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The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Air Control District adopted requirements for land developers to either design projects to reduce indirect-source pollution (basically, motor vehicle dependency), or pay a mitigation fee to fund the District’s off-site emission reduction measures.  Curiously, the California Court of Appeal found that the Air District’s indirect-source fees is not a “development fee” subject to higher statutory standards for legal validity.  Nor is it a “special tax” requiring local voter approval by a two-thirds majority vote as provided in Sinclair Paint Co. v. State Board of Equalization (1997) 15 Cal.App.4th 866, 874.  Rather, the Air District’s indirect-source emission fee was found a “regulatory fee” imposed under the police power, and valid as such so long as the fee charged does not exceed the reasonable cost of carrying out the purposes and provisions of the regulation.  Apparently the court’s analysis is that the Air District’s fee is not a condition of a specific permit approval, but simply imposed on all new developments as an alternative to design compliance.  (California Bldg. Indus. Ass’n v. San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control Dist., California Appeal No. F055, 448, October 6, 2009)

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