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Bill #:  1717

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Latecomer fees for upfront environmental review and utility infrastructure

Companion bill #: No Companion Bill.

House - LAW

Summary/AWC comments

Update 5/15 - This bill was signed by the Governor on May 15.

AWC has been working with interested cities and other stakeholders to refine the utility latecomer provisions of this bill.  That result of that work was incorporated into the language of House floor amendment that was adopted.

AWC is worked cooperatively on this proposal even though it involves a new mandate for cities related to utility latecomer agreements. We appreciate the fundamental fairness questions being raised by those who pay to install water and sewer infrastructure that later benefits other developments. The intent was to find a way to ensure more certainty around reimbursement for those initial investors, in a way that is workable for cities.

Background and Bill Summary

SEPA latecomer fees

Under current law, local governments have the ability to perform up-front environmental review (ie. before specific development proposals come forward) to incentivize and speed up development in specified areas (commonly referred to as "Planned Actions"). The problem is that this work can be expensive for a city to undertake.

This bill would authorize cities to recover at least some of the cost of this up-front planning work by charging late-comer fees on development projects that ultimately benefit.

Utility latecomer fees
Sometimes subdivision developers put in water and sewer infrastructure that will also benefit other developers who develop/build later. Utility latecomer fees allow the city to collect money from those latecomers to reimburse the original developer.

Current law allows cities to choose whether or not to offer latecomer fees for utility infrastructure, and to determine how long the fees will be collected (the maximum is twenty years). The business community would like to see greater certainty in their ability to recover costs through latecomer fees.

This bill contains changes changes for sewer and water latecomer statutes as follows:

  • Makes it a requirement, not an option, for cities to administer these latecomer agreements.
  • Provides clear authority to recover reasonable and proportionate fees to create and administer these agreements.
  • Provides that the agreements must run for twenty years in length.
  • Provides that the developers must submit complete cost and associated data within 120 days of project completion.


Latest version of bill:

Link to WA Legislative bill page

Official title:

AN ACT Relating to incentivizing up-front environmental planning, review, and infrastructure construction actions;


Fitzgibbon, Jinkins, Liias, Maxwell, Roberts, Pollet, Upthegrove, Morrell, Springer

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AWC Contacts

Analyst:  Dave Catterson
Lobbyist:  Carl Schroeder

Issue Area

Land Use & Housing

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