Developer fee delay won't result in investigation



The SLO County District Attorney's office won't launch an investigation based on concerns over an Atascadero developer's payment of several hundred thousand dollars' worth of builder impact fees.

The June 21 decision not to investigate Kelly Gearhart echoes a similar determination made by Atascadero Police Chief John Couch.

The pair of refusals came in response to a request by Mike Brennler, a city councilmember and retired police officer. He had asked Couch to review materials for possible wrongdoing after city building officials determined Gearhart owed more than $400,000 in impact fees and allowed residents to move in to senior cottages before the city had given final permission.

That number, officials determined after consulting with Gearhart, was more than $100,000 too high.

Gearhart couldn't be reached for comment his cell phone wasn't accepting messages but in the past he dismissed the effort as "politically motivated" and has said that the late payments were simply a mistake.

Brennler said he doesn't regret asking for the review. He said he viewed the move as an extension of his campaign pledge to seek more transparency in city government.

"It was ethically the right course for me to take," he said.


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