Facts: A local agency established an improvement district for improvements to benefit all properties located within the district. The engineering firm hired for the project prepared a report allocating portions of the cost of the improvements to each property based on the benefits each would receive. The report allocated an improper dollar amount of benefits to the agency-owned property. The property owners and agency voted on the creation of the district, with each vote weighted according to the allocation of the costs to be levied against the property, based on the engineer’s report. Under the weighted voting, the improvement district was approved.

Claim: A homeowners’ association (HOA) within the district sought to invalidate the establishment of the improvement district, claiming the votes were improperly weighted since the proposed allocation to agency-owned property was greater than the benefits conferred on it, thus improperly affecting the results of the voting.

Counter claim: The agency claimed the votes were properly weighted since the agency relied on the allocation of costs indicated in the engineer’s report.

Holding: A California appeals court held the local agency’s establishment of an improvement district, based on votes weighted according to an improper dollar amount of improvements to be conferred on each property, was invalid since the votes by the agency-owned property were given extra weight, inaccurately tipping the vote in favor of the improvement district. [Golden Hill Neighborhood Association v. City of San Diego (2011) 199 CA4th 416]