Monday, June 19, 2006

State's youngest city understands link between growth and infrastructure funding; why doesn't anyone else?

The City of Sammamish broke away from King County and incorporated to free itself from the county's corrupt land use departments that were approving any application and allowing growth to overwhelm the Plateau's rural infrastructure. Thousands of permits were pending that likely were the result of grotesque manipulation of traffic analyses similar to the county's "arbitrary and capricious" actions for Redmond Ridge East on Union Hill.

After bitter and nasty elections, tainted by developer tactics and influence, the new city council refused to reopen those thousands of approved permits for serious analysis, but did impose a moratorium on "new permits" that has allowed the city to partially catch up with needed infrastructure. But with the decision from a Locke-appointed pro-growth Growth Management Hearings Board, the city has now discovered that it has no choice but to allow 20 years of growth in the next 6 years. In response, they has decided that the least they can do is make that growth pay its way.

Maple Valley closes development loophole
By Chris Winters
Journal Reporter

Going from no growth to paid-for growth Sammamish, frustrated in its attempts to halt and slow growth, is now moving on to the next step: making growth pay for itself.

The city is presenting its case to jack up impact fees by several hundred percent on development to fund badly needed road projects and parks.

Two impact fees are being studied.

One would pay for road projects with a fee on new development based on a complex formula using the likely number of afternoon commuter trips it would generate. The other would fund park and recreation projects through a fee on new residential development only, based on the average number of people per unit.

Under the proposals, the transportation impact fee will increase 271 percent to $25,754 per trip from $6,937. For example, a six-lot subdivision's impact fee would increase to $156,070 from $45,852.

Now imagine if King County and the other cities within it cut their puppet-master's strings and required growth to pay for itself? Would we need multi-billion dollar tax increases to fund the tens of billions of dollars in unfunded road projects?

It's time we stop subsidizing the profits of the growth industry with dollars that future generations will have to pay to build the infrastructure that isn't getting built. If the state's Development Machine can't be stopped through moratoriums and local decisions to slow growth, then perhaps making the profiteers from growth pay for their impacts will do it.

For the full King County Journal article see:

Maple Valley closes development loophole

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