A development impact fee is a monetary exaction other than a tax or special assessment that is charged by a local governmental agency to an applicant in connection with ap- proval of a development project for the purpose of defraying all or a portion of the cost of public facilities related to the development project. (Gov. Code § 66000(b).) The legal requirements for enactment of development impact fee program are set forth in Govern- ment Code §§ 66000-66025 (the “Mitigation Fee Act”), the bulk of which were adopted as 1987’s AB 1600 and thus are commonly referred to as “AB 1600 requirements.” A development impact fee is not a tax or special assessment; by its definition, a fee is vol- untary and must be reasonably related to the cost of the service provided by the local agency. If a development impact fee does not relate to the impact created by develop- ment or exceeds the reasonable cost of providing the public service, then the fee may be declared a special tax and must then be subject to a two-thirds voter approval. (Cal. Const., Art. XIII A, § 4.)
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