Industry Alert: Measure W—Reduce Runoff and Reduce Taxes

A ballot Measure W for a special parcel tax within the Los Angeles County Flood Control District was passed by voters on November 6, 2018. You can review a summary of Measure W at

This Measure authorizes the Los Angeles County Flood Control District to levy a special tax annually on parcels within the District at a rate of $0.025 (2.5 cents) per square foot of land impermeable to water which includes buildings roofs, driveways, hardscape, and concrete areas but doesn’t include vegetated and other natural permeable areas where water penetrates through the ground. The tax revenue—which property owners have to pay—would enable projects, infrastructure, and programs to capture, treat, and recycle rainwater. The tax, however, is a tough burden to bear. For example, an average sized, big-box retail store can expect a tax bill of $6K-$20K in early October 2019. And that tax is annual, recurring every year thereafter.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce or eliminate the Measure W Parcel Tax. Here’s how:

Tax Reductions

As a property owner, you lower your tax by reducing the square footage of impervious area on your property. The District has provided two potential offramps: the Appeals Process or the Credit Program. If the District miscalculated your effective impervious area, you can file an appeal. For example, if your impervious parking areas drain stormwater to bioswales or dry wells and the District failed to take them into consideration when calculating parcel tax, you can submit a correction to the County’s record to appeal and reduce your tax.

Under the Credit Program, you can reduce your Parcel Tax for new development projects by constructing rock-lined swales, infiltration structures, or rain barrels to capture and recycle stormwater. For existing parcels, retrofits are also an option. Installing an underground stormwater detention and infiltration-type cistern also qualifies. Removing concrete parking areas and replacing them with something porous, like gravel or paving blocks that water can pass through, will make a significant impact as those portions of your square footage would no longer be subject to the tax.

Information on both the credit program and the appeals process can be found at

Timeline: Expect Parcel Tax bills by early October 2019 with a due date of November 1, 2019.

Tax Appeals

  • If you believe your tax is wrong, an appeals process is available.
  • A web tool has been developed to help expedite appeals process.
  • You can appeal if you have a discrepancy of more than 10% error of the Impermeable Area and a $50 difference in the tax amount.
  • Approved appeals will typically be credited to subsequent tax bill.

Access the Parcel Tax Calculator Tool the District uses to assess your tax.

Credit Program

  • You can qualify for a tax reduction with stormwater improvements (SUSMP, IGP, LID, and equivalent).
  • You can qualify for up to 100% credit for additional activities.
  • Your stormwater improvement initiatives must have a water quality benefit, additional credit for water supply, community investment, and additional activities.

Ready to reduce your taxes? Apex can help.

Apex Associated Press (Apex AP) represents contributions from various authors within the Apex professional community.


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