Chapter 13.95
LATECOMERS COST RECOVERY

Sections:

13.95.010    Cost recovery authorized.

13.95.015    Process.

13.95.020    Application.

13.95.030    County funding.

13.95.040    Determination of sufficiency and engineers report.

13.95.050    Ordinance content.

13.95.052    Council consideration of engineer’s report.

13.95.054    Notice of hearing.

13.95.056    Hearing--Ordinance.

13.95.060    Costs eligible for reimbursement.

13.95.070    Reimbursement assessments.

13.95.075    Appeal.

13.95.080    Owner-County contract.

13.95.090    Construction of improvements.

13.95.100    Reimbursement to owners and the county.

13.95.110    Effect of annexation.

13.95.900    Severability.

13.95.910    Effective date.

13.95.010 Cost recovery authorized.

In accordance with Chapter 35.72 RCW and the provisions of this chapter, the council may form an assessment reimbursement area and contract for the reimbursement to the county road fund and/or the owner the costs of county road improvements required as a prerequisite to further property development. Assessment reimbursement area procedures in this chapter may be initiated by the engineer on his/her own initiative.

(Added Ord. 87-011, § 3, April 15, 1987; Amended Ord. 90-068, § 1, November 14, 1990; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 72, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.015 Process.

When the engineer has determined that an application to establish an assessment reimbursement area is sufficient based on the criteria contained within Section 13.95.040, or has determined that an assessment reimbursement area should be established to reimburse the county road fund, he/she shall prepare an ordinance for consideration by the council establishing an assessment reimbursement area. The ordinance shall be accompanied by supporting exhibits consisting of:

(1) Where applicable, a complete application as specified in Section 13.95.020 SCC;

(2) An engineer’s report with contents as specified in Section 13.95.040 SCC;

(3) An exhibit describing the proposed improvements;

(4) An exhibit detailing the costs eligible for reimbursement under chapter 13.95 SCC;

(5) A list of affected property owners within the assessment reimbursement area;

(6) A notice of public hearing as specified in Section 13.95.056 SCC;

(7) A draft of the owner-county contract as specified in Section 13.95.080 SCC;

(8) An informational letter to property owners including a description of the area boundaries and assessments and further describing each property owners rights and options;

(9) An estimate of certified and other mailing costs necessary to properly notify all affected property owners in accordance with Section 13.95.054 SCC;

(10) An itemized list of costs and expenses (other than the mailing costs described above) incurred in the examination and report of the assessment reimbursement area;

(11) Any exhibits and other documentation deemed necessary by the engineer to adequately explain the proposed ordinance.

(Added Ord. 90-068, § 2, November 28, 1990; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 73, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.020 Application.

Where county code requires public road improvements as a prerequisite to development, an owner may apply, upon forms prescribed by the department, for the establishment of an assessment reimbursement area. An application, with requisite attachments, shall be filed with the department. The application shall include:

(1) A detailed description of the owner’s development proposal;

(2) A detailed description of the county road improvements which will be installed by the owner;

(3) An estimate of the cost of the improvement(s);

(4) A map showing the preliminary area boundaries for the specific properties the owner believes to be benefited properties in that they would require similar road improvements or road impact mitigation as a result of development;

(5) A list containing the tax account number and the names and addresses of each owner of record, contract seller and contract purchaser and mortgagee, if any, of each ownership of property as shown on the tax rolls of the county treasurer within the proposed reimbursement area;

(6) A statement of the estimated amount of benefit to be received by each property owner within the assessment reimbursement area, the estimated amount which should be assessed against each ownership based upon such benefits, and the bases for calculating such pro rata share of the assessment reimbursement to be paid upon development by the owner of each lot, tract or parcel within the proposed assessment reimbursement area;

(7) A statement of the period, not to exceed 15 years, for which pro rata share reimbursement will be required;

(8) An application fee in the amount specified in chapter 13.110 SCC.

(Added Ord. 87-011, § 4, April 15, 1987; Amended Ord. 90-068, § 3, November 14, 1990; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 74, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.030 County funding.

The county may participate in funding improvements specified in this chapter. The engineer may initiate a request to the council for establishment of a reimbursement area. The engineer may also request the council to include county funding in an owner-initiated reimbursement area. The engineer will consider the general benefit, county-wide priority of the proposed road improvements, and the impacts of possible assessments upon benefited properties in considering whether or not to request county participation in funding.

(Added Ord. 87-011, § 5, April 15, 1987; Amended Ord. 90-068, § 4, November 14, 1990; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 75, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.040 Determination of sufficiency and engineers report.

(1) Upon receiving an application for establishment of an assessment reimbursement area, the engineer shall determine the sufficiency of the application for establishment of an assessment reimbursement area using the following criteria:

(a) Whether the application contains and addresses all of the elements contained in Section 13.95.020;

(b) The level of development existing or immediately proposed in the assessment reimbursement area;

(c) The benefit to owners of undeveloped, or underdeveloped, properties compared to the pro rata share of projected costs to be assessed to that property, and the impacts of assessments upon such properties;

(d) The existing and projected level of service and/or adequacy of the county roads involved;

(e) The condition of the roads to be improved;

(f) Whether or not further development can occur without roadway improvements.

(2) When after examination the engineer finds an application for an assessment reimbursement area to not be sufficient, he/she may report to the council without preparing an ordinance and other attachments in accordance with Section 13.95.015 SCC. When after examination the engineer finds an application for an assessment reimbursement area to be sufficient, or determines that an assessment reimbursement area should be established to reimburse the county road fund he/she shall report to the council on the following:

(a) The benefits to be received by the property owners within the assessment reimbursement area assuming such property owners would be required to make similar improvements or provide equivalent mitigation of traffic impacts if they developed their property;

(b) The estimated cost, and the method of calculating such cost, to be reimbursed upon development by the owner of each lot, tract or parcel within the assessment reimbursement area;

(c) A recommendation on whether the application is sufficient for council establishment of an assessment reimbursement area.

(Added Ord. 87-011, § 6, April 15, 1987; Amended Ord. 90-068, § 5, November 14, 1990; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 76, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.050 Ordinance content.

The ordinance prepared by the engineer for establishment of the proposed assessment reimbursement area shall:

(1) Define the improvements for which reimbursements are to be made;

(2) Designate each reimbursement area by a separate number;

(3) Describe the specific boundary of the assessment reimbursement area;

(4) Define the estimated cost of the improvement and the estimated contribution thereto, if any, to be made by the county;

(5) Define what share of costs will be paid by each property ownership using a method of cost apportionment which is based upon the benefit to the property owner from the improvement(s);

(6) Define when and how reimbursements are to be paid;

(7) Define the conditions of participation by and reimbursement to the county and owner involved in financing the county road improvements;

(8) Define any participation by the Washington State Department of Transportation provided it has entered into an agreement with the county concerning state participation.

(Added Ord. 87-011, § 7, April 15, 1987; Amended Ord. 90-068, § 6, November 14, 1990; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 77, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.052 Council consideration of engineer’s report.

The council, after reviewing the engineer’s report as specified in Section 13.95.040 SCC, may at regular council work session reject a request for establishment of an assessment reimbursement area without holding a public hearing, or if the council determines that a request for establishment of an assessment reimbursement area should be given further consideration, based on the criteria contained in Section 13.95.040(1), it may modify and/or introduce the ordinance and set a public hearing for action on the report and proposed ordinance.

(Added Ord. 96-028, § 78, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.054 Notice of hearing.

Notice of the hearing shall be published by the council in the county official newspaper no less than ten days before the date of the hearing. In addition, the council may publish in a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the assessment reimbursement area a similar notice.

A notice of hearing shall be given each owner of record of each lot, tract, or parcel of land or other property within the proposed reimbursement assessment area by mailing by certified mail, said notice to each owner as shown on the tax rolls of the county treasurer. The notice of hearing shall be mailed not less than twenty days before the date of the hearing.

All notices shall refer to the proposed ordinance and designate the proposed assessment reimbursement area by number and include the following:

(1) The preliminary determination of the area boundaries and assessments;

(2) The nature of the proposed county road improvement(s);

(3) The total estimated cost of the county road improvement(s) and the estimated portion, if any, to be made by the county. The cost to be borne by the county shall be broken down into that portion, if any, to be borne by the county for improvements that benefit the general public for which the county shall not be reimbursed, and that portion, if any, that will be borne by the county for improvements that benefit that portion of the public who will use the developments within the assessment reimbursement area for which the county shall be reimbursed;

(4) A description of the property owners’ rights and options;

(5) The proportion of the total cost to be borne by reimbursement assessments;

(6) The estimated amount of the cost and expense of such improvement to be borne by the particular lot, tract or parcel, and the time period for which reimbursement may be required which shall not exceed fifteen years;

(7) The time, date, and place of the hearing before the council.

(Added Ord. 96-028, § 79, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.056 Hearing--Ordinance.

On the day fixed for the hearing the council will consider the engineer’s report together with any evidence for or any objection against the desirability and the sufficiency of the proposed assessment reimbursement area and methods of calculating reimbursement assessments and the amounts thereof. The council may continue the hearing to allow for further information to be provided. When the council has determined that adequate information has been provided, it shall close public testimony and take action on the ordinance establishing an assessment reimbursement area.

(Added Ord. 96-028, § 80, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.060 Costs eligible for reimbursement.

Regardless of the council’s decision to establish or not to establish the assessment reimbursement area, the applicant shall pay to the county road fund, upon request, the itemized costs and expenses detailed in SCC 13.95.015(9) and (10), also identified as the permit fee under SCC 13.110.010(2)(b). If the council determines to establish the assessment reimbursement area, the council may provide for the reimbursement of all or part of the costs advanced by the county road fund or the owner or owner’s assigns for a county road improvement project, including:

(1) The cost of all the construction or improvement authorized, including that portion of the construction or improvement within the limits of any existing right-of-way;

(2) The estimated costs and expenses of all engineering and surveying necessary;

(3) All costs of acquiring necessary rights-of-way;

(4) The cost of all advertising, mailing, publishing of notices and other itemized costs and expenses detailed in SCC 13.95.015(10), also identified as the permit fee under SCC 13.110.010 (2)(b);

(5) The cost of legal services and any other expenses incurred by the county in connection with such construction or improvement and in the financing thereof, including the issuance of any bonds;

(6) County costs of administering the fund.

(Added Ord. 87-011, § 8, April 15, 1987; Amended Ord. 90-068, § 7, November 14, 1990; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 81, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.070 Reimbursement assessments.

(1) Any reimbursement assessment shall be a pro rata share of costs of construction and contract administration of the improvement. The reimbursement share shall be determined by using a method of cost apportionment which is based upon the benefit to the property owner from the project.

(2) A separate account shall be established for each assessment reimbursement area.

(3) No assessment reimbursement shall become payable to the owner or county under the assessment reimbursement contract until the property assessed is subject to development as defined in this title; and the ordinance forming the area shall provide that payment of the assessment by the ordinance is a condition of the issuance of any permit or approval of development of the property assessed. Assessment reimbursement contracts filed for record in the Snohomish County auditor’s office within 30 days of the final execution of the ordinance forming the assessment reimbursement area shall be binding on all owners of record within the assessment reimbursement area who are not party to the assessment reimbursement contract for the duration of the assessment reimbursement contract which may not exceed 15 years. The department of planning and development services is hereby designated to collect assessments under this chapter. The department of finance is hereby designated to reimburse assessments under this chapter.

(4) If the actual costs of the project are less than the cost base utilized in determining assessments, assessments shall be adjusted downward to reflect actual costs. If the costs of the project are more than the cost utilized in determining assessments, the owner shall be responsible for payment of such excess with no reimbursement to be provided for the excess.

(Added Ord. 87-011, § 9, April 15, 1987; Amended Ord. 90-068, § 8, November 14, 1990; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 82, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.075 Appeal.

(1) After the adoption of an ordinance establishing an assessment reimbursement area, any owner of property contributing funds for the construction of road improvements subject to cost reimbursement under chapter 13.95 SCC or any owner of property within the boundaries of the assessment reimbursement area may file a written notice of appeal with the engineer based upon one or more of the following criteria:

(a) an error occurred in calculating the appellant’s pro rata share of the costs of the road improvement project; or

(b) an inadvertent or clerical error exists in the legal description of the boundary of the assessment reimbursement area which has the effect of including real property within or excluding real property from the assessment reimbursement area that should not have been included or excluded.

The burden of proof shall be upon the appellant and the notice of appeal shall identify and contain all information and/or documentation relied upon by the appellant to support the appeal.

(2) The engineer shall make a preliminary determination as to whether there is sufficient information or documentation contained in the notice of appeal upon which to make a decision. If not, the engineer shall promptly notify the appellant in writing of the deficiency and request additional information or documentation. The engineer shall not make a decision on the appeal until such additional information or documentation is provided by the appellant, or a response has been received from the appellant indicating that the appellant has no further information or documentation to support the appeal. If no response is received from the appellant within 60 days from the date of mailing the notice of deficiency, the appeal shall be deemed to have been abandoned by the appellant and no further action shall be taken by the engineer.

(3) The engineer shall make a decision on the appeal within 45 days after receipt of sufficient information or documentation to make a decision on the appeal. Notice of the engineer’s decision shall be provided the appellant by certified mail.

(4) If the appeal is denied by the engineer, the decision is binding and final. If the engineer determines that grounds exist for granting the appeal, the engineer shall prepare an ordinance for consideration by the council amending appropriate provisions of the ordinance establishing the assessment reimbursement area and/or the final assessment roll. The proposed ordinance shall be forwarded to the council with a recommendation from the engineer.

(5) The appeal shall be processed in accordance with SCC 13.95.052, SCC 13.95.054, and SCC 13.95.056. The council decision on whether to adopt the ordinance amending the assessment reimbursement area and/or final assessment roll is a discretionary legislative act.

(6) If the council adopts an ordinance amending the assessment reimbursement area and/or final assessment roll, such action shall relate back to the date on which the original ordinance establishing the assessment reimbursement area became effective. The amending ordinance shall have no effect on the running of the 15-year period set out in RCW 35.72.020.

(7) This section shall only apply to assessment reimbursement areas established by ordinance that take effect after July 1, 1996.

(Added Ord. 96-028, § 84, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.080 Owner-County contract.

(1) Subsequent to the adoption of an ordinance forming an assessment reimbursement area the owner or owners contributing funds for the project shall agree in a signed contract for contribution of funds, construction, improvement, costs, assessment, reimbursement, administration costs, and other conditions, on a form approved by the county. The contract shall provide that the owner or owners agree to the reimbursement assessments and the assessment reimbursement area determined by the council as provided in the contract. Owner-county contracts provided for in an assessment reimbursement area ordinance shall be approved and executed on behalf of the county by the county executive.

(2) The final contract, including the assessment reimbursement area and assessment roll, shall be recorded in the county auditor’s office within 30 days of the effective date of the ordinance forming the area. If the contract is so recorded, it shall then be binding on owners of record within the assessment area who are not parties to the contract for a period not to exceed fifteen years after the contract is recorded.

(3) The engineer shall mail a copy of the contract to each owner of record of property within the assessment reimbursement area.

(4) In the event that an owner or owners who are party to a reimbursement contract sell the property the reimbursements shall be paid to said owner or owners and not their successors unless the right to the reimbursements is assigned by said owner or owners are otherwise transferred by operation of law.

(Added Ord. 87-011, § 10, April 15, 1987; Amended Ord. 90-068, § 9, November 14, 1990; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 83, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.090 Construction of improvements.

The improvements for which reimbursement is sought must be constructed after July 1, 1987, and, with written permission of the engineer, may be constructed before or after the effective date of the ordinance forming the assessment reimbursement area. If the county is to be a participant, no construction shall be undertaken by the county until the county receives guarantees, security or assurances acceptable to the engineer that the owner will contribute costs, and contract for or otherwise provide or pay for improvements as required in the reimbursement contract.

The owner and his property shall be responsible for performance of all his obligations under the contract and completion of construction of the project except where undertaken by the county. All records supporting expenditures and payment therefor shall be submitted to the engineer for review and filing. The engineer may verify costs and payments as necessary to assure their accuracy.

Any work done by the county shall be done by competitive bidding as provided in chapter 3.04 SCC. All work shall comply with Title 13 SCC, and all other applicable laws. No extensions of time to complete the owner’s obligations under the owner-county contract will be granted, except as provided in said contract. If an owner fails to complete construction, contribute its share of costs, or otherwise fails to perform any of its other obligations as provided by its owner-county contract, the engineer shall, after giving the owner 30 days notice to cure such breach, declare the owner-county contract terminated.

All obligations to pay assessments for any owner costs shall thereupon cease upon termination by the engineer, and the engineer shall file with the county auditor a notice that the owner-county contract has been terminated and that all assessments to reimburse the owner are abated.

(Added Ord. 87-011, § 11, April 15, 1987; Amended Ord. 90-068, § 10, November 14, 1990; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 85, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.95.100 Reimbursement to owners and the county.

Owners who have followed all of the procedures of this chapter and entered into a contract may be reimbursed a share of the costs which they incurred in constructing the road improvements. Such reimbursement shall be made as provided in the contract entered into pursuant to SCC 13.95.080. Reimbursement for costs advanced by the county shall be provided for in said contract and returned to the county road fund.

(Added Ord. 87-011, § 12, April 15, 1987; Amended Ord. 90-068, § 11, November 14, 1990).

13.95.110 Effect of annexation.

Annexation to a city or town of all or a portion of an assessment reimbursement area shall not affect liability for assessment charge of properties so annexed nor responsibilities of an owner under the contract. If any property of the owner is annexed by a city or town prior to completion of construction, all responsibility of the county with respect to portions of the property not constructed shall cease unless a supplemental agreement is made with the annexing city or town assuring reimbursement of county funds expended on the project.

(Added Ord. 87-011, § 13, April 15, 1987; Amended Ord. 90-068, § 12, November 14, 1990).

13.95.900 Severability.

If any portion of this chapter or its applicability to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the remainder of the act and the application of the provisions to other persons or circumstances is not affected.

(Added Ord. 87-011, § 14, April 15, 1987).

13.95.910 Effective date.

This chapter shall take effect on February 9, 1991.

(Added Ord. 87-011, § 15, April 15, 1987; Amended Ord. 90-068, § 13, November 14, 1990).