Tiny Parcels Exempt in La Canada School Tax

The La Canada Unified School District board acted Tuesday to prevent small, undeveloped "postage-stamp" parcels from being assessed if voters approve a special parcel tax in March.

At its first meeting of the year, the board defined what would constitute taxable parcels as "all developed and developable parcels" within the school district boundaries. The board did not specify property value or size.

District officials estimate that 6,973 parcels would be included in the proposed $150-per-parcel assessment and would generate between $900,000 and $1 million in income for the school district. It will be up to the board, working from parcel maps and tax lists, to determine which parcels would be taxable.

The board also determined that only $150 would be assessed on property where a single structure crosses the boundaries of two or more parcels in a manner that leaves the remaining land undevelopable.

The board's action came in response to complaints by property owners who feared that they would be unfairly taxed on land where assessed values in some cases is not much more than the proposed tax. Most of the postage-stamp parcels are near power lines and access roads, district officials said.

The board is seeking voter approval of the proposed five-year tax because the district estimates it will face serious deficit problems without additional funding. The special vote will be March 5.

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