The Riverside County Board of Supervisors adopted a policy Tuesday requiring land developers to make good on any delinquent property taxes due on parcels in order to receive building and grading permits.
Supervisor Jeff Stone introduced the "Real Estate Taxes Are Paid" -- RETAP -- policy after a county hearing earlier this year revealed a company was seeking to move ahead with subdividing a property on which no taxes had been paid for years.
Under the policy, which the board approved in a 5-0 vote, any developer will be denied a land-sue permit, grading permit, public use permit or similar stamp of approval if taxes are in default on a site slated for upgrades, according to Executive Office documents.
"These are very challenging economic times," Stone said. "The mother's milk for Riverside County is property taxes. Most of the large lots being bought by developers are going for 10-15 cents on the dollar."
Stone dismissed concerns about the county being the first in the state to impose such a restrictive policy.
"This will keep us to the positive, not the negative side of the ledger," Stone said. "This is about the county collecting what's due to us."
According to county staff, several local ordinances may need to be revised to fully implement the policy, and any necessary regulatory changes will be brought before the board for approval in the coming months.