Planning commissioner wants to stop fees assessed on homes.
By JEFF COLLINS THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Irvine Planning Commissioner Adam Probolsky says he will move Thursday to ban Lennar Corp. from imposing a fee on current and future sales of Great Park homes to support the Lennar Charitable Housing Foundation, a nonprofit group that funnels money to homeless programs.
Calling the fee an “underhanded effort to line the pockets of a foundation with (Lennar’s) name on it,” Probolsky said he objects to forcing homebuyers into giving to charities chosen by Lennar’s housing foundation. The mechanism also could burden homeowners when they try to resell their homes, he said.
“I’m very specific about who I give to when it comes to charities,” Probolsky, a prominent Republican pollster, said Monday. “It takes away my ability to choose which charities I want to support.”
Lennar, which bought the former El Toro Marine base, began imposing “private transfer fees” on homes it sells in California in 2001, requiring that buyers pay a twentieth of a percent of the sales price of a home to its nonprofit foundation, or $500 on the purchase of a $1 million home. The same percentage is charged every time the home is resold.
Lennar officials couldn’t be reached for comment Monday but have defended the practice in the past. Jeff Roos, Lennar’s southwestern U.S. regional president, said the “private transfer fees” have raised almost $6 million so far for more than 40 charities, including HomeAid America and Habitat for Humanity.
“We do it to benefit the community,” he said, noting that buyers have been overwhelmingly supportive.
Probolsky plans to introduce a restriction at Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting banning the practice for future homes surrounding the Great Park. The commission is scheduled to review Lennar’s preliminary development map.