Stanwood City Planning commissioners discussed park impact fees and Shoreline Management Plan updates at their meeting Monday, April 8.

Park impact fees

The city of Stanwood is reviewing and potentially updating its park impact fees during 2019 to 2020. Although the park impact fee ordinance was updated in December 2017, the council asked staff to review costs associated with projects and to examine the fairest distribution of those costs.

Community Development Director Patricia Love started this introductory conversation by outlining state code.

The state requires city ordinances to include a fee schedule for types of development.

Fees must be based on a formula that includes the cost of public facilities necessitated by new development, adjusting for user fees and debt service payments or payments earmarked for the particular system improvement. Other means of funding, cost of existing public facilities improvements and finance methods are also factors.

Developers get credit for dedicating land or for working on projects identified in the capital facilities plan. Cities can adjust impact fees on a case-by-case basis to ensure fair fees. Cities can include in their calculations system improvements that began before development but that new growth will use.

The report laid out a comparison of impact fees in other Snohomish County cities.

“While this is good information to know what our neighbors are charging, it should also be reviewed with caution as the fee is determined by their parks capital improvement plan,” said Love’s report.

Stanwood has the lowest impact fees in Snohomish County, with $1,330 for a single family residence. Marysville is next with $1,463. On the high end is Lake Stevens at $4,155 and Snohomish at $4,150.

Two Skagit cities were included, Burlington at $655 and Mount Vernon at $855.

The conversation will continue on park impact fees and city staff will evaluate the city’s formula and project costs to determine the appropriate fee.

Shoreline code updates

Planning commissioners reviewed draft code amendments to its Shoreline Management Plan and set May 20 as the date for a public hearing on the draft code.

Stanwood is required to update its SMP on or before June 30. All cities and counties must update their SMP every eight years as required by the Washington State Shoreline Management Act.

Most of the changes this time are those made at the state level between 2007 and 2017, which include definitions, clarifications and rule amendments.

Contact reporter Peggy Wendel at pwendel@scnews.com or 360-416-2189.

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