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Hearing Jan. 29 regarding Horse Creek Ridge development in Interstate 15 corridor will establish special tax district

Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Issue 51, Volume 17.
Joe Naiman
Village News Correspondent

On Jan. 29, a public hearing will be held to establish a Community Facilities District (CFD) for the Horse Creek Ridge development, slated for the east side of Interstate 15 near State Route 76.

The hearing will take place at 2 p.m. in the hearing room at the County Operations Center at 5520 Overland Drive in San Diego. A 5-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote Dec. 4 set the hearing date while also finding that the assessment district creation is within the scope of the project’s Environmental Impact Report adopted in May 2011.

"The Community Facilities District is an effective mechanism to fund parks, trails, and open space that will directly serve the future residents of Horse Creek Ridge," said Supervisor Bill Horn.

The Horse Creek Ridge development is the residential segment of the Campus Park project approved by the Board of Supervisors in May 2011. The approved map calls for 521 single-family residences and 230 condominium dwelling units.

The one percent base property tax will not be sufficient to cover county, San Diego County Flood Control District, or North County Fire Protection District services which will be needed to serve the district. The County of San Diego and Horse Creek Ridge developer D.R. Horton (who purchased the residential component of Campus Park from Passarelle, LLC) have been working to create a CFD which would include a special tax to pay for services not funded by the regular property tax. The revenue would be distributed through a Joint Community Facilities Agreement which stipulates the collection process as well as the distribution process.

The CFD would allow for the collection of three special taxes: one for county services, one for flood control services (although the county supervisors also serve as the board of the San Diego County Flood Control District and the flood control district is administered by the county’s Department of Public Works, it is a separate legal district), and one for fire and emergency medical services. The initial tax for county services would be $655 per single-family residential unit, $496 per multi-family residential unit, and $5,256 per acre of undeveloped property. The base tax to fund flood control needs would be $267 per single-family unit, $203 per multi-family unit, and $2,144 per undeveloped acre.

There would be no levy for fire protection and emergency medical services on the undeveloped property. Each single-family unit would initially be assessed $201 for the fire and emergency medical services tax while each multi-family dwelling unit would Advertisement
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be assessed $153.

The initial tax amount is for fiscal year 2014-15. The taxes would be increased by two percent annually to cover the increased cost of services.

"It’s also going to fund the park facilities and trails as well as two large detention basins," said Michele Stress, the special districts program coordinator for the county’s Department of Public Works. "Those are all public facilities that will be funded by the CFD."

The property will also be part of Zone A of the San Diego County Street Lighting District and property owners will pay that annual assessment, which is currently $6.48 per benefit unit.

In 2007, the county supervisors adopted Board Policy I-136 which outlines how potential CFD projects will be evaluated, ensures that CFDs are created for the public good, and stipulates disclosure requirements which notify prospective property owners of the assessment. Policy I-136 also defines credit requirements to protect bondholders from default for CFDs which issue bonds for reimbursement of constructed infrastructure, although Horse Creek Ridge will fund services only and will not use long-term bonds. Horse Creek Ridge would be the second CFD in unincorporated San Diego County; the first is in Harmony Grove.

The first step required to form a CFD is a petition from the developer, which has been received along with the proposed boundary map. The Dec. 4 adoption of an intent to form a CFD is the next step, followed by the noticed public hearing and adoption of a resolution forming the CFD. At the Jan. 29 hearing the county supervisors will consider not only the establishment of the Horse Creek Ridge CFD but also the proposed rate and method of apportionment of the collection of the special tax, the Joint Community Facilities Agreements with the North County Fire Protection District and the San Diego County Flood Control District, and other elements of the CFD.

On Oct. 22, the North County Fire Protection District board voted 5-0 to approve the Joint Community Facilities Agreement for Horse Creek Ridge. Seven percent of the one percent base property tax assessed on the land will be provided to the fire district along with the CFD assessment.

Because the proposed CFD area is currently uninhabited and D.R. Horton is the sole property owner, a consent and waiver will allow for a waiver of the normal election procedure to form the CFD and the ballot to form the CFD can be returned immediately upon the adoption of the resolution forming the assessment district.



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