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California county bills man $23,000 to build house on own property. Now the Supreme Court will decide his case


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Fox News

George Sheetz spent 50 years in construction, saving his money. He bought a vacant lot not far from Lake Tahoe and planned to build a house there for his retirement.

 

But when Sheetz went to get a building permit, he was issued an unexpected "traffic impact mitigation" fee for over $23,000. The county legislature created the fee a few years earlier to help pay for roadwork.

"That's when I started getting pissed off," Sheetz told Fox News. "I said, ‘this is ridiculous.’"

Sheetz has built several homes throughout his life, so he was familiar with the typical administrative processes and costs.

 

"‘Well, you don't have to build here,’" he recalled a county official saying after he complained. "‘Go someplace else.’"

Sheetz had already put a down payment on a manufactured home, so in 2016, he paid the fee. But soon after, he sued the county, arguing that the fee amount wasn’t proportionate to the actual impact his project would cause on the roads.

"Mr. Sheetz thought that this was outrageous, that his small, 1,800-square-foot manufactured home wouldn't cause anything like those kinds of traffic impacts," Sheetz’s attorney, Paul Beard, told Fox News. "What the county did to Mr. Sheetz was fundamentally unfair. The county asked Mr. Sheetz to pay for pre-existing deficiencies on a highway and local roads as the condition of issuing him a permit."

"They asked him to pay for traffic impacts caused by other uses and developments like retail development and office development," Beard continued. "Why should he have had to pay for those pre-existing deficiencies and for those impacts caused by other uses?":snip:

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