Viewpoint - June 16, 2010

Letter: Stop charging unfair development fees

Extortion of deep-pocket neighbors who want to build something is currently the tool of choice for local city councils to meet their budget deficits.

It's one thing to ask project developers to mitigate extra costs to the community generated by a project. If these expenses can be objectively justified, so be it.

However, that certainly is not the case in Menlo Park where the City Council is seriously considering that Bohannon Development Co.'s Menlo Gateway Project should pay 25 percent of its profits to the city for the right to proceed. There is no quid pro quo here. The city didn't pay real estate taxes for years, or run any risk of losses. Why should they share any profits with Bohannon? Will they share any losses?

Similarly, in Palo Alto, the City Council is trying to extort millions of dollars from the Stanford hospital expansion and improvement project over and above the identified mitigation costs. And the Stanford Hospital is not a profit-making operation; it just does life-saving miracles for all of us.

Please, local councils, stop the extortion and find other ways to balance your budgets.

Reginald W. Rice, Tioga Drive, Menlo Park


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