Kirkland Adopts School Impact Fees for New Residential Construction; Phasing Begins June 1, 2011

UPDATED

Program receives support from school district, realtors, and builders

Following a public hearing at its February 15, 2011 meeting, the Kirkland City Council unanimously approved implementing a school impact fee program beginning June 1, 2011.  It also approved an Interlocal Agreement between the City of Kirkland and Lake Washington School District (LWSD) for administering the collection, distribution, and expenditure of the fees. School impact fee programs assume that residential growth and development should pay a proportionate share of the cost of school facilities needed to serve the new growth and development.  Kirkland’s program provides for a three year “ramp up” in which impact fees will be applied at 50% of the District’s estimated fee of $6,250 for new single-family units and $1,732 for new multi-family units in the first year (June 1, 2011 through February 29, 2012), 80% in the second year (March 1, 2012 through February 28, 2013), and 100% in the third year (After February 28, 2013).  The City’s program was developed cooperatively between the City, LWSD, Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, Seattle-King County Realtors, the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce, and local builders.

“This was an outstanding example of Kirkland stakeholders coming together and working hard to find common ground,” notes Kirkland City Manager Kurt Triplett.  “Everyone was equally committed to the success of our schools while being sensitive to the impacts the development industry that bears the cost of the new fee.  The phased approach meets both of these objectives.”

The Growth Management Act allows for the collection of impact fees to help defray the costs of new school facilities and school districts have to identify anticipated enrollment growth and capital needs in their Capital Facilities Plan.  The rates adopted are based on LWSD’s 2010-2015 Capital Facilities Plan which establishes a “standard of service” (student/teacher ratios), enrollment projections and capital construction plans for maintaining service levels.  LWSD had requested that the City of Kirkland impose school impact fees in line with other jurisdictions served by the District in order to address the continued impact of growth within the City.  The fees apply to new single-family and multi-family construction.

For more information on Kirkland’s School Impact Fee Program, contact Jeremy McMahan, Kirkland Planning & Community Development Department at 425-587-3229 or jmcmahan@ci.kirkland.wa.us.