By William W. Abbott

Citing "Exactions and Impact Fees in California" [1], the Third Appellate District ruled that the Subdivision Map Act (Gov. Code, §§ 66410 et seq.) 90-day statute of limitations trumped the longer Mitigation Fee Act (Gov. Code, §§ 66000 et seq.) timeline when reviewing a legal challenge to a subdivision map denial by the City of Chico. The case is Thomas Fogarty v. City of Chico (March 12, 2007) 2007 Cal.App.Lexis 339.

The facts involved a developer’s request to develop Lot Q with 80 to 160 dwelling units. On appeal, the City Council adopted a motion of intent to reduce the number of units to 80, but to otherwise affirm the approval. The City Council then had a change of heart and several months later voted to preclude development.[2] The basis for the denial was based upon aesthetic impacts and a desire to preserve open space.

The applicants framed a written objection under the Mitigation Fee Act. A lawsuit was filed and served just after the 90-day file-and-serve requirement of the Subdivision Map Act (Gov. Code, § 66499.37). The trial court ruled that the claim was untimely. The appellate court affirmed, holding that the Mitigation Fee Act litigation provisions (Gov. Code, § 66022) apply to exactions such as fees and land dedications, but not decisions based upon use considerations.

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[1] "Exactions and Impact Fees in California" is published by Solano Press Books ( and is authored by William W. Abbott, Peter M. Detwiler, M. Thomas Jacobson, Margaret Sohagi, and Harriet A. Steiner. 

[2] The City Council effectively allowed for a density transfer to an adjacent parcel, apparently owned by the same applicant.

Bill Abbott is a partner with Abbott & Kindermann, LLP.  For questions relating to this article or any other California land use, environmental and planning issues contact Abbott & Kindermann at (916) 456-9595.

The information presented in this article should not be construed to be formal legal advice by Abbott & Kindermann, LLP, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Because of the changing nature of this area of the law and the importance of individual facts, readers are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.