What is a Maintenance Assessment District?
A Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) is a legal mechanism by which property owners can vote to assess themselves to receive enhanced maintenance, landscaping, and lighting services. These services are above and beyond the City’s baseline general services. A MAD for the Village of La Jolla was established in November 2016 and began operations in 2019. There are currently 61 other MADs throughout San Diego in communities ranging from Carmel Valley to Barrio Logan. A nearby example is the community of Bird Rock, which established a MAD in 2005. To learn more about MADs in the City of San Diego, visit the City’s Maintenance Assessment District website.
Why do we need a MAD for the Village of La Jolla?
The Village of La Jolla is one of the most iconic and beautiful areas in the city of San Diego. But, the community has suffered over time from a lack of ongoing maintenance and enhancement, affecting the aesthetic appeal and quality of life for residents, businesses, and visitors. The City of San Diego simply does not have the resources to provide the level of maintenance needed in the community, and we often see overflowing trash cans, litter in the streets and dirty sidewalks throughout the Village. This has resulted in more vacant storefronts, a decline in business and a less vibrant and active community. The establishment of the MAD for the Village will generate funds and ensure there is local control over the level of maintenance in the community.
Additionally, the community has a desire to implement capital improvement projects, paid for by private donations, that will help make the Village a more inviting and vibrant place to be. The MAD provides the structure required by the City to allow for the implementation of privately funded projects in the public right-of-way.
How is the MAD benefiting the Village?
The MAD provides benefits for all property owners in the Village, whether they are residential, commercial, public or non-profit owners. Here is a list of some of the key benefits that the community is realizing:
- Ensures that ongoing maintenance services will not be dependent on the City’s budget constraints
- Helps create and maintain inviting public spaces that will enhance the vibrant village lifestyle of our community and help local businesses thrive
- Enhances the beauty and quality of life in our community
- Leverages property owner assessments to generate supplemental funds from the City and private donations
- Improves property values
- Can provide the ability to privately fund and construct projects in public spaces that will enhance the Village
Who manages the MAD?
Enhance La Jolla, a new organization was formed as a non-profit and manages the MAD for the Village. Enhance La Jolla contracts with service providers to implement the maintenance and landscape services that are to be provided. The City of San Diego oversees Enhance La Jolla’s administration of the MAD to ensure compliance with local and State statutes.
Enhance La Jolla is run by a Board of Directors consisting of property owners within the district and community stakeholders. The Directors for Enhance La Jolla and their terms of service are listed here.
How are Directors selected?
The Enhance La Jolla Board of Directors is made up of 13 Directors representing the following categories:
- Seven property owners or representatives of property owners within the district (four commercial, two residential, one non-profit)
- Three members of the Board of Directors of the La Jolla Community Foundation
- One member of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association
- Two representatives of the La Jolla community at large with an interest in the well-being of the La Jolla community
The initial Board of Directors was appointed to terms ranging from one to three years. One year after the maintenance contract is signed with the City of San Diego, Directors will be elected by members of the MAD (property owners) to terms of three years.
How is the MAD different than the Business Improvement District (BID), the La Jolla Village Merchants Association?
San Diego’s BIDs are districts where the business owners are assessed annually to fund activities and improvements to promote the business district. BIDs are a tool for strengthening small business communities, creating new jobs and attracting new businesses through marketing and promotional efforts. A MAD is focused on physical projects and ongoing maintenance, rather than marketing and business retention and development.
The efforts of the MAD managed by Enhance La Jolla and the BID managed by the La Jolla Village Merchants Association complement one another to both physically improve the Village and promote it as a destination.
Who decides what services to provide?
The property owners in agreeing to the formation of the MAD, also approved the scope of services to be provided by the MAD. Enhance La Jolla can only use the MAD assessments to implement those services approved by the property owners. The City of San Diego codified the scope of services in the management contract between the City and Enhance La Jolla. All meetings focusing on the expenditure of property owner assessments will be open for the public to attend and comment on items on the agenda.
Does the City control the money or does Enhance La Jolla control the money?
In approving the formation of the MAD, property owners also elected Enhance La Jolla to manage the property owner assessments with the City’s administrative oversight. Assessments are collected via property tax bills and held by the City in an account designated solely for the La Jolla Village MAD.
What are the boundaries of the MAD?
The district boundaries are generally Coast Boulevard, La Jolla Boulevard, Pearl Street, Girard Avenue, and Torrey Pines Road. You can view a map of the district here.
What is the difference between Zone 1 and Zone 2 in the MAD?
Zone 1 is comprised primarily of commercial properties and Zone 2 includes primarily residential properties. Because Zone 1 has a higher need for frequent maintenance, a higher level of service will be provided in this zone. Accordingly, assessments will be higher in Zone 1 than they will be in Zone 2.
How much will property owners be assessed?
The assessments within the MAD were calculated by an engineer based on the benefit that each property owner will realize from services provided by the MAD. Commercial, recreational, multi-family residential, and tax-exempt properties will be assessed based on lot square footage (LSF). Single family residential properties will be assessed a flat annual fee.
- Commercial, recreational, and multi-family residential properties will be assessed an annual fee of $0.1014 x LSF. This equates to less than a penny per square foot per month.
- Tax exempt properties will be assessed an annual fee of $0.0338 x LSF. This is about a third of the cost to commercial properties.
- Commercial, recreational, and multi-family residential properties will be assessed an annual fee of $0.0845 x LSF.
- Tax exempt properties will be assessed an annual fee of $0.0281 x LSF.
Single Family Residential (includes all single ownership homes, including single family homes and condos)
- Single family residential properties will be assessed an annual flat fee of $86.87, or about $1.67 per week.
Any increases in assessments will be capped at three percent per year.
How much do residential owners contribute to the MAD vs. commercial and non-profit owners?
There are a total of 1,348 parcels within the MAD boundaries, and approximately two-thirds of them are residential properties. However, assessments for residential owners comprise only about 16 percent of the total collected, and commercial properties will pay 84 percent of the total assessments.
Will owners pass the assessment on to their tenants?
Owners may choose to pass the assessment on to their tenants at their discretion, if it is allowed by their leases.
Will the scope of services include maintenance of park areas?
Yes, some maintenance of public parks within the district boundaries will be included. Enhance La Jolla works with the City Parks and Recreation Department to determine what services are needed in these areas. In addition, should private donations be received for capital improvement projects in the park, Enhance La Jolla will seek the approval of the boards of La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. and La Jolla Parks and Recreation, Inc. for any proposed project. These groups are the recognized advisory groups to the City of San Diego’s Park and Recreation Department.