2017 California Code
Streets and Highways Code - SHC
CHAPTER 1 - General Provisions
ARTICLE 1 - Declarations
Section 36601.


The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) Businesses located and operating within business districts in some of this state’s communities are economically disadvantaged, are underutilized, and are unable to attract customers due to inadequate facilities, services, and activities in the business districts.

(b) It is in the public interest to promote the economic revitalization and physical maintenance of business districts in order to create jobs, attract new businesses, and prevent the erosion of the business districts.

(c) It is of particular local benefit to allow business districts to fund business related improvements, maintenance, and activities through the levy of assessments upon the businesses or real property that receive benefits from those improvements.

(d) Assessments levied for the purpose of conferring special benefit upon the real property or a specific benefit upon the businesses in a business district are not taxes for the general benefit of a city, even if property, businesses, or persons not assessed receive incidental or collateral effects that benefit them.

(e) Property and business improvement districts formed throughout this state have conferred special benefits upon properties and businesses within their districts and have made those properties and businesses more useful by providing the following benefits:

(1) Crime reduction. A study by the Rand Corporation has confirmed a 12-percent reduction in the incidence of robbery and an 8-percent reduction in the total incidence of violent crimes within the 30 districts studied.

(2) Job creation.

(3) Business attraction.

(4) Business retention.

(5) Economic growth.

(6) New investments.

(f) With the dissolution of redevelopment agencies throughout the state, property and business improvement districts have become even more important tools with which communities can combat blight, promote economic opportunities, and create a clean and safe environment.

(g) Since the enactment of this act, the people of California have adopted Proposition 218, which added Article XIII D to the Constitution in order to place certain requirements and restrictions on the formation of, and activities, expenditures, and assessments by property-based districts. Article XIII D of the Constitution provides that property-based districts may only levy assessments for special benefits.

(h) The act amending this section is intended to provide the Legislature’s guidance with regard to this act, its interaction with the provisions of Article XIII D of the Constitution, and the determination of special benefits in property-based districts.

(1) The lack of legislative guidance has resulted in uncertainty and inconsistent application of this act, which discourages the use of assessments to fund needed improvements, maintenance, and activities in property-based districts, contributing to blight and other underutilization of property.

(2) Activities undertaken for the purpose of conferring special benefits upon property to be assessed inherently produce incidental or collateral effects that benefit property or persons not assessed. Therefore, for special benefits to exist as a separate and distinct category from general benefits, the incidental or collateral effects of those special benefits are inherently part of those special benefits. The mere fact that special benefits produce incidental or collateral effects that benefit property or persons not assessed does not convert any portion of those special benefits or their incidental or collateral effects into general benefits.

(3) It is of the utmost importance that property-based districts created under this act have clarity regarding restrictions on assessments they may levy and the proper determination of special benefits. Legislative clarity with regard to this act will provide districts with clear instructions and courts with legislative intent regarding restrictions on property-based assessments, and the manner in which special benefits should be determined.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 366, Sec. 27. (SB 974) Effective January 1, 2017.)

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