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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 15, 2012
Scott Clark, Director, 360-754-3355 x 3005 or clarks@co.thurston.wa.us

County Public Hearing on Impact Fees set for June 19

The Thurston County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing regarding the adoption of impact fees.

Impact fees are a type of one-time charge developers pay to help finance their proportionate share of the cost of the roads, parks, schools and other facilities necessary to serve their new developments. Impact fees are usually due at the time a building permit is issued. The funds collected cannot be used for operation, maintenance, repair, alteration, or replacement of existing capital facilities, and cannot be added to general revenue. The amount of the fee must be clearly linked to the added service cost, not some arbitrary amount. Public invited to comment on proposed changes to fees for construction permits.

The Public Hearing will be at the following time and location:

  • Time: 6 p.m.
  • Date: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
  • Location: Room 280 at the Thurston County Courthouse Complex, Building 1, 2000 Lakeridge Dr SW, Olympia, WA 98502


    To determine the feasibility of establishing GMA Impact Fees, Thurston County commissioned an Impact Fee study to determine development/growth related cost to construct transportation, parks and school infrastructure. The consultant reviewed county and school capital facilities plans; proposed services areas and proposed fees for each transportation, park and school district service area. Proposed school impact fees are based on the school’s capital facilities plan. The consultant has met with the Olympia Master Builders, School and Fire Districts to hear their issues and recommendations and presented their feedback into discussions with the Board of County Commissioners. At this time, a draft impact fee ordinance is ready for public testimony.

    The following goals were used to develop the proposed impact fee system:

    • equitably recovers the cost of county transportation, recreation, schools and fire protection improvements as a result of new development;
    • is less of an administrative burden to Thurston County, school districts, fire protection and the development community than the current SEPA mitigation process; and
    • provides the timely and equitable financing of public services and improvements to mitigate and prevent impacts from new development.

      The collection of fees to fund public infrastructure is not new to Thurston County. The county has been collecting SEPA impact fees for the last twenty years. The primary differences between SEPA and GMA impact fees are:
      • SEPA fees are negotiated between the developer and public works department, school district and county for each project.
      • GMA fees are established on a service area basis given the cost to construct transportation, park and school projects within the service area.

      • SEPA fees are typically used to fund specific improvements in the immediate vicinity of the proposed development.
      • GMA fees are used to fund improvements on the system within a service area.
      • Smaller developments are exempt from SEPA mitigation fees, thus cumulative impacts from several small developments lead to impacts that are not funded by new development and must be funded from other sources such as property taxes or bonds and levies.
      • GMA fees can be collected from all new residential and commercial development regardless of size.

        More information is available at the Thurston County Permit Assistance Center at the County Courthouse , or online at www.thurstonplanning.org, or by contacting Scott Clark at clarks@co.thurston.wa.us or (360) 754-3355 ext. 3005. To receive project updates and hearing notices, please sign up for the Planning Department's webmail by visiting the Planning Department website and clicking the "Web Mail" link at the top navigation bar.


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3