As the sole property owner of the currently-uninhabited land which will become the Horse Creek Ridge development, D.R. Horton will almost certainly cast the deciding vote in favor of a Community Facilities District (CFD) for Horse Creek Ridge. The result of the election will be announced at the Feb. 26 San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting, and if the vote to form the district passes as expected the county supervisors will officially vote to adopt the ordinance creating the special district and levying the appropriate taxes.
“It will complete the process of forming the CFD,” said Michele Stress, the special districts program coordinator for the county’s Department of Public Works.
The election results declaration date was set at a Jan. 29 Board of Supervisors meeting; the 5-0 vote which approved the election also approved the introduction and first reading of the ordinance to create the district and levy the tax and approved the execution and delivery of Joint Community Facilities Agreements with the North County Fire Protection District and the San Diego County Flood Control District. The supervisors also found that the actions are within the scope of the project’s Environmental Impact Report adopted in May 2011.
The Jan. 29 action also included a public hearing on the creation of the district and the assessment of the tax, although no members of the public spoke. “Obviously no one protested,” Stress said.
The Horse Creek Ridge development is the residential segment of the Campus Park project approved by the Board of Supervisors in May 2011. The approved map calls for 521 single-family residences and 230 condominium dwelling units.
The one percent base property tax will not be sufficient to cover county, San Diego County Flood Control District, or North County Fire Protection District services which will be needed to serve the district. The County of San Diego and D.R. Horton (who purchased the residential component of Campus Park from Passarelle, LLC) worked to create a CFD which would include a special tax to pay for services not funded by the regular property tax. The revenue would be distributed through a Joint Community Facilities Agreement which stipulates the collection process as well as the distribution process.
The CFD would allow for the collection of three special taxes: one for county services, one for flood control services (although the county supervisors also serve as the board of the San Diego County Flood Control District and the flood control district is administered by the Department of Public Works, it is a separate legal district), and one for fire and emergency medical services. The initial tax for county services would be $655 per single-family residential unit, $496 per multi-family residential unit, and $5,256 per acre of undeveloped property. The base tax to fund flood control needs would be $267 per single-family unit, $203 per multi-family unit, and $2,144 per undeveloped acre.
There would be no levy for fire protection and emergency medical services on the undeveloped property. Each single-family unit would initially be assessed $201 for the fire and emergency medical services tax while each multi-family dwelling unit would be assessed $153.
The initial tax amount is for Fiscal Year 2014-15. The taxes would be increased by two percent annually to cover the increased cost of services.
The property will also be part of Zone A of the San Diego County Street Lighting District and property owners will pay that annual assessment, which is currently $6.48 per benefit unit.
In 2007, the county supervisors adopted Board Policy I-136 which outlines how potential CFD projects will be evaluated, ensures that CFDs are created for the public good, and stipulates disclosure requirements which notify prospective property owners of the assessment. Policy I-136 also defines credit requirements to protect bondholders from default for CFDs which issue bonds for reimbursement of constructed infrastructure, although Horse Creek Ridge will fund services only and will not use long-term bonds. Horse Creek Ridge would be the second CFD in unincorporated San Diego County; the first is in Harmony Grove.
The first step required to form a CFD is a petition from the developer, which was received along with the proposed boundary map. The supervisors’ 5-0 vote Dec. 4 to adopt an intent to form a CFD was the next step, followed by the noticed public hearing and adoption of a resolution forming the CFD.
On Oct. 22, the North County Fire Protection District board voted 5-0 to approve the Joint Community Facilities Agreement for Horse Creek Ridge. Seven percent of the one percent base property tax assessed on the land will be provided to the fire district along with the CFD assessment.