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Published on Friday, February 22, 2013

Mandatory impact fee deferral

AWC remains strongly opposed to SB 5664 and HB 1652, which require cities to offer developers a mechanism to pay impact fees at the time of closing or 18 months after issuance of a building permit.

These proposals have been around for several years and we have always opposed them for local control reasons. Several cities have successfully offered deferral programs, while others have offered them only to later take them off the books because there were no takers.

Cities have a number of tools at their disposal to assist the local building community including reducing fees, expediting permitting, and deferring impact fees. We prefer to retain the authority for individual cities to determine which tools are best.

The House passed HB 1652 out of committee on February 22 with only ranking minority caucus member and former Kittitas County planning director, Rep. David Taylor voting no. He’s a strong and consistent local control advocate. The Senate bill passed from committee on February 21 with an amendment that made two changes – one that grandfathered existing deferral ordinances that might be different from the one in the bill, and one that precludes the deferral of school impact fees.

We urge concerned cities to contact their House and Senate members and ask that they oppose this measure and allow cities to craft development regulations that fit local circumstances and needs.