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Tuesday, January 22 , 2019, 12:39 am | Fair 49º


County, Lompoc OK Tax Sharing Plan For 10-Acre Annexation of Summit Homes Land

A proposal to annex 10 acres to Lompoc cleared a key hurdle Tuesday after the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approve a tax-split plan created after months of extensive negotiations with the city.

The board voted 5-0 Tuesday to adopt the property tax exchange agreement for the site of Summit View Homes proposed on land northeast of the intersection of Purisima and Harris Grade roads.

The county leaders’ vote follows last week’s unanimous approval by the Lompoc City Council, and culminates more than a year of negotiations between the two agencies.

The agreement hammered out how to divide portions of the 1 percent property tax component, with the city to get 11 percent of the property tax, less than the 14 to 18 percent Lompoc sought.

City Manager Patrick Wiemiller said during the Aug. 18 council meeting that the city conceded rather than delay the project any longer.

“It would certainly cost us a lot more in time, effort, energy and delay to stand firm and continue to battle as we battled over the 3-percent spread," Wiemiller said.

The property tax to be shared is allocated to the county fire protection and the mosquito and vector control districts.

With the undeveloped land's current assessed property tax rate, the agreement would give $1,587 to Lompoc while the county would get approximately $3,832.

Under the agreement, once the homes are developed the county would receive $45,560 while Lompoc would get $18,876, according to estimates.

A fiscal analysis determined 11 percent is the break-even point for the city, but that wouldn’t provide funding for future maintenance.

Wiemiller said the city will seek an agreement from the developer to create a community facility district or similar format to make up the remaining 3 percent.

The county and city will evenly split fire impact fees, recognizing that due to proximity the Santa Barbara County Fire Department Station 51 crews likely would respond first to any incident at the site.

Additionally, the county and city crafted a plan for handling road maintenance around the proposed development.

The developer thanked the city staff for patience and perseverance in reaching a pact with county officials.

“We are anxious to get started with this project. I think it will be great contribution to the housing stock within the city,” said Stephen Hester from West Coast Housing Partners.

Wiemiller said the negotiations showed a need for the cities to band together to hold a summit with the county to iron out issues, policies and tax allocation numbers regarding annexations for a period of time, rather than dealing with it on an individual basis.

“If you can put all those things to rest before you have a presenting project in particular … then as individual projects come along we’re not hung up, we’re not holding up projects while we once again wrestle over a series of policy and financial issues,”​ Wiemiller said. “We can wrestle over that one time.”

He raised the issue during countywide city managers meetings, he said.

“It’s one of the reasons we conceded a number of points here, is we have a project that is being held up,” he said, adding that it's not fair to delay a developer who has invested time and funding into a project.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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