La Jolla Village Merchants review of maintenance assessment district
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 08/27/17 - 01:07 PM | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In August, La Jolla Village Merchants Association got an update on the new maintenance assessment district set to go into effect next year.

“We are finalizing a contract with the city, it's a rather cumbersome process with legal ramifications,” Mark Dibella, La Jolla MAD spokesman told the LJVMA board. “The main goals for enhancement right now, are to prepare ourselves for vendor vetting, as well as an assessment of all parcels within the district's boundaries.

“As we form the district, we are now allowed to accept donations for (maintenance) projects,” Dibella continued. “We want to get put together a capital projects wish list.”

There are, however, some legal issues conceivably obscuring enactment of La Jolla's new MAD, passed by La Jolla businesses and residents in 2016, which won't go into effect until January 2018.

A group, known as La Jolla Benefits Association, LLC, filed a lawsuit on Dec. 28, 2016, in San Diego Superior Court. Former San Diego city attorney Michael J. Aguirre is representing the Association.

The association's suit challenges the MAD, which passed by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin by mail ballot to residents and businesses within La Jolla's downtown Village in November 2016.

The association lawsuit also asks that “a reassessment of all properties within the LJ MAD be conducted to reflect the separation of general from special benefits and assessment only for special benefits.”

In excerpts from the association lawsuit, it's stated that,“The city's committed to establishing MADS all over San Diego in order to off-load maintenance costs onto residents motivated in large part by the city's decades-long pension funding crisis … MADs save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars per MAD per year in maintenance costs … no assessment shall be imposed on any parcel which exceeds the reasonable cost of the proportional special benefit conferred on the parcel.”

La Jolla landlord Licoln Foster, who opposes the new MAD, previously cited a successful challenge of a MAD elsewhere recently in the city.

“A MAD was proposed and passed in Golden Hills, and was dissolved by the court,” Foster said. “So there is a precedent already from that case invalidating a MAD, for the same reason we want to invalidate — and overturn it — in La Jolla.”

Foster contends the California Constitution says “any assessment has to be a special benefit to the general public,” adding, “There's a difference between special, and general, benefits. Special benefits are over and above general benefits.”

Dibella added the city is “very supportive of the beautification of the Village.”

He said the new MAD's board of directors is actively involved in “putting together a design package for trash cans, and future memorial park benches.”

“It's a long-term project,” Dibella concluded.
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