“Go someplace else” was the response from a county official. One man wanted to build his retirement home in a California county and was met with those harsh words.
The confrontation started after George Sheetz decided to build on a vacant lot he purchased in El Dorado County not far from Lake Tahoe. He spent 50 years in construction and decided to use his savings to build on the land.
But when he went to get a building permit he was slammed with an unbelievable “traffic impact mitigation” fee. The county legislature created the fee to help pay for roadwork. Sheetz was forced to pay the fee of more than $23,000. Sheetz’s argument against the excessive amount fell on deaf ears of county officials.
From Fox News:
“‘Well, you don’t have to build here,’” he recalled a county official saying after he complained. “‘Go someplace else.’”
Sheetz decided to fight back. He filed a lawsuit against the county, arguing that the fee was an unconstitutional taking of property by the government and placed an unfair burden on certain people instead of taxpayers at large.
“The average person has got to stand up, take a stand and say, ‘hey, we’re not going to put up with this crap anymore,’” said Sheetz. “You’re just pissing money away. You’re taking it from the working person.”
Court rulings didn’t go well for Sheetz. He spent seven years fighting in the courts and had two rulings against him. His case was heard recently before the U.S. Supreme Court and a ruling is expected this summer.
Sheetz’s attorney argued that the county was forcing him to pay for traffic impacts caused by other uses and developments such as retail development and office development. Sheetz was nothing more than a revenue raiser, his attorney said, and the county didn’t tie the $23,000 fee to actual impacts from his building projects.
The high court ruling could have nationwide legal implications. If Sheetz wins, force governments to prove the fees they charge for land use permits is connected and proportionate to the impacts of the projects, according to his attorney. If the California county wins, his attorney warned that governments nationwide could be able to impose fees for land use without oversight from the courts. This would effectively allow them to hold permit applicants “over a barrel,” the attorney said.
Sheetz went ahead and constructed an 1,800-square-foot manufactured home on his land with some additional improvements. All he wanted was a fair opportunity and he never dreamed his case would make it to the Supreme Court.
“I just wanted to fight the fight because I knew what they were doing was wrong,” Sheetz said. “You can’t keep taking money from the working class that are supporting this country and screwing ’em.”
- A Californian wanted to build his retirement home and was slammed with a huge fee.
- He was forced to pay $23,000 to help “mitigate” traffic impact on nearby roads.
- The home builder decided to sue and had his day before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Source: Fox News