PDFRCW 43.21C.428

Recovery of expenses of nonproject environmental impact statementsFees for subsequent development.

(1) A county, city, or town may recover its reasonable expenses of preparation of a nonproject environmental impact statement prepared under RCW 43.21C.229 and 43.21C.440:
(a) Through access to financial assistance under RCW 36.70A.490;
(b) With funding from private sources; and
(c) By the assessment of fees consistent with the requirements and limitations of this section.
(2)(a) A county, city, or town is authorized to assess a fee upon subsequent development that will make use of and benefit from: (i) The analysis in an environmental impact statement prepared for the purpose of compliance with RCW 43.21C.440 regarding planned actions; or (ii) the reduction in environmental analysis requirements resulting from the exercise of authority under RCW 43.21C.229 regarding infill development.
(b) The amount of the fee must be reasonable and proportionate to the total expenses incurred by the county, city, or town in the preparation of the environmental impact statement.
(c) Counties, cities, and towns are not authorized by this section to assess fees for general comprehensive plan amendments or updates.
(3) A county, city, or town assessing fees under subsection (2)(a) of this section must provide for a mechanism by which project proponents may either elect to utilize the environmental review completed by the lead agency and pay the fees under subsection (1) of this section or certify that they do not want the local jurisdiction to utilize the environmental review completed as a part of a planned action and therefore not be assessed any associated fees. Project proponents who choose this option may not make use of or benefit from the up-front environmental review prepared by the local jurisdiction.
(4) Prior to the collection of fees, the county, city, or town must enact an ordinance that establishes the total amount of expenses to be recovered through fees and provides objective standards for determining the fee amount to be imposed upon each development proposal proportionate to the impacts of each development and to the benefits accruing to each development from the nonproject environmental review. The ordinance must provide: (a) A procedure by which an applicant who disagrees with whether the amount of the fee is correct, reasonable, or proportionate may pay the fee with the written stipulation "paid under protest"; and (b) if the county, city, or town provides for an administrative appeal of its decision on the project for which the fees are imposed, any dispute about the amount of the fees must be resolved in the same administrative appeals process. Any disagreement about the reasonableness, proportionality, or amount of the fees imposed upon a development may not be the basis for delay in issuance of a project permit for that development.
(5) The ordinance adopted under subsection (4) of this section must make information available about the amount of the expenses designated for recovery. When these expenses have been fully recovered, the county, city, or town may no longer assess a fee under this section.
(6) Any fees collected under this section from subsequent development may be used to reimburse funding received from private sources to conduct the environmental review.
(7) The county, city, or town shall refund fees collected where a court of competent jurisdiction determines that the environmental review conducted under RCW 43.21C.440, regarding planned actions, or under RCW 43.21C.229, regarding infill development, was not sufficient to comply with the requirements of this chapter regarding the proposed development activity for which the fees were collected. The applicant and the county, city, or town may mutually agree to a partial refund or to waive the refund in the interest of resolving any dispute regarding compliance with this chapter.
[ 2013 c 243 § 1.]