Federal Way City Council members unanimously voted to suspend transportation impact fees on local businesses for three years.
Impact fees are charges based on a set fee which is assessed on all new development activity to pay for capital improvements that are needed to serve new development. Traffic impact fees are collected to improve the transportation system to accommodate the higher travel demand created by new development within the city limits of Federal Way, explained Chris Carrel, city spokesperson.
Federal Way adopted a transportation fee program in 2010 to ensure that adequate facilities are available to serve new growth, establish standards by which new growth and development pay a proportionate share of the cost of new facilities needed to serve new growth and development and ensure impact fees are imposed through established procedures and criteria so that specific developments do not pay arbitrary fees or duplicative fees for the same impact.
“In 2011, we realized communities and businesses were still struggling to deal with the impacts of the recession,” Carrel said. “The council [at that time] felt is was really important to find ways to lower costs and burdens on businesses, so one way to do that was to suspend this program.”
City Council expressed their desire to continue to help out local businesses.
“As this expiration came up, the city looked at it and felt it was still a good time to keep that benefit alive for businesses,” Carrel said. “The city did not feel it was the right time to increase any financial burdens on our businesses.”
A representative from a local business stepped up at the council meeting and said if the council had not suspended the transportation impact fees, he would have had to pay $40,000 of impact fees.
“It’s all about keeping business here, being successful and being able to eventually expand,” Carrel said. “We hope that this is seen as attractive, not only to businesses here, but to people considering doing business in Federal Way.”
Carrel said this decision was a factor from the city’s Economic Development Plan, which includes developing a recently-purchased $8.2 million, 7.5 acre piece of land in downtown to create a portion of “Town Center,” that includes Town Square Park, the Transit Center and the future Performing Arts and Conference Center.
“We want Federal Way to be a great place for people to live and do business,” Carrel said.