Thurston County proposes to increase Transportation Impact Fees for new construction

Staff estimate that the fee would be $3,050 for an average single-family house


The Thurston County Board of Commissioners plans to increase the existing Transportation Impact Fee.

On Tue., July 13, at its regular meeting, the board held a public hearing on the Traffic Impact Fees Rate Schedule for the Program Year 2021. Generally, an impact fee is a one-time charge to help a government fund costs to build facilities such as schools, roads, and parks to serve new developments. Simply put, these fees apply a “growth pays for growth” approach.

The Transportation Impact Fee is for new construction only and only in unincorporated parts of the county. The fee is not new; it’s an update of the rate schedule established in 2012.

In a presentation, Matt Unzelman, Thurston County Project Engineer, explained that funds from the transportation impact fee are used for the construction of road widening, signal, roundabouts, turn lanes, and other urban improvements. Overall, Unzelman shared that they have a total of 38 projects in the county which span over a 20 year period. The total cost for these new developments is at $243 million.

To illustrate the rate, Unzelman claimed that a home builder will pay a $3,050 impact fee for an average single family home. These charges may also change depending on the location of the property.

In addition, the staff also provided a recommendation for the rate of accessory dwelling units (ADU). They propose that for ADUs, the county should reduce the impact fee by up to 50 percent. See Transportation Impact Fee Rate Schedule.

The staff also plans for the county to offer a low-income housing exemption by reducing the impact fee by up to 80 percent of the proposed rate. Low-income means that it should be accessible for residents that that are making 80 percent or less of the area median income . If a homeowner qualifies as low-income, they will pay around $600 for a single family home.

For multi-family dwelling units, the proposed impact fee is at $2,460 per unit along urban growth areas.

Unzelman also shared that aside from dwelling units, there is also proposed legislation to reduce the impact fee for daycare facilities by up to 80 percent under House Bill 1331.

The County has yet to issue a decision on the proposed resolution.


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