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Petaluma settles dispute over traffic impact fees

By LORI A. CARTER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Petaluma and one of the city’s largest developers have agreed to a settlement in which the company will pay traffic impact fees that were in effect in 2003 rather than higher fees required now.

The City Council approved the settlement last month during closed session, but announced it Monday night. City Attorney Eric Danly said the agreement wasn’t fully executed until after the vote, so it was made public at the next council meeting.

Old Redwood Highway overpass at Highway 101 in Petaluma, on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. (Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat)

Old Redwood Highway overpass at Highway 101 in Petaluma, on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. (Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat)

The council voted 6-1, with Teresa Barrett opposed, to approve the settlement with G&W Ventures, managed by Basin Street Properties President Matt White. Basin Street owns several properties in Petaluma, including the Theatre District downtown and several buildings near Old Redwood Highway and North McDowell Boulevard.

The agreement calls for developers to pay a total of $817,000 toward highway improvements near the Redwood Business Center for five buildings it received city approval to build in 2003. Fees have been paid for the first two buildings, which are occupied by Club One gym and the networking technology company Cyan.

A dispute cropped up when the developers sought building permits to begin work on the third structure, at 1385 N. McDowell. Two other parcels haven’t been developed.

Paul Andronico, attorney for Basin Street, said it was understood that the 2003 approval set traffic impact fees at the level in effect then, not when the buildings were actually constructed.

In ensuing years, the city increased traffic impact fees, which would have amounted to about another $1 million from Basin Street to the city, he said.

There was no formal development agreement that stated that, though, and none of the city planners around in 2003 are still with the city, Andronico said.

“It was past practice, but they wanted more than that,” he said. “We ended up in a situation where they wanted to charge all of the new fees, but we didn’t agree to that.”

Ultimately, he said, the company and city agreed to use the 2003-level traffic impact fees for all five buildings, a total of $817,000.

The company will pay all other applicable development fees at the rates in effect at the time permits are pulled for the remaining three buildings.

The $817,000 will go toward the Old Redwood Highway/Highway 101 widening project, the agreement states.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 762-7297 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com





3 Responses to “Petaluma settles dispute over traffic impact fees”

  1. earthsleaves says:

    Basin Street substanitally breached their origianl agreement with the city – the then mayor Pam T tried to stop their railroading the town into agreeing to a new agreement that would have left them off the hook for all such unfair dealings and unfulilled commitments to the town……but……no thanks to the responses of the now City attorney and those council members at the time that clearly had vested interests (conflict of interest?) in accepting the new agreement – which they did – as already stated in the comments to this article, the citiznes of Petaluma will continue to end up “holding the proveribal bag”.

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  2. Elephant says:

    Over It – No, the city paid them.

    Basin Street over-billed the City of Petaluma about $6 million (you read that amount correct) for unapproved work (that may or may not have actually been done) in the Theater Square project. Nobody that knew the exact amount or the details would admit to it. The pro-development city council approved the payment a couple of years after the fact. The City Finance Director and a few others were fired over it. Peter Byrne wrote an excellent article all about this a few years ago in another publication. Check it out if you don’t believe me.

    And Matt White’s mother lives in a villa in Spain.

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  3. Over it says:

    Basin Street didn’t have to pay the city some where between $7-10 million dollars when they developed Theater Square downtown. Now the city of Petaluma is adding to Basin Street’s profitable bottom line while the citizens of Petaluma are left holding the proverbial bag.

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