BILL REQ. #:  H-0008.2 


State of Washington63rd Legislature2013 Regular Session

By Representatives Fitzgibbon, Upthegrove, Springer, Green, Ryu, Maxwell, Roberts, Jinkins, Morrell, Pollet, and Fey

Read first time 01/16/13.   Referred to Committee on Local Government.

     AN ACT Relating to incentivizing up-front environmental planning and review; amending RCW 82.02.020; and adding a new section to chapter 43.21C RCW.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   A new section is added to chapter 43.21C RCW to read as follows:
     (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.
     (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.

Sec. 2   RCW 82.02.020 and 2010 c 153 s 3 are each amended to read as follows:
     Except only as expressly provided in chapters 67.28, 81.104, and 82.14 RCW, the state preempts the field of imposing retail sales and use taxes and taxes upon parimutuel wagering authorized pursuant to RCW 67.16.060, conveyances, and cigarettes, and no county, town, or other municipal subdivision shall have the right to impose taxes of that nature. Except as provided in RCW 64.34.440 and 82.02.050 through 82.02.090, no county, city, town, or other municipal corporation shall impose any tax, fee, or charge, either direct or indirect, on the construction or reconstruction of residential buildings, commercial buildings, industrial buildings, or on any other building or building space or appurtenance thereto, or on the development, subdivision, classification, or reclassification of land. However, this section does not preclude dedications of land or easements within the proposed development or plat which the county, city, town, or other municipal corporation can demonstrate are reasonably necessary as a direct result of the proposed development or plat to which the dedication of land or easement is to apply.
     This section does not prohibit voluntary agreements with counties, cities, towns, or other municipal corporations that allow a payment in lieu of a dedication of land or to mitigate a direct impact that has been identified as a consequence of a proposed development, subdivision, or plat. A local government shall not use such voluntary agreements for local off-site transportation improvements within the geographic boundaries of the area or areas covered by an adopted transportation program authorized by chapter 39.92 RCW. Any such voluntary agreement is subject to the following provisions:
     (1) The payment shall be held in a reserve account and may only be expended to fund a capital improvement agreed upon by the parties to mitigate the identified, direct impact;
     (2) The payment shall be expended in all cases within five years of collection; and
     (3) Any payment not so expended shall be refunded with interest to be calculated from the original date the deposit was received by the county and at the same rate applied to tax refunds pursuant to RCW 84.69.100; however, if the payment is not expended within five years due to delay attributable to the developer, the payment shall be refunded without interest.
     No county, city, town, or other municipal corporation shall require any payment as part of such a voluntary agreement which the county, city, town, or other municipal corporation cannot establish is reasonably necessary as a direct result of the proposed development or plat.
     Nothing in this section prohibits cities, towns, counties, or other municipal corporations from collecting reasonable fees from an applicant for a permit or other governmental approval to cover the cost to the city, town, county, or other municipal corporation of processing applications, inspecting and reviewing plans, or preparing detailed statements required by chapter 43.21C RCW, including reasonable fees that are consistent with RCW 43.21C.420(6) and section 1 of this act.
     This section does not limit the existing authority of any county, city, town, or other municipal corporation to impose special assessments on property specifically benefited thereby in the manner prescribed by law.
     Nothing in this section prohibits counties, cities, or towns from imposing or permits counties, cities, or towns to impose water, sewer, natural gas, drainage utility, and drainage system charges. However, no such charge shall exceed the proportionate share of such utility or system's capital costs which the county, city, or town can demonstrate are attributable to the property being charged. Furthermore, these provisions may not be interpreted to expand or contract any existing authority of counties, cities, or towns to impose such charges.
     Nothing in this section prohibits a transportation benefit district from imposing fees or charges authorized in RCW 36.73.120 nor prohibits the legislative authority of a county, city, or town from approving the imposition of such fees within a transportation benefit district.
     Nothing in this section prohibits counties, cities, or towns from imposing transportation impact fees authorized pursuant to chapter 39.92 RCW.
     Nothing in this section prohibits counties, cities, or towns from requiring property owners to provide relocation assistance to tenants under RCW 59.18.440 and 59.18.450.
     Nothing in this section limits the authority of counties, cities, or towns to implement programs consistent with RCW 36.70A.540, nor to enforce agreements made pursuant to such programs.
     This section does not apply to special purpose districts formed and acting pursuant to Title 54, 57, or 87 RCW, nor is the authority conferred by these titles affected.

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