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Ukiah school district loses rights to fees for development project

A Mendocino County judge has struck down the fee the Ukiah Unified School District charges a new development project.

Mendocino County Judge Cindee Mayfield stated in her Nov. 5 ruling that the school district failed to adequately document why the fees were necessary. She also found that there was no evidence that the school board adopted the 2012 study upon which the fees were supposed to have been based.

"The findings in the (fee) resolution are mere conclusions not supported by any evidence," she wrote.

Mayfield ruled the district must refund development fees, plus interest, to builder Steve Gomes, who filed the lawsuit. Gomes was required to pay the district $13,500 when he tore down six homes and replaced them with five new ones, his attorney, Matisse Knight stated Friday when he released the case information.

"If anything, his project was reducing the potential impact on the district," Knight said.

School district officials could not be reached Friday for comment. It was unclear Friday how the ruling will affect other construction projects in the Ukiah area.

This is the second lawsuit Gomes has won against the district over its fees.

A state Court of Appeal in 2007 ordered the district to repay Gomes about $100,000, plus interest, in school impact fees.


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