the hands of Alamedans.”


To contact the Alameda City Attorney’s Office, please call (510) 747-4750 or email