A new lighting and landscape district in Mountain House will add $380 to some homeowners’ annual tax bills, confirmed by a vote Wednesday night at the regular meeting of the Mountain House Community Services District board of directors.
The majority of the lighting and landscape district is a series of subdivisions south of Grant Line Road at the southern edge of Mountain House. It also includes Meritage Homes’ College Park development, north of Grant Line Road and just west of DeAnza Boulevard, where many of the homes are already occupied by new homeowners.
CSD board members noted that it’s unusual to form a district of this kind so late in the development process.
“I don’t see any other options to maintaining these parks and areas,” board member Brian Lucid said.
“I don’t want surprises of things that are not in the master plan,” he added. “I expect some adjustments, but after this, do you think there will be any more of these special assessments for parks or areas where we don’t have any funding mechanism adjustments and will need to come up with one? Because every time we come up with one, it’s more taxes, and taxes are pretty high here.”
The CSD’s public works staff assured the board that the lighting and landscaping district was always in the community master plan, including creation of a 30.9-acre community park and a 9.6-acre neighborhood park. Public works director Nader Shareghi expects that there will be some areas not identified in the community master plan that will require revised funding estimates.
In this case, landscaping costs for additional open space — including easements that cannot be developed with homes because of overhead power lines and underground gas and oil pipelines — were not part of the original plan.
One easement is for the PG&E overhead electrical transmission lines that run south-southwest to north-northeast. Another, running southeast to northwest, is for underground pipelines, one operated by PG&E and identified by the California Energy Commission as a 33- to 42-inch natural gas line, and another operated by Crimson Pipeline L.P. and identified by U.S. Department of Transportation as a crude oil line.
Those will be developed as landscaped open space corridors with pedestrian and bicycle paths.
The board agreed May 8 to allow formation of the district, but the matter required a majority vote among property owners to approve the new tax. On Wednesday, the board again voted unanimously to approve the resolution forming the district and creating the new tax after property owners voted in favor of the tax.
Most of the property owners are developers. In his report to the board, Shareghi noted that Mountain House Investors LLC requested the formation of the district to raise the money needed to create and maintain green spaces within new subdivisions at the south end of Mountain House.
Wednesday’s meeting included the counting of the ballots cast by the owners of each parcel in the district. Board secretary Nicole Adamo noted that the CSD sent out 1,032 ballots and received 770 back. Owners of 750 of the parcels voted in favor of the new tax, 18 voted against it, and two ballots were declared invalid.
The actual $380.16 annual tax is divided into two parts, with $174.54 for small CSD-maintained areas in each neighborhood and $205.62 for the larger parks and the open space corridors. It will give the CSD about $2.3 million each year to spend taking care of those areas.