Chapter 3.05
ASSESSMENT REIMBURSEMENT AREAS

Sections:

3.05.010    Purpose.

3.05.020    Definitions.

3.05.030    Authorization – Term.

3.05.040    Rights and nonliability of city.

3.05.050    Application – Contents – Requirements.

3.05.055    Exemptions.

3.05.060    Notice to property owners.

3.05.070    City council hearing and final action.

3.05.080    Contract execution and recording.

3.05.090    Timing and method of payment.

3.05.100    City participation authorized.

3.05.110    Interpretation and consistency with state law.

3.05.010 Purpose.

This chapter is intended to implement the provisions of Chapters 35.72 and 35.91 RCW, as they now exist or may hereafter be amended. The purpose of this chapter is to enable the city to establish assessment reimbursement areas, to provide for reimbursement to the city and qualifying property owners of certain costs and expenses, and to enter into reimbursement contracts with the owners of real property for the construction and/or improvement of street and utility projects which the owners elect to install as a result of city ordinances requiring such projects as a prerequisite to further property development, all as provided in this chapter. (Ord. 2199 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016).

3.05.020 Definitions.

The following definitions control for purposes of this chapter:

A.    “Qualifying project” means street system improvements and/or utility system improvements as described herein; provided, that the following improvements are not eligible for reimbursement under this chapter:

1.    Improvements to or of a land owner’s or developer’s abutting rights-of-way and transitions as required by city ordinance. An exception may apply where vertical grade and alignment changes are required by the city engineer to promote traffic safety and the city engineer recommends that reimbursement of such changes be allowed.

2.    Street improvements that do not include concrete curb, gutter and sidewalks on the benefiting side of the street. The appropriate asphalt width shall be determined by city ordinance in accordance with current design and construction standards and specifications.

3.    Improvements to or of any alley.

B.    “Reimbursement area” or “assessment reimbursement area” means the land area determined in accordance with this chapter within which properties benefitted by improvements are allocated a reimbursement assessment.

C.    “Reimbursement assessment” means the reimbursement amount allocated to each property within a reimbursement area for qualifying projects pursuant to this chapter.

D.    “Reimbursement contract” means the contract, or in the case of city-sponsored improvements the ordinance adopted by the city council, that is developed pursuant to this chapter. A reimbursement contract shall include establishment of a reimbursement area, the reimbursement assessments applicable therein, and other appropriate terms and conditions.

E.    “Street system improvement” includes the acquisition of right-of-way, easements and/or other property interests, design, grading, paving, installation of curbs, gutters, storm drainage, sidewalks, street lighting, traffic controls and other similar improvements as required by the street standards of the city.

F.    “Utility system improvement” includes the acquisition of right-of-way, easements and/or other property interests, design and installation of the utility system to city design standards, including the following utilities:

1.    “Sewer utilities” includes all things necessary, convenient and/or appurtenant to such utilities, including such things as mains, side sewers, lift stations, telemetering facilities, testing, etc.

2.    “Storm drainage utilities” includes all things necessary, convenient and/or appurtenant to such utilities, including such things as mains, stormwater services, delivery and distribution lines, detention facilities, etc.

3.    “Water utilities” includes all things necessary, convenient and/or appurtenant to such utilities, including such things as mains, water services, delivery and distribution lines, valves, fire hydrants, pumping of pressure reducing stations, testing, etc. (Ord. 2199 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016).

3.05.030 Authorization – Term.

A.    The public works director shall establish guidelines and rules, regulations, policies and procedures for all applications for a reimbursement area and/or a reimbursement contract, and shall determine whether and when such application is complete.

B.    Any owner or developer of real estate who is required to construct or install street system improvements as a result of any provision of the city code as a prerequisite to further development may make application to the public works director for the establishment of a reimbursement area and reimbursement contract as provided by this chapter and state law.

C.    No reimbursement contract shall extend for a period longer than 15 years from the date of final designation or acceptance of the reimbursement area and contract by the city; provided, that reimbursement contracts may be extended in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 35.72 RCW as now or hereafter amended.

D.    The city council shall have discretion to authorize, or not to authorize, reimbursement areas and reimbursement contracts pursuant to this chapter, and may determine the appropriate procedure therefor; provided, that the city council shall comply with the notification requirements specified in BMC 3.05.060. (Ord. 2199 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016).

3.05.040 Rights and nonliability of city.

The city reserves the right to refuse to enter into any reimbursement contract or to reject any application therefor. All applications for a reimbursement contract shall be made on the basis that the applicant releases and waives all claims for liability of the city relating to or arising from establishment of a reimbursement area or reimbursement contract, and relating to or arising from enforcement of a reimbursement contract. The city shall not be responsible for locating any beneficiary or survivor entitled to benefits or refunds under any reimbursement contract. Any collected funds that are unclaimed by property owners or developers three years following expiration of a reimbursement contract shall be returned to party making payment to the city, less any administrative amounts to which the city is entitled. Any funds determined to be undeliverable under this section shall inure to the benefit of the applicable utility and/or fund approved by the city council. (Ord. 2199 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016).

3.05.050 Application – Contents – Requirements.

Every application for the establishment of an assessment reimbursement area and/or reimbursement contract shall include the following items:

A.    Plans and Specifications. Detailed construction plans and drawings of the entire street and/or utility system improvement project and its components, the costs of which are to be allocated to and borne by the properties within the proposed assessment reimbursement area, prepared and stamped by a registered civil engineer.

B.    Project Costs. Itemized statement of all costs and expenses of the street and/or utility system improvement project including, but not limited to, design, grading, paving, installation of curbs, gutters, storm drainage utilities, sanitary sewer utilities, water system utilities, sidewalks, street lights, engineering, construction, property acquisition and contract administration.

C.    Reimbursement Area. A map, diagram and legal description identifying the proposed boundaries of the assessment reimbursement area and the boundaries and tax lot number of each parcel within and immediately adjoining the reimbursement area. Such map shall identify the precise locations of the street and/or utility system improvement project in relation to the parcels of property in such area.

D.    Reimbursement Roll – Methodology. A proposed assessment reimbursement roll stating the owner or taxpayer of record, mailing and physical address, other contact information, property tax ID number, and proposed assessment for each parcel of property within the proposed reimbursement area. The proposed assessment shall be determined by apportioning the total project cost from subsection B of this section to each parcel within the proposed reimbursement area on the basis of the benefit of the project to each parcel. The methodology and basis for determining the benefit shall be described in full.

E.    Certification. The assessment roll required by subsection D of this section shall be certified as complete and accurate by the applicant.

F.    Envelopes. Standard-sized envelopes addressed to each of the record owners of property within the assessment reimbursement area. Proper postage for certified mailing, return receipt requested, thereof shall be affixed or provided.

G.    Prepaid Assessments. A list of all record owners of property within the proposed reimbursement area, if any, that have already paid his/her proposed reimbursement assessment, identifying the property, the amount of the assessment, the amount of the payment, and the recipient of the payment.

H.    Property Documents. Copies of all executed deeds, easements and/or other property interests in which the applicant is the grantee for all property and interests necessary for the installation of the street or utility system improvement project.

I.    Application Fees. The applicant for a reimbursement area or reimbursement contract shall pay the required application fee at the time of application submission, and in addition shall reimburse the city for the full administrative, professional and legal costs and expenses of reviewing and processing such application and of preparing the reimbursement contract. At the time of application a minimum fee of $250.00, plus 0.025 percent of the total value of the reimbursement assessment, to a maximum of $2,500, shall be deposited with the city and credited against the actual costs and expenses incurred. The applicant shall reimburse the city in full for all such costs and expenses prior to execution of the reimbursement contract by the city. (Ord. 2204 § 2, 2016; Ord. 2199 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016).

3.05.055 Exemptions.

The following activities are exempt from the requirements of this chapter:

A.    Rebuilding or replacement of a legally established building or structure destroyed or damaged by fire, flood, explosion, act of God or other accident or catastrophe; provided, that a complete application has been submitted for rebuilding a new building or structure of the same size and use within two years of the destruction. The completeness requirements are as outlined in BMC 11.06.002 and 11.06.003.

B.    Condominium projects in which existing dwelling units are converted into condominium ownership and where no new dwelling units are created.

C.    Any development activity for which impacts have been mitigated pursuant to a voluntary agreement entered into with the city and/or owner to pay fees, dedicate land or construct or improve facilities; provided, that the agreement predates the effective date of reimbursement imposition.

D.    Interior building improvements.

E.    Exterior structure maintenance activities, including painting and roofing.

F.    Landscaping activities.

G.    Maintenance of the following existing facilities that does not expand the affected area: septic tanks (routine cleaning); wells; individual utility service connections; and individual cemetery plots in established and approved cemeteries. (Ord. 2220 § 1, 2017; Ord. 2204 § 1, 2016).

3.05.060 Notice to property owners.

Not less than 20 days prior to the city’s final approval and execution of any proposed reimbursement contract establishing an assessment reimbursement area, the public works director shall mail, via certified mail, return receipt requested, a notice to all record property owners within the proposed assessment reimbursement area. The notice shall be based on the information and materials submitted to the city by the applicant pursuant to this chapter, and shall describe the purpose, function, boundaries, and basis of the proposed reimbursement area, the material terms of the proposed reimbursement contract, the basis and methodology used to determine the reimbursement area and the reimbursement allocation assigned to each property therein, and the notice shall contain substantially the following statement, all as approved by the director:

An assessment reimbursement contract [or ordinance] has been applied for under BMC Chapter 3.05 that affects your property. As a property owner within the proposed assessment reimbursement area, which preliminary boundaries are enclosed with this notice, you and/or your heirs and assigns may be obligated to pay, under certain circumstances, a proportionate share of the construction and contract administration costs and expenses of the street and/or utility system improvement project described herein, which has been preliminarily determined to benefit your property. The proposed amount of your assessment is also enclosed with this notice.

Under the terms of BMC Chapter 3.05, you and/or your heirs and assigns may be obligated to pay such assessment if any development permits or approvals are issued for development on your property within ________ (__) years of the date the final reimbursement contract [or ordinance] establishing such area is recorded with the King County and/or Snohomish County department of records, provided such development would have required similar street or utility system improvements to obtain development approval. The term of this obligation may be extended in accordance with state law, in which case you would receive another notice of such action.

You have the right to object to the proposed reimbursement area and to the proposed assessment applied to your property. If you wish to do so, you must request a hearing before the Bothell city council within 20 days of the date of this notice. All objections and requests for hearing must be in writing and must be filed with the city clerk not later than twenty (20) days after the mailing date of this notice as stated above. The objection or request for hearing must contain your name, the address of your property within the proposed reimbursement area, and your tax lot number. If a hearing is held, you will be notified of the date, time, and place.

If the proposed reimbursement area and/or reimbursement contract [ordinance] is approved by the city council and executed by the parties, it will be recorded in the county records and will become binding on all properties and owners of record within the reimbursement area.

The mailing date of this notice is: ___________

(Ord. 2204 § 3, 2016; Ord. 2199 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016).

3.05.070 City council hearing and final action.

A.    Hearing Requested.

1.    If the owner of any property within the proposed assessment reimbursement area timely requests a hearing, notice of the hearing shall be given to all property owners within the reimbursement area by certified mail, return receipt requested, in addition to any other applicable notice requirements specified by city code. The cost of preparing and mailing the hearing notice shall be borne by the applicant.

2.    At the hearing, the city council shall take testimony from affected property owners and make a final determination concerning the reimbursement area boundaries, the amount of the reimbursement assessments, the length of time for which reimbursement shall be required, and shall adopt or authorize execution of appropriate documents.

3.    If the proposed reimbursement area boundaries and/or reimbursement assessments are altered by the council so as to raise any assessment appearing thereon, or to include omitted property, a new notice of reimbursement area boundaries and assessments shall be given in accordance with BMC 3.05.060; provided, that as to any property included in the original proposed reimbursement area which assessment has not been raised, no objections shall be considered by the council unless the objections were made in writing at or prior to the date fixed for the original hearing. The city council’s ruling shall be determinative and final.

B.    No Hearing Requested. If no hearing is timely requested, the proposed reimbursement contract or ordinance shall become final pursuant to its terms, if any, or the city council may consider and take final action at an open public meeting as desired or necessary. (Ord. 2204 § 4, 2016; Ord. 2199 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016).

3.05.080 Contract execution and recording.

A.    Reimbursement Contract. Within 30 days of the date a reimbursement contract becomes final in accordance with procedures above, the applicant shall execute and present such reimbursement contract to the city for signature by the appropriate city officials, and shall pay any remaining administrative costs and expenses.

B.    Reimbursement Area Ordinance. In the event the city is seeking to establish a reimbursement area pursuant to this chapter for its own work as allowed under Chapter 35.72 RCW, the city council shall adopt an ordinance setting forth the necessary and appropriate information required by this chapter, and the ordinance shall become effective per its terms.

C.    Within 30 days of the effective date of the ordinance or the execution date of the final reimbursement contract, as approved and executed in accordance with the foregoing procedures, the ordinance and/or reimbursement contract shall be recorded with the King County and/or Snohomish County departments of records against all the properties within the reimbursement area thereof.

D.    If the reimbursement contract or ordinance is so filed and recorded, it shall be binding on all properties and owners of record within the reimbursement assessment area. (Ord. 2199 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016).

3.05.090 Timing and method of payment.

Full payment of the reimbursement assessment by the owner of any property benefitted and included in the reimbursement area shall be made prior to approval of final inspection for any new development on the property benefitted. (Ord. 2232 § 1, 2017; Ord. 2199 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016).

3.05.100 City participation authorized.

A.    The city may participate in financing street and/or utility system improvement projects authorized, improved or constructed in accordance with this chapter as authorized under RCW 35.72.050. In that event, the city shall have the same rights to reimbursement as owners of real estate who make such improvements as authorized in this chapter, and the city will be entitled to a pro rata share of the reimbursement assessment based on the respective contribution of the owner(s) and the city.

B.    The city on its own initiative may perform street and/or utility system improvement projects authorized, improved or constructed in accordance with this chapter as authorized under RCW 35.72.050, and shall have the right to reimbursement as described therein. In such situation, the city shall take action by ordinance to establish the reimbursement area and reimbursement allocations. (Ord. 2199 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016).

3.05.110 Interpretation and consistency with state law.

This chapter shall be interpreted according to its terms; provided, that if an inconsistency between this chapter and state law arises, this chapter shall be interpreted in a manner that renders it not inconsistent with Chapters 35.72 and 35.91 RCW. (Ord. 2199 § 1 (Exh. A), 2016).