Redmond considers raising 2018 impact fees

Redmond city staff is examining annual increases to transportation, fire and school impact fee rates.

The rates are assessed annually to keep pace with inflation. They are a one-time fee charged to developers when a new building is created.

City staff met Tuesday to begin discussing the changes, which will go through a process and likely be presented to the city council for action in December.

Transportation impact fees could increase by 1.82 percent.

Fees are assessed at different levels depending on what part of the city it sits in.

Impact fees are levied by Redmond to help offset public expenses incurred by more people using public services in the city.

Developments in downtown Redmond are charged at a lower rate than in Overlake, and buildings in the rest of the city pay at the highest level.

A new house built outside of the two downtown cores is currently charged $6,650, which could increase to $6,771.

Apartments and multi-family buildings are charged per unit, and office, retail and light industrial buildings are charged per square foot.

Redmond has lower single-family and multi-family rates than the regional average of Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland and Sammamish.

Retail and office developments are, however, charged at a higher rate.

Redmond also has the second highest office transportation impact fee rate, costing $19,010 per 1,000 square feet. This is only surpassed by Sammamish, which clocks in at $22,560 per 1,000 square feet of office space.

Of the five cities, Kirkland has the lowest rates in all categories.

Fire impact fees are also likely to increase 2.19 percent.

Issaquah is the only other jurisdiction on the Eastside that has fire impact fees, but other cities have some significantly higher land-use categories, according to city documents.

School impact fees on single-family houses could also increase by 10.5 percent, from $10,822 to $11,954.

At the same time, multi-family dwelling units would see a decrease of 22.3 percent per unit.

At the city Planning and Public Works Committee meeting on Tuesday, council member Angela Birney questioned why the school district had lowered rates for apartments if they would hold more people and possibly more families.

City staff said the calculation was done by the district, but that likely there would be less children living in the new developments than workers without families.

Park fees were also increased this spring, with single-family homes seeing a 23.6 percent increase for a total of $4,585 per house.

The fee will go toward funding the roughly $50 million budget for park acquisition, design, construction, risk and remodeling through 2030.

The city currently owns 46 parks encompassing more than 1,350 acres and more than 36 miles of trail and four community centers.

Park fees are usually considered and passed at the same time as the rest of the impact fees, but were approved earlier this year.