Understanding Drainage Area Fee Ordinance

Drainage Area Fee Ordinance
The Drainage Area Fee Ordinances are enacted by the County Board of Supervisors as the governing body of the Flood Control District. It requires payment of the DA Fees (PDF) before the filing of the Final Map for new subdivisions or prior to issuance of a building permit on an existing legally formed lot.

Fees are paid to the FCD directly, or via cities per Fee Collection Agreements. Fees are based on the cost of the proposed Drainage Area improvements and the expected new impervious surface created by the General Plan build-out.

The purpose of the DA fees is to generate funds for the construction of storm drain infrastructure in a manner equitable to a land use’s impact and consistent with current and future needs of the public. The fee amounts are calculated based on a quantitative analysis of the potential impervious surface area for a given area. The fee is directly proportional to the average amount of impervious area produced by a given land use.  This way, each land use generates DA fees proportional to its impact. Land uses such as commercial and industrial typically produce greater amounts of impervious surface per a given area, which results in a higher fee rate. 

Storm drain infrastructure may or may not be constructed during a development’s construction, so developer’s often construct portions of the planned infrastructure for a credit to their fee obligation.  Developers may also enter into a reimbursement agreement with the FC District for costs exceeding the fee obligation. In the event that the costs of installing these drainage area facilities exceed the DA fee obligation, the amount of reimbursement will need to be determined prior to the work being performed and will be based upon a signed reimbursement agreement between the developer and the District.  The Board of Supervisors have adopted a Drainage Area Credit and Reimbursement Policy (PDF) to determine possible credits and reimbursement for the DA Fees.