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How Kent’s transportation-impact fees work

(This is an informational overview of the transportation-impact fees for the City of Kent that went into effect in August.)

Transportation-impact fees are based on the cost of new road capacity, to accommodate planned development. They can’t be used to “fix” existing traffic problems.

Under the city’s estimations, future development accounts for approximately 38 percent of the total cost for new road projects throughout the city.

“Without a TIF, the City has no mechanism to collect money for citywide traffic impacts of new development,” according to a written overview to the City Council of the TIF ordinance by Public Works Director Tim La Porte, dated June 15.

The fees approved by the Council in July went into effect in August, and they are effective through June 30, 2011. However, the ordinance is worded so that a new, higher set of fees will kick in each year up to 2016.

How much are the fees at this time?

The fee depends on what the facility in question is designed for, and whether or not it is residential or commercial. For instance, a single-family residence would see a fee of $3,702, while a hotel would see a fee of $2,472 per room. A movie theater would pay a TIF of $144 per seat, while other facilities, such as day-care centers, health clubs and libraries, would charged based per square foot of gross floor area. (The fees for each of those uses would differ, although the way to measure the fees would be the same.)

Industrial facilities, including light- and heavy manufacturing, also would be assessed fees based on their square feet of gross floor area.

Fees to climb

Transportation-impact fees are scheduled to climb each year, from now until 2016.

That is due to one number: the Maximum Allowable Transportation Impact Fee Rate, which is $13,614 per p.m. peak hour trip (“peak hour” means trips taken between 4-6 p.m., the busiest traffic time of the day.)

The city developed this fee following a rate study last year. Right now, transportation-impact fees in Kent are based on 30 percent of this rate. But the rates are scheduled to climb a certain percentage level each year, with the city collecting 100 percent of this rate in impact fees by July 2016.

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