Opinion

Consider impact fees

Powerful lobbies want to do away with impact fees.

I was glad to see that the city of North Bend is working to develop impact fees for new developments. It's one more step toward making sure that new residents pay for infrastructure upgrades that they create. Snoqualmie already has a similar ordinance though the amount paid for each new house built is significantly lower than the potential impact the homes' residents could have on our infrastructure.

In the case of the school district, when a facilities bond is approved, the rates will be adjusted to reflect the need for additional capacity. But there is always someone trying to fight what seems like a common sense approach: that new houses should pay more toward the cost of infrastructure upgrades.

Powerful lobby interests have been beating the drum for years to eliminate development impact fees. They argue it puts an undue burden on potential homebuyers. Of course, the interests are looking out for what's best for the building industry, not you and I, the taxpayers.

We need to send a clear message to our legislators that any attempt to do away with development impact fees is unacceptable. Let our own elected state representatives - Jay Rodne, Glenn Anderson and Cheryl Pflug - know we want new developments to pay a larger percentage of infrastructure upgrades than established housing developments. It's a great statement to make in an election year.

The school levy highlights the need to maintain development impact fees and maybe even broaden their scope. For instance, maybe fees should be established based on a reasonable impact to infrastructure rather than voter-approved facilities such as schools. Currrently the school district cannot raise impact fees until the voters approve the needed facilities. But the facilities are needed because new developments are driving the need. That means the money collected from impact fees always lags behind the need. If a school district develops a facilities plan, whether approved or not by the voters, that plan should determine the level of impact fees far ahead of the need for an actual bond.

Let's send a clear message to our representatives that we expect the fee process to be maintained and would even suggest some revisions

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