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BUSD approves funding agreements for The Havens

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The planned development known as The Havens will have an agreement with the Bonsall Unified School District to utilize Statewide Community Infrastructure Program funding for the payments the project will make to the school district.

The Sept. 13 BUSD board meeting included a first reading for a public hearing regarding participation in the SCIP, a resolution authorizing the execution and delivery of a Joint Community Facilities Agreement with the California Statewide Communities Development Authority to finance specific improvements, authorization of BUSD staff to work with the CSCDA and its consultants on the relevant details, and approval of the community facilities district (CFD) mitigation agreement outlining various terms to address the impacts of the new development on BUSD facilities and services.

The Sept. 28 BUSD board meeting included the public hearing followed by approval of the Joint Community Facilities Agreement and the CFD mitigation agreement on 5-0 votes.

“The creation of the CFD will allow us to maximize dollars from new development in our area,” said BUSD superintendent Joseph Clevenger.

A 5-0 BUSD board vote Jan. 19 approved a professional services agreement with Fieldman, Rolapp & Associates, Inc., for financial services, advice, negotiations, and assistance with the potential formation of the CFD. The non-voting items during the Jan. 19 board meeting included a presentation by representatives of Bonsall Oaks, LLC, which owns the land, and Neighborhood 1 at The Havens, LLC, which will be constructing the first phase.

“We have been actively pursuing the creation of a CFD for our school district,” Clevenger said. “It’s really wise to capture all potential funding.”

A community facilities district allows bonds for infrastructure to be repaid through assessments on property (these are sometimes known as Mello-Roos taxes due to the state legislators who authored the option for services on new development to be funded by an annual assessment).

An assessment must be approved by a majority of property owners, although a developer who owns an undeveloped parcel may vote in favor of the CFD and, once the property is subdivided, those property owners are responsible for the assessments.

The CFD financing can cover capacity and connection fees paid to acquire capacity into the existing system as well as infrastructure expenses themselves including new facilities and expansion, modification, rehabilitation, or other improvements to existing facilities. The proposed CFD for The Havens will also include financing for Rainbow Municipal Water District infrastructure and capacity fees.

The California Statewide Communities Development Authority was created to provide local governments, nonprofit public benefit corporations, and private entities with access to low-cost, tax-exempt financing for projects which create jobs, help communities prosper, and improve the quality of life for local residents.

The CSCDA facilitates the creation of CFDs and also created the Statewide Community Infrastructure Program to help finance development projects. The tax-exempt bond financing program pools the sale of bonds from different jurisdictions into a single issuance, so the CSCDA utilizes a larger bond issuance for multiple SCIP projects throughout the state.

The Havens was called the Polo Club in 1999 when the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a final map to subdivide the 449.54-acre parcel on the north side of Gopher Canyon Road at Vista Valley Road into up to 165 dwelling units with two open space lots. The development was conditioned to obtain permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board before construction could begin.

The ownership negotiated with the regulatory agencies, and the project has undergone multiple design changes so that the required permits could be obtained. The subdivision was renamed Bonsall Oaks when Bonsall Oaks, LLC, agreed to purchase the project from Vista Villas Development, L.P.

The 59 initial homes include three model homes which are not subject to the CFD. Grading for the first residential phase began in March 2022. The 56 homes will have an average size of approximately 2,300 square feet.

The Bonsall Unified School District charges a developer fee of $4.08 per square foot for residential development (the fee for commercial and industrial development is $0.66 per square foot), so the average fee for each home in Phase 2 would be $9,400 and the total school fee amount would be $553,656. When Rainbow Municipal Water District and other impact fees are included, the total fees for the first 56 homes would be approximately $2.6 million.

Neighborhood 1 at The Havens desires to finance the fees through a CFD. If the 1% property tax does not cover county, San Diego County Flood Control District, or fire district services needed to serve the development a CFD may be created with a perpetual assessment. A CFD for infrastructure or capacity fees will be dissolved after the long-term payments for those are completed. Bonsall Oaks, LLC, doesn’t anticipate any perpetual CFD fees for The Havens.

The property tax assessment would be paid to the San Diego County Treasurer-Tax Collector before being disbursed, so Board of Supervisors approval will be required due to the county’s involvement. The county will be the lead agency for the Stateside Community Infrastructure Program bond issuance, and the school district as well as the water district would approve a Joint Community Facilities Agreement with the county which would stipulate the collection and distribution process for the taxes.

The authorization of CFD funding also includes the cost to plan and design the facilities including environmental evaluation and mitigation, engineering and surveying, utility relocation and demolition, project management, and legal services or other costs associated with the issuance of bonds for the CFD.


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