Residents Staggered by Vipperman-Baroldi $73 Million Property Value Loss

According to just released Los Angeles County Assessor's data, La Habra Heights has suffered the largest decline in property values in its history.

In 2010, $73,980,000 of value was lost. This is equivalent to 148 homes and the land they sit on vanishing.

The decline of 6.3% in value, would erase the entire city in 16 years and is 16 times the decline that occured in the real estate crash in the early 1990s.
Below is a table showing L.A. County Assessor's Data from 1990-2010, showing the staggering and unprecedented decline in property value in La Habra Heights.

La Habra Heights joined Compton, Inglewood, Lancaster and Palmdale for having the largest loss in property value in Los Angeles County.

Cities which La Habra Heights has typically followed in the past; Bradbury, Hidden Hills, Pasadens, San Marino, Rancho Palos Verdes, Sierra Madra and Rolling Hills Estates, all INCREASED in property values this year.

Why might La Habra Heights now be a big loser of property value and desirability?

After the 2007 election, new members Howard Vipperman and Layne Baroldi worked to change the tone of the Council and make changes that favored Developers over Residents. They were joined in 2009 by Carl Westerhoff, endorsed by both.

As a Planning Commissioner and Council Member, Mr. Baroldi lamented that the Codes were too restrictive and limited building.

Others said that strong Codes and protecting residents property rights of views and privacy, while encouraging remodeling, led to a desirable community and increased property values, such as in those communities listed above that did increase in value.

Mr. Baroldi succeeded in putting through his changes; lifting limits on grading and concrete coverage, allowing larger buildings and reducing building permits by 50% (below cost) forcing non-building residents to subsidize developers.

Signalling a committment to developers, Baroldi appointed Ray Fernandez, President of the Building Industry Association of Southern California, and owner of a house construction company to the Planning Commission.

Mr. Baroldi's appointee, Fernandez, has advocated building high-density, low-income housing in the City, suggesting a lot on West Rd as a location. Mr. Fernandez also said he thinks it is up to existing residents to protect themselves from the runoff of new houses.

For two consecutive years the Council raised the Fire Tax in violation of City Law.

The tone of the Council turned against the residents. Howard Vipperman, joined by his wife Karen, criticized people with whom they disagreed, with Vipperman calling resident(s) "stupid", and filing a lawsuit against someone who said something he didn't like.

As Mayors, Vipperman and Baroldi have cracked down on the ability of residents to comment at public meetings.

In early 2009, a resident sought to appeal approval of a large new spec house next door to him. An email of Mr. Vipperman's to City Staff revealed that Vipperman tried to have city staff craft the appeal so it was denied, and try to not have any public comment.

The District Attorney's Office got involved, with the DA writing to Vipperman, "More troubling is the concept of "crafting" and agenda item for the purpose of obviating public comment."

Child's play has been set back since 2007, with the Council banning skateboards, scooters and bikes at the city's only park, and recently refusing to comply with Federal Law to accomodate disabled children at the City Park tot lot.

The constant drumbeat of erosinon of property rights and the rural environment, and negative news and actions by the council has been written about in local newspapers and may be reducing the desirability of the community, thereby reducing property values.

How it Works

A home's assessed value is based on the purchase price, then rising 2% per year, or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.

The total of all homes in the city, plus new construction and remodeling, along with commerical and income properties (the last two not a large factor in La Habra Heights) is the valuation of the City listed in the table below.

As homes bought at lower prices in the past are sold, typically for a higher price, along with the 2% annual increase, total assessed value historically rises each year.

While the potential value of an individual home can rise and fall dramatically with the real estate market and economy, the total assessed value of the City moves more slowly, but does follow the market trend.

1990-2010 La Habra Heights Assessed Property Valuation
Tax Year Valuation     Amount of Change   LHH % change Residential Properties Number of Multi-Family Commercial Total Los Angeles County Value Change    
  Previous year Current Year                  
1990 1989 1990                  
  417,162,643 465,328,488   48,165,845   11.55% 2099 36 76 2,211 11.5
                       
1991 1990 1991                  
  465,328,488 492,663,051   27,334,563   6.00% 2107 34 72 2,213 9.70%
                       
1992 1991 1992                  
  492,663,051 520,594,274   27,931,223   5.67% 2115 35 68 2,218 6.10%
                       
1993 1992 1993                  
  520,594,274 530,793,487   10,199,213   1.96% 2110 29 66 2,205 2.10%
                       
1994 1993 1994                  
  530,793,487 541,659,569   10,866,082   2.05% 2111 28 66 2205 1.30%
                       
1995 1994 1995                  
  541,659,569 555,477,008   13,817,439   2.55% 2121 28 51 2200 -2.10%
                       
1996 1995 1996                  
  555,477,008 563,035,039   7,558,031   1.36% 2118 28 46 2192 -0.50%
                       
1997 1996 1997                  
  563,035,039 560,896,653   -2,138,386   -0.38% 2087 28 46 2161 0.80%
                       
1998 1997 1998                  
  560,896,653 573,354,197   12,457,544   2.22% 2088 26 47 2161 3.10%
                       
1999 1998 1999                  
  573,354,197 590,232,142   16,877,945   2.94% 2114 24 44 2182 6.00%
                       
2000 1999 2000                  
  590,232,142 641,907,815   51,675,673   8.80% 2097 24 34 2155 6.70%
                       
2001 2000 2001                  
  641,907,815 681,401,508   39,493,693   6.20% 2101 24 32 2157 6.80%
                       
2002 2001 2002                  
  681,401,508 717,334,933   35,933,425   5.30% 2099 24 32 2155 6.20%
                       
2003 2002 2003                  
  717,334,933 773,257,563   55,922,630   7.80% 2098 25 30 2153 7.50%
                       
2004 2003 2004                  
  773,257,563 841,468,889   68,211,326   8.80% 2099 25 30 2154 7.70%
                       
2005 2004 2005                  
  841,468,889 919,497,988   78,029,099   9.30% 2099 25 31 2155 10%
                       
2006 2005 2006                  
  919,497,988 1,033,204,671   113,706,683   12.40% 2105 25 30 2160 10.90%
                       
2007 2006 2007                  
  1,033,204,671 1,095,164,893   61,960,222   6.00% 2105 25 29 2159 9.20%
                       
2008 2007 2008                  
  1,095,164,893 1,151,351,313   56,186,420   5.10% 2107 24 29 2160 7.00%
                       
2009 2008 2009                  
  1,151,351,313 1,172,155,854   20,804,541   1.80% 2107 24 29 2160 -0.50%
                       
2010 2009 2010                  
  1,172,155,854 1,098,173,906   -73,981,948   -6.30% 2105 24 29 2158 -1.70%