Can local governments charge you thousands of dollars just to build a home on your own land?
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That's the key question explored in this episode of The Brian Nichols Show. Host Brian Nichols is joined by guest Brian Hodges, a senior attorney from the Pacific Legal Foundation, to discuss an outrageous $23,000+ fee charged to retiree George Sheetz simply for obtaining a permit to build a home.
The exorbitant charge was labeled a "traffic impact mitigation fee" by El Dorado County, California. However, as Brian Hodges explains, the fee had little to do with the actual traffic impact caused by George Sheetz's modest single-family home. Instead, it was an illegal scheme by the county to generate revenue for road projects by disproportionately targeting future residents who had no say in the decision.
After being stonewalled in California's state courts, the case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. As Brian Hodges outlines, the central issue is whether legislative bodies should be exempt from constitutional restraints on imposing permit fees and conditions. Based on questioning, he is cautiously optimistic that the Court will reject California's dystopian rule allowing unchecked power. A win could have major implications for reining in outrageous fees that drive up housing prices nationwide.
The case has sparked surprising bipartisan support from both property rights advocates and affordable housing groups who recognize the threats posed by unlimited government overreach. As this episode makes clear, upholding constitutional checks and balances is critical, regardless of whether decisions come from an administrator or a legislative body. Tune in to hear the inside story direct from the Pacific Legal Foundation attorney fighting this landmark battle on behalf of George Sheetz all the way to the highest court in the land.
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