Chapter 15.14
STORMWATER UTILITY

Sections:

15.14.010    Purposes.

15.14.020    Definitions.

15.14.030    Monthly charges.

15.14.035    System development charges (SDC).

15.14.040    Billing and collection.

15.14.050    Nonpayment of bills.

15.14.060    Exemptions.

15.14.070    Appeal of rates or charges.

15.14.080    Severability.

15.14.010 Purposes.

The purposes of the stormwater utility fees charged in this chapter are to:

A. Set the monthly rate and conditions for the use of the city’s stormwater utility, established in Chapter 15.13 BLMC;

B. Ensure that stormwater utility monthly fee provides sufficient revenue to fund the cost of operating and maintaining the city stormwater system; and to fund the education, monitoring, testing and enforcement programs required by the NPDES permit;

C. Recognize that additional system development charges (SDC) will be needed to build new or improve existing city stormwater facilities that eliminate or minimize flooding and storm drainage problems caused by development, to prepare the stormwater element of the city’s comprehensive plan, and to ensure compliance with the city’s NPDES permit;

D. Ensure that owners of improved property within the city have dependable access to their property by virtue of the street drainage system functioning effectively;

E. In order to fairly allocate the costs of maintaining, operating and building the stormwater collection system (in compliance with federal, state, and local regulations), fees shall be based on the number of equivalent service units (ESUs) contained in a given parcel. Since each single-family residential parcel generates approximately the same amount of stormwater runoff, all developed and new single-family residential parcels shall pay a base rate of one ESU. Multifamily living units with a separate water meter per unit shall pay one ESU for each meter. All other non-single-family residential parcels shall pay a multiple of this base rate, expressed in ESUs, according to the measured impermeable area on the parcel. One ESU is deemed to be equivalent to 2,600 square feet of impermeable surface area. (Ord. 1394 § 1, 2011; Ord. 1065 § 1, 2004; Ord. 736 § 1, 1997).

15.14.020 Definitions.

A. “Commercial/multifamily customer” means any public or private parcel owner or occupant of property with usage other than single-family residential with any type of building improvements or paved areas greater than 120 square feet within the city of Bonney Lake.

B. “Impermeable surface” means a material through which water cannot pass, such as road and parking lot pavements, concrete pad/sidewalks/driveways, structures with roofs, and gravel covered areas.

C. “NPDES” means National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

D. “Parcel” means the smallest separately segregated unit or plot of land having an identified owner, boundaries and surface area which is documented for tax purposes and given a tax account number by the Pierce County assessor.

E. “Single-family residential customer” means any owner or occupant of single-family and duplex residences with any type of building improvements or paved areas greater than 120 square feet within the city of Bonney Lake.

F. “Qualifying stormwater facility” means a permitted, privately maintained facility located entirely within the subject property’s or development’s boundary, designed and constructed to collect, store, and control the rate of discharge of stormwater and melting snow from the subject property at a speed or capacity at or less than the rate stormwater would have been discharged from the property in its natural, unimproved state. Further, that such a facility shall be established, operated and maintained in accordance with all city ordinances.

G. “Vacant property” means any parcel with less than 120 square feet of building or other facilities. (Ord. 1394 § 1, 2011; Ord. 1065 § 2, 2004; Ord. 736 § 2, 1997).

15.14.030 Monthly charges.

Effective January 1, 2011, the following rates shall apply:

A. Single-Family Residential Customers. The monthly charge shall be $14.00 per month.

B. Commercial/Multifamily Customers. Multifamily living units with a separate water meter per unit shall be charged $14.00 per month for each water meter. All other multifamily and commercial customers shall be charged $14.00 per ESU per month.

C. Multiple Water Meters. Where more than one water meter exists on an individual parcel (i.e., shopping malls, multifamily housing, etc.) the parcel owner has the option of determining how to allocate the measured ESUs between the water meters. Where the property owner fails to provide this information in a timely manner, the city shall charge one ESU to each meter and the balance of the ESUs to one meter (usually the largest water meter). Property owners may change this allocation by notifying the city in writing.

D. Stormwater Detention/Infiltration Credit. Effective October 1, 2011, parcels, other than single-family residences, with a qualifying stormwater facility may receive a partial reduction of the monthly stormwater charge for that property. The percent of reduction shall be proportional to the percent of impermeable surface areas on the property from which stormwater is diverted into an on-site qualifying stormwater pond in lieu of allowing the stormwater to enter directly into the city’s storm drainage system. This credit may not exceed 30 percent of the rate otherwise charged.

Any property owner or designated representative requesting such credit shall: (1) provide, at no cost to the city, plans and calculations prepared by a professional engineer or architect detailing the flow of water from on-site impermeable surfaces into the qualifying stormwater facility; and (2) describe the maintenance program to be used in order to ensure that the stormwater facility will operate as designed and be maintained in accordance with city ordinances. Any credit may be revoked or suspended if it is determined that the stormwater facility is not operating as designed or is not being maintained in accordance with city ordinances.

In addition, the city shall provide a credit of 10 percent for any new or remodeled commercial building that utilizes a permissive rainwater harvesting system that is properly sized to utilize the available roof surface of the building. (Ord. 1394 § 1, 2011; Ord. 1203 § 1, 2006; Ord. 1139 § 1, 2005; Ord. 1065 § 3, 2004; Ord. 828 § 5, 1999; Ord. 736 § 3, 1997).

15.14.035 System development charges (SDC).

A. The stormwater SDC fee charged to all new development projects shall be $484.00 per ESU, effective January 1, 2019, payable at the time of building permitting.

B. Annual CCI Adjustment. Beginning January 1, 2012, and for every year thereafter, the SDC fee listed in this section shall be adjusted by the annual change in the most recent Engineering News Record (ENR) Construction Cost (CCI) for the Seattle area.

C. The charges set out in this section shall not be applicable to an accessory dwelling unit permitted pursuant to BLMC 18.22.090.

D. Stormwater SDC Exemption for City Facilities.

1. Existing City Facilities. When existing city facilities are expanded so as to increase the amount of impermeable surface area in city rights-of-way, parks, and other city facilities, those facilities shall be exempt from paying SDCs.

2. New City Facilities. New city facilities that support or expand the city’s stormwater utility shall be exempt from paying stormwater SDCs. (Ord. 1518 § 1, 2015; Ord. 1394 § 1, 2011; Ord. 1139 § 2, 2005).

Code reviser’s note: Effective January 1, 2019, the rates in this section have been updated pursuant to subsection B of this section, which permits this update without an adopting ordinance.

15.14.040 Billing and collection.

A. Stormwater charges shall be billed for each parcel within the city on a monthly basis.

B. The amount to be billed shall be included on the water/sewer/refuse bill as a separate line item. A “stormwater only” statement will be sent to those property owners who are not city water, refuse or sanitary sewer customers. The city shall bill the owner of the property for the payment of utility rates and charges specified in this chapter; however, the owner may have the bills mailed to a tenant or agent; provided, that this shall not relieve the owner of liability for stormwater utility rates and charges. (Ord. 1394 § 1, 2011; Ord. 736 § 4, 1997).

15.14.050 Nonpayment of bills.

A. Collection of and penalties for nonpayment of bills shall be according to the same penalties and collection procedures as provided in BLMC 13.04.080 and 13.04.090.

B. The city shall have the right to discontinue water service to any premises for nonpayment of the service charge for stormwater in the same manner and subject to the same terms as now or hereafter prescribed by law for discontinuance of water service for nonpayment of water bills; additionally, the city shall have the right to pursue the filing and foreclosure of a lien or liens in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, the Bonney Lake Municipal Code, and the laws of the state of Washington, for any unpaid and delinquent bills. (Ord. 1394 § 1, 2011; Ord. 736 § 5, 1997).

15.14.060 Exemptions.

Vacant property shall be exempt from the storm drainage monthly charge. (Ord. 1394 § 1, 2011; Ord. 736 § 6, 1997).

15.14.070 Appeal of rates or charges.

A. Appeal Submission. Any person or entity making a timely payment of the total utility bill charged by the city, and who considers the stormwater charges for a parcel to be unfair or inappropriate, may apply to the mayor or his or her designee for a rate adjustment, pay a deposit of 50 percent of the stormwater charges due, plus an appeal fee of $50.00, and state in writing the grounds for the appeal. The appeal shall state in writing any facts supporting the appeal and shall be made within 10 days of the decision, action, or bill being appealed. Any appeal based on a claim of inaccurate calculations shall be accompanied by scaled or computer aided design drawings and calculations that establish the amount of impermeable surface area. If the dispute is based on the amount of soil permeability, the appeal shall include results of permeability tests performed by a state licensed materials testing lab, and a map showing the location of each test. If the soil test results indicate permeability is less than 15 percent, the soil shall be determined to be impermeable for the purpose of calculating stormwater charges and fees. At the time the material is drawn from the soil, a city representative must be present to witness the test.

B. Appeal Review. Upon the filing of an appeal and satisfaction of the requirements of this subsection by an applicant, the mayor or designee shall form a review board which shall include at least one person familiar with stormwater calculations and one person familiar with utility billing. The review board shall review the documentation and make a recommendation to the mayor as to whether an adjustment should be granted. The review board may take into account the factors listed in RCW 35.67.020 regarding authority to fix utility rates and charges, and classify services and facilities.

In order to grant an adjustment, a finding must be made that:

1. Strict application of the fee structure is unreasonably burdensome in this particular appeal case as compared to neighbors or other citizens in the same billing class;

2. There are specific mitigating circumstances regarding the property that warrant an exception to the standard classification of stormwater rates and charges;

3. There are specific purposes listed in BLMC 15.14.010 that do not apply or are inappropriate for application to the property in question; or

4. Special conditions exist which are peculiar to the land, structure or building involved that are not applicable to other lands, buildings or structures in the same zone.

The mayor or designee shall decide the appeal within 10 days of when the appeal is filed. Filing shall not be considered complete until all required documentation is submitted and accepted by the city as complete. Appeal decisions establishing a credit or reducing the amount of impermeable surface area shall be applied only prospectively. (Ord. 1463 § 1, 2013; Ord. 1394 § 1, 2011; Ord. 1065 § 4, 2004; Ord. 736 § 7, 1997).

15.14.080 Severability.

The provisions of this chapter are declared to be separate and severable. The invalidity of any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or portion of this chapter, or the invalidity of the application thereof to any person or circumstance, shall not affect the validity of its application to other persons or circumstances. (Ord. 1394 § 1, 2011; Ord. 736 § 8, 1997).