Tax district for next Tustin Legacy homes?
Homeowners could pay as much as $2,050 each year on top of standard property taxes to live in the next phase of Tustin Legacy homes due to a special tax district planned for the development.
Tustin Unified School District wants extra tax revenue from that community facilities, or Mello-Roos, district to finance up to $75 million in improvements, including adding two new schools.
Those facilities are needed to serve the thousands of residents expected to move over the next two decades to Tustin Legacy, a master-planned community of homes and retail that’s being built on former Marine Corps Air Station property.
A large portion of that $75 million will be used to build a secondary school in two phases. First will come a junior high, with sixth through eighth grades. Next will come a high school.
The secondary school will be a magnet Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Academy, according to plans supported by the TUSD board during a study session Monday. Curriculum will be focused on project-based learning, with technology courses covering video game design, robotics and coding, while business classes will cover topics such as leadership and creating a small-business plan.
Another significant chunk of the $75 million would be used to finally open and expand Heritage School, a 10-acre campus at 15400 Lansdowne Road that will be developed as a feeder to the magnet secondary school.
The elementary campus was built a few years ago, but TUSD says not enough school-age kids have moved into the Legacy community yet to justify starting classes there. Instead, the district has hosted adult students and administrator offices at the $12 million campus since 2013.
That decision angered local families, who said their children were being sent out of the area to overcrowded schools. And it prompted the city of Tustin to sue the school district in 2011, though a judge ruled that TUSD had the right to delay the school opening.
Figures presented during Monday’s meeting show that many schools are now bursting at the seams, with more residents coming soon.
The new Mello-Roos tax supported by the board Monday would apply to all homes built on vacant land roughly between Jamboree Road and Red Hill Avenue, east of Barranca Parkway and west of Edinger Avenue.
Owners of single-family homes there will pay from $1,325 to $2,050 in extra taxes for up to 40 years, depending on the size of the home. Townhome owners will pay from $875 up to $1,250 in taxes each year, while apartment owners will pay $600 and low-income homeowners will pay $215.
The district plans to hold a public hearing April 20 on forming the Mello-Roos district, which doesn’t require voter approval since no residents live there yet. Before that hearing, a TUSD team will draft a report on what new facilities are needed to accommodate growth for Tustin Legacy and how much those developments are estimated to cost.
The district is expected to vote on the plan May 18. Then it would head to the City Council for final approval May 19, since Tony Soria, chief financial officer for TUSD, said a small portion of the tax revenues would potentially support other public infrastructure needed in the area.
Contact the writer: 714-796-7963 or BStaggs@OCRegister.com