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Published on Friday, January 24, 2014

Mandatory deferral of impact fee payments

The impact fee deferral bill has reemerged onto the legislative scene this week with Rep. (now Senator) Liias (D-Edmonds) introducing a new version of the bill (HB 2498) aimed at addressing concerns expressed by Governor Inslee as he vetoed last year’s proposal. The primary concerns expressed by the Governor were that such a deferral program needed to be focused on small builders and minimize impacts on schools and local governments.

This year’s proposal attempts to address those concerns by proposing to mandate that each jurisdiction provide a payment deferral opportunity for the first 30 homes built by a particular developer. This doesn’t get there from our perspective, for a couple of reasons. Thirty homes feels much more like a big developer than a small one. We understand that a common current practice is for home builders to establish separate LLCs for each development, potentially making enforcement of any limit very difficult and allowing for double dipping. That said, we are very interested in finding a way to achieve the goals of this proposal while minimizing administrative and financial impacts on cities and school districts. We welcome suggestions on approaches that might work, please send them to Carl Schroeder.