Legislature Update: Land Use

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The 2013 Washington State Legislature wrestled with an 800 pound gorilla – education funding – and adjourned without reaching consensus on that issue. But in the process, several new laws passed that are land use specific. A brief summary follows: 

ESHB 1652Impact Fee Deferral. ESHB 1652 requires municipalities to adopt a permanent impact fee collection system that provides for the collection of development impact fees either through a covenant-based process, or its equivalent. Under the covenant process, development impact fees are considered a lien against the property that must be paid at the earlier of; 1) closing; or 2) 18 months after the building permit is issued. If payment is due at closing, it must be made from the seller’s proceeds, unless agreed otherwise between the buyer and seller. The Seller Disclosure Statement must contain a disclosure of the amount of the impact fee. After payment of the fee, the municipality must remove the covenant from the title of the property. Under the alternative process, municipalities may create a process that allows applicants to apply individually for impact fee deferrals, on the condition that the timelines are similar. The bill was delivered to the Governor on April 23.  See here for a more detailed analysis of this bill.

SHB 1074Plat Approvals. SHB 1074 increased the final plat approval submission timeline from nine to ten years and removes the requirement that those plats must be within City limits. The purpose of the legislation is to allow developers of preliminarily-approved plats who got caught in the recession another year to finish their improvements. It has been signed by the Governor and will go into effect on July 28, 2013.

ESHB 1717Frontloaded Environmental Planning. ESHB 1717 allows local governments to recover their costs incurred in preparing “nonproject EIS’s” for infill development that is categorically exempt from SEPA or that qualifies as a “planned action” under SEPA. The fee must be “reasonable and proportionate” to the total cost incurred by the municipality and the accompanying ordinance must contain disclosure of the actual fees and an appeals process. It also modifies the process under which local governments contract with developers to provide water or sewer facilities to serve new development. It was delivered to the Governor on April 23.

SB 5417Annexations. SB 5417 increases the maximum amount of territory that can be annexed from 100 to 175 acres and requires that the boundaries of the annexation area be fully contiguous to the City. It also removes restrictions on a City’s authority to annex islands of unincorporated territory if 80% of the area’s boundaries are contiguous to the City. It was delivered to the Governor on April 27.

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