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Impact Fees


RD Supports Adequate Impact Fees:  RD promotes and supports Adequate Impact Fees from developers to substantially reduce the tax subsidies that are now required by new construction projects.

 Adequate impact fees have not been charged to developers in the past, which means that the growth going on in our city and county will be heavily subsidized by current residents in the form of increasing taxes. The city only requires developers to pay a small portion of the cost of the impact (the need for additional services such as police and fire protection, schools, roads, etc.) resulting from the construction of new projects. For example, the city recently voted for developers to pay only 35% of the actual cost of new developments’ impact on our community for parks and open space. Consequently, we must either increase taxes to pay for the remaining 65% or accept a decreasing level of service by reducing the amount and/or quality of parks and open space in Bellingham. As another example, the City Council adopted a Level of Service “F” in the 2005 Comprehensive Plan for 11 streets and intersections (meaning that traffic at the peak PM hour exceeds the capacity of the roadways to handle it, or Failure). Even worse, they predicted that 23 others would reach “F” by 20022. The lack of imposing adequate impact fees on developers to mitigate the impacts of their projects on parks, schools, roadways, utilities, and more makes it more likely that we will be forced to accept higher taxes, lower levels of service, and the prospect of gridlock on our roadways. We must require that developers pay their fair share of the impact fees necessary to maintain the current levels of service.


Fodor Evaluates Financial Impact of Fairhaven Highlands:  Eben Fodor is a well respected community planning consultant.  He was hired by RD to study the financial impact of the Fairhaven Highlands development.  He concluded that the project will cost the city $12.1 million for the transportation, school, fire and park facilities services.  Attached is his 20 page report.  Due to its size, it has been broken down into four batches. 


City Increases Impact Fees for Parks:   On April 30, 2007, the City Council increased impact fees to raise more money for parks.  The fees were increased by more than $916 for a single-family residence and by more than $671 for apartments and condos.   Impact Fees Raised  (Herald - May 1, 2007)


City Waives $15,000 Park Impact Fee for Laube Hotel:  In its March 12, 2007 meeting, the City Council voted to vvaive $51,300 in park impact fees for the renovation of the Laube Hotel in downtown Bellingham in order to support low income housing and historic rehabilitation.  Laube Hotel


City Expected to Increase Parkland:  The City Council is expected to increase the ratio of parkland from 42.2 acres to 47.5 acres per 1,000 residents at its April 30, 2007 meeting according to the Whatcom Independent.  The expected cost of the increase parkland is predicted to exceed $100 million over the next 15 years.  The ratio was increased by a 5-1 vote of the City Council at Assistant City Attorney Alan Marriner recommendation to remove inconsistencies in the Comprehensive Plan.  Barbara Ryan, the dissenting vote, objected because it would require $160 million in new property taxes. She recommended a park level that would not require increased property taxes along with an increase in the Park Impact Fee that would required developers to pay 50% of the cost of increased parkland necessitated by their projects.  Parkland Ratio


County Proposes New Rules to Spread Traffic Costs:  This December 5, 2006 article in the Herald by Jared Paben discusses the proposed ordinance to require developers who construct more than four homes to pay for  traffic study, and if warranted, to pay to upgrade roads or decrease the project size.  New Rules