(a) Any party may protest the imposition of any fees, dedications, reservations, or other exactions imposed on a development project, as defined in Section 66000, by a local agency by meeting both of the following requirements:
(1) Tendering any required payment in full or providing satisfactory evidence of arrangements to pay the fee when due or ensure performance of the conditions necessary to meet the requirements of the imposition.
(2) Serving written notice on the governing body of the entity, which notice shall contain all of the following information:
(A) A statement that the required payment is tendered or will be tendered when due, or that any conditions which have been imposed are provided for or satisfied, under protest.
(B) A statement informing the governing body of the factual elements of the dispute and the legal theory forming the basis for the protest.
(b) Compliance by any party with subdivision (a) shall not be the basis for a local agency to withhold approval of any map, plan, permit, zone change, license, or other form of permission, or concurrence, whether discretionary, ministerial, or otherwise, incident to, or necessary for, the development project. This section does not limit the ability of a local agency to ensure compliance with all applicable provisions of law in determining whether or not to approve or disapprove a development project.
(c) Where a reviewing local agency makes proper and valid findings that the construction of certain public improvements or facilities, the need for which is directly attributable to the proposed development, is required for reasons related to the public health, safety, and welfare, and elects to impose a requirement for construction of those improvements or facilities as a condition of approval of the proposed development, then in the event a protest is lodged pursuant to this section, that approval shall be suspended pending withdrawal of the protest, the expiration of the limitation period of subdivision (d) without the filing of an action, or resolution of any action filed. This subdivision confers no new or independent authority for imposing fees, dedications, reservations, or other exactions not presently governed by other law.
(d) (1) A protest filed pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be filed at the time of approval or conditional approval of the development or within 90 days after the date of the imposition of the fees, dedications, reservations, or other exactions to be imposed on a development project. Each local agency shall provide to the project applicant a notice in writing at the time of the approval of the project or at the time of the imposition of the fees, dedications, reservations, or other exactions, a statement of the amount of the fees or a description of the dedications, reservations, or other exactions, and notification that the 90-day approval period in which the applicant may protest has begun.
(2) Any party who files a protest pursuant to subdivision (a) may file an action to attack, review, set aside, void, or annul the imposition of the fees, dedications, reservations, or other exactions imposed on a development project by a local agency within 180 days after the delivery of the notice. Thereafter, notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, all persons are barred from any action or proceeding or any defense of invalidity or unreasonableness of the imposition. Any proceeding brought pursuant to this subdivision shall take precedence over all matters of the calendar of the court except criminal, probate, eminent domain, forcible entry, and unlawful detainer proceedings.
(e) If the court finds in favor of the plaintiff in any action or proceeding brought pursuant to subdivision (d), the court shall direct the local agency to refund the unlawful portion of the payment, with interest at the rate of 8 percent per annum, or return the unlawful portion of the exaction imposed.
(f) (1) If the court grants a judgment to a plaintiff invalidating, as enacted, all or a portion of an ordinance or resolution enacting a fee, dedication, reservation, or other exaction, the court shall direct the local agency to refund the unlawful portion of the payment, plus interest at an annual rate equal to the average rate accrued by the Pooled Money Investment Account during the time elapsed since the payment occurred, or to return the unlawful portion of the exaction imposed.
(2) If an action is filed within 120 days of the date at which an ordinance or resolution to establish or modify a fee, dedication, reservation, or other exactions to be imposed on a development project takes effect, the portion of the payment or exaction invalidated shall also be returned to any other person who, under protest pursuant to this section and under that invalid portion of that same ordinance or resolution as enacted, tendered the payment or provided for or satisfied the exaction during the period from 90 days prior to the date of the filing of the action which invalidates the payment or exaction to the date of the entry of the judgment referenced in paragraph (1).
(g) Approval or conditional approval of a development occurs, for the purposes of this section, when the tentative map, tentative parcel map, or parcel map is approved or conditionally approved or when the parcel map is recorded if a tentative map or tentative parcel map is not required.
(h) The imposition of fees, dedications, reservations, or other exactions occurs, for the purposes of this section, when they are imposed or levied on a specific development.
(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 549, Sec. 2.)