Chapter 4.31
SPECIAL VALUATION FOR QUALIFYING HISTORIC PROPERTIES

Sections:

4.31.010    Purpose.

4.31.020    Definitions.

4.31.030    Eligibility.

4.31.040    Establishment of special valuation.

4.31.050    Special valuation criteria.

4.31.060    Application - fees.

4.31.070    Referral of application to the historic preservation commission.

4.31.080    Agreement.

4.31.090    Notice to assessor - certification and filing - notation.

4.31.100    Valuation.

4.31.110    Duration of special valuation - notice of disqualification.

4.31.120    Disqualification - additional tax - lien - exceptions.

4.31.130    Payment of additional tax - distribution.

4.31.140    Appeals from decisions under this chapter.

4.31.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to:

(1) Preserve and rehabilitate eligible historic properties within Snohomish County for future generations through special valuation, a property tax incentive, as provided in chapter 84.26 RCW and chapter 254-20 WAC;

(2) Safeguard the heritage of the county as represented by those buildings, sites, structures, objects and districts that reflect significant elements of county history;

(3) Foster civic pride in the beauty and accomplishments of the past, and a sense of identity with Snohomish County history;

(4) Stabilize and improve the aesthetic and economic vitality and values of such sites, improvements and objects; and

(5) Assist, encourage and provide incentives to private owners for preservation, restoration, rehabilitation and use of outstanding historic buildings, sites, structures, objects, and districts.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)

4.31.020 Definitions.

The following terms are defined by the state’s historic provisions in chapter 84.26 RCW and chapter 254-20 WAC and have special meaning in this chapter:

(1) "Actual cost of rehabilitation" means costs incurred within twenty-four months prior to the date of application for special valuation and directly resulting from one or more of the following:

(a) Improvements to an existing building located on or within the perimeters of the original structure;

(b) Improvements outside of, but directly attached to, the original structure that are necessary to make the building fully useable, but shall not include rentable/habitable floor space attributable to new construction;

(c) Architectural and engineering services attributable to the design of the improvements; or

(d) All costs defined as "qualified rehabilitation expenditures" for purposes of the federal historic preservation investment tax credit.

(2) "Certification of historic structure" is the process by which a determination is made that a structure within an historic district contributes to the significance of the historic district.

(3) "Commission" means the Snohomish County Historic Preservation Commission created by chapter 2.96 SCC.

(4) "Historic district" means historic property consisting of multiple buildings, structures, sites or objects located in proximity to one another and related in historic period or theme.

(5) "Historic property" means real property together with any improvements, except property listed in a register primarily for objects buried below ground, and is listed in the local register, certified by the United States Secretary of the Interior as provided in 16 U.S.C. 470, or listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

(6) "Local register" or "county register" means the Snohomish County Register of Historic Places created by chapter 30.32D SCC.

(7) "Local review board" as referenced in chapter 84.26 RCW and chapter 254-20 WAC for the special valuation of historic properties refers to the Snohomish County Historic Preservation Commission created in chapter 2.96 SCC.

(8) "Monitor" means to have the commission review proposed modification to properties listed on the local register in accordance with SCC 30.32D.080.

(9) "National Register of Historic Places" means the register maintained by the United States Secretary of the Interior composed of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects significant in American history, architectural history, archaeology, engineering, and culture.

(10) "Ordinary repair and maintenance" means work for which a permit issued by Snohomish County is not required by law, and where the purpose and effect of such work is to correct any deterioration or decay of, or damage to, the real property or structure appurtenances and to restore the same, as nearly as may be practicable, to the condition prior to the occurrence of such deterioration, decay, or damage.

(11) "Rehabilitation" means the process of returning a property to a state of utility through repair or alteration, that makes possible an efficient contemporary use while preserving those portions and features of the property and are significant to its architectural and cultural values.

(12) "Special valuation" means the determination of the assessed value of the historic property subtracting, for up to ten years, such cost as is approved by the commission.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)

4.31.030 Eligibility.

The following properties shall be eligible to apply for special valuation as set forth in chapter 84.26 RCW:

(1) Properties listed in the local or national registers. Listing of any building, structure, site, object or district in the local register is determined using the criteria set forth in SCC 30.32D.040; and

(2) Within historic districts, only certified historic structures may be included in the class of eligible historic property.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)

4.31.040 Establishment of special valuation.

A special valuation for historic properties is established and implemented as provided in chapter 84.26 RCW.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)

4.31.050 Special valuation criteria.

Four criteria must be met for special valuation under this chapter. The property must:

(1) Be an historic property;

(2) Fall within a class of historic property determined eligible for special valuation;

(3) Be rehabilitated at a cost that meets the definition set forth in RCW 84.26.020(2) within twenty-four months prior to the application for special valuation; and

(4) Be protected by an agreement between the owner and the commission as described in RCW 84.26.050(2) and WAC 254-20-120.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)

4.31.060 Application - fees.

An owner of property desiring special valuation under this chapter shall apply to the Snohomish County Assessor upon forms prescribed by the Washington State Department of Revenue and supplied by the assessor. The application form shall include a statement that the applicant is aware of the potential tax liability involved when the property ceases to be eligible for special valuation. Applications shall be made no later than October 1 of the calendar year preceding the first assessment year for which classification is requested. The assessor may charge only such fees as are necessary to process and record documents pursuant to this chapter.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)

4.31.070 Referral of application to the historic preservation commission.

(1) Within ten days after the filing of the application in the Snohomish County Assessor’s office, the county assessor shall refer each application for classification to the commission.

(2) The commission shall approve the application if the property meets the criteria contained in RCW 84.26.030 and is not altered in a way that adversely affects those elements that qualify it as historically significant, and the owner enters into an agreement with the commission that requires the owner for the ten-year period of the agreement to:

(a) Monitor the property for its continued qualification for the special valuation;

(b) Comply with rehabilitation plans and minimum standards of maintenance as defined in the agreement;

(c) Make the historic aspects of the property accessible to public view one day a year, if not visible from the public right of way;

(d) Apply to the commission for approval or denial of any demolition or alteration; and

(e) Comply with any other provisions in the original agreement as may be appropriate.

(3) Once an agreement between the owner and the commission has become effective pursuant to this chapter, there shall be no changes in standards of maintenance, public access, alteration, or report requirements, or any other provisions of the agreement during the period of the classification without the approval of all parties to the agreement.

(4) An application for classification as an eligible historic property shall be approved or denied by the commission before December 31 of the calendar year in which the application is timely made.

(5) The commission is authorized to examine the property records of applicants.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)

4.31.080 Agreement.

The historic preservation special valuation agreement contained in WAC 254-20-120 shall be used by the commission as the minimum agreement necessary to comply with the requirements of this chapter.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)

4.31.090 Notice to assessor - certification and filing - notation.

(1) The commission shall notify the assessor and the applicant of the approval or denial of the application.

(2) If the commission determines that the property qualifies as eligible historic property, the commission shall certify the fact in writing and shall file a copy of the certificate with the assessor within ten days of said determination. The certificate shall state the facts upon which the approval is based.

(3) The assessor shall record the certificate with the auditor.

(4) The assessor, as to any historic property, shall value the property under RCW 84.26.070 and, each year the historic property is classified and so valued, shall enter on the assessment list and tax roll that the property is being specially valued as historic property.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)

4.31.100 Valuation.

(1) The assessor shall, for ten consecutive assessment years following the calendar year in which application is made, place a special valuation on property classified as eligible historic property.

(2) The entitlement of property to the special valuation provisions of this section shall be determined as of January 1. If property becomes disqualified for the special valuation for any reason, the property shall receive the special valuation for that part of any year during which it remained qualified or the owner was acting in the good faith belief that the property was qualified.

(3) At the conclusion of special valuation, the cost of the rehabilitation shall be considered as new construction.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)

4.31.110 Duration of special valuation - notice of disqualification.

(1) When property has once been classified and valued as eligible historic property, it shall remain so classified and be granted the special valuation provided by this chapter for ten years or until the property is disqualified by:

(a) Notice by the owner to the assessor to remove the special valuation;

(b) Sale or transfer to an ownership making it exempt from property taxation; or

(c) Removal of the special valuation by the assessor upon determination by the commission that the property no longer qualifies as historic property or that the owner has failed to comply with the conditions established by this chapter.

(2) The sale or transfer to a new owner or transfer by reason of death of a former owner does not disqualify the property from the special valuation provided by RCW 84.26.070 if:

(a) The property continues to qualify as historic property; and

(b) The new owner files a notice of compliance with the Snohomish County Assessor. Notice of compliance forms prescribed by the Washington State Department of Revenue will be available from the assessor. The notice shall contain a statement that the new owner is aware of the special valuation and of the potential tax liability when the property ceases to be valued as historic property under this chapter. The signed notice of compliance shall be attached to the real estate excise tax affidavit provided for in RCW 82.45.150. If the notice of compliance is not signed by the new owner and attached to the real estate excise tax affidavit, all additional taxes calculated pursuant to RCW 84.26.090 shall become due and payable by the seller or transferor at time of sale. The auditor shall not accept an instrument of conveyance of specially valued historic property for filing or recording unless the new owner has signed the notice of compliance or the additional tax has been paid, as evidenced by the real estate excise tax stamp affixed by the treasurer.

(3) When the property ceases to qualify for the special valuation the owner shall immediately notify the commission.

(4) Before the additional tax or penalty imposed by RCW 84.26.090 is levied in the case of disqualification, the assessor shall notify the taxpayer by mail, return receipt requested, of the disqualification.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)

4.31.120 Disqualification - additional tax - lien - exceptions.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, whenever property classified and valued as eligible historic property under RCW 84.26.070 becomes disqualified for the valuation, there shall be added to the tax an additional tax equal to:

(a) The cost multiplied by the levy rate for each year in which the property was subject to special valuation; plus

(b) Interest on the amounts of the additional tax at the statutory rate charged on delinquent property taxes from the dates on which the additional tax could have been paid without penalty if the property had not been valued as historic property under this chapter; plus

(c) A penalty equal to twelve percent of the amount determined in (a) and (b) of this subsection.

(2) The additional tax and penalties, together with applicable interest shall become a lien on the property and shall have priority over and shall be fully paid and satisfied before any recognizance, mortgage, judgment, debt, obligation, or other responsibility that may be imposed upon the property.

(3) The additional tax, interest, and penalty shall not be imposed if the disqualification resulted solely from:

(a) Sale or transfer of the property to an ownership making it exempt from taxation;

(b) Alteration or destruction through no fault of the owner; or

(c) A taking through the exercise of the power of eminent domain.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)

4.31.130 Payment of additional tax - distribution.

The additional tax, penalties, and/or interest provided by RCW 84.26.090 shall be payable in full 30 days after the date on which the treasurer’s statement therefor is rendered. Such additional tax when collected shall be distributed by the county treasurer in the same manner in which current taxes applicable to the subject land are distributed.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)

4.31.140 Appeals from decisions under this chapter.

Any decision by the commission on an application for classification as historic property eligible for special valuation may be appealed directly to superior court under RCW 34.05.510 through 34.05.598. Any decision on the disqualification of historic property eligible for special valuation may be appealed to the county board of equalization.

(Added Amended Ord. 06-038, December 13, 2006, Eff date Jan. 5, 2007)