Chapter 19.92


19.92.010    Title.

19.92.020    Purpose and intent.

19.92.030    Findings and authority.

19.92.040    Definitions.

19.92.050    Park impact fee methodology.

19.92.060    Assessment of impact fees.

19.92.070    Independent fee calculations.

19.92.080    Exemptions.

19.92.090    Credits.

19.92.100    Establishment of park impact fee accounts.

19.92.110    Administrative guidelines.

19.92.120    Refunds.

19.92.130    Use of park impact fees.

19.92.140    Administrative fees.

19.92.150    Appeals.

19.92.160    Existing authority unimpaired.

19.92.010 Title.

This chapter shall be hereinafter known as the city of Federal Way park impact fee (PIF).

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.020 Purpose and intent.

The purpose and intent of this chapter is for the collection of impact fees for public parks, open space, and recreation facilities, and providing for certain other matters in connection therewith.

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.030 Findings and authority.

The city council of the city of Federal Way hereby finds and determines that development activities, including but not limited to new residential, commercial, retail, office, and industrial development, in the city of Federal Way will create additional demand and need for public facilities in the city, and the council finds that such new growth and development should pay a proportionate share of the cost of new facilities needed to serve the new growth and development. The city of Federal Way has conducted extensive research and analysis documenting the procedures for measuring the impact of new developments on public facilities, has prepared the “Park Impact Fee Study, City of Federal Way” dated May 2023 (“PIF study”), and incorporates that PIF study into this title by this reference. The PIF study utilizes a methodology for calculating impact fees that fulfills all of the requirements of RCW 82.02.060(1). A copy of the PIF study shall be kept on file with the city clerk and is available to the public for review. Therefore, pursuant to Chapter 82.02 RCW, the council adopts this chapter to assess impact fees for publicly owned parks, open space, and recreation facilities. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed in order to carry out the purposes of the council in establishing the impact fee program.

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.040 Definitions.

The following words and terms shall have the following meanings for the purposes of this chapter, unless the context clearly requires otherwise. Terms otherwise not defined herein shall be defined pursuant to RCW 82.02.090, or given their usual and customary meaning.

“Applicant” means a person who applies for a building permit under Chapter 19.20 FWRC and who is the owner of the subject property or the authorized agent of the property owner.

“Building permit” means an official document or certification which is issued by the building official and which authorizes the construction, alteration, enlargement, conversion, reconstruction, remodeling, rehabilitation, erection, demolition, moving, or repair of a building or structure.

“Capital facilities plan” means the capital facilities element of the city’s comprehensive plan adopted pursuant to Chapter 36.70A RCW and such plan as amended.

“Council” means the city council of the city of Federal Way.

“Development activity” means any work, condition, or activity which requires a permit or approval under the city’s subdivision, zoning, or building code. Exempt permits are set forth in FWRC 19.92.080.

“Development approval” means any written authorization from the city of Federal Way which authorizes the commencement of a development activity or use.

“Encumber” means to reserve, set aside, or otherwise earmark the park impact fees in order to pay for commitments, contractual obligations, or other liabilities incurred for system improvements.

“Feepayer” means a person, corporation, partnership, an incorporated association, or any other similar entity, or department or bureau of any governmental entity or municipal corporation commencing a development activity which creates the demand for additional system improvements and which requires the issuance of a building permit or a permit for a change of use. Feepayer includes an applicant for a park impact fee credit.

“Impact fee schedule” means the table of impact fees to be charged per unit of development, computed by the formula adopted under this chapter, indicating the standard fee amount per dwelling unit or per commercial development that shall be paid as a condition of development within the city.

“Independent fee calculation” means the park impact fee calculation prepared by a feepayer to support the assessment of a park impact fee other than by the use of the rate study, or the calculations prepared by the parks director where none of the fee categories or fee amounts in the impact fee schedule accurately describe or capture the impacts of the development activity on public facilities.

“Owner” means the owner of record of real property, although when real property is being purchased under a real estate contract, the purchaser shall be considered the owner of the real property if the contract is recorded.

“Park” means public parks, open space, trails, recreation facilities, and related appurtenances.

“Park impact fee” means a payment of money imposed by the city of Federal Way on development activity pursuant to this chapter as a condition of granting development approval. Park impact fee does not include a reasonable permit fee, an application fee, the administrative fee for collecting and handling impact fees, or the cost of reviewing independent fee calculations.

“Park impact fee account(s)” means the separate accounting structure(s) within the city’s established accounts, which structure(s) shall identify separately earmarked funds and which shall be established for the park impact fees that are collected. The account(s) shall comply with the requirements of RCW 82.02.070.

“Permit for change of use” or “change of use permit” means an official document which is issued by the city which authorizes a change of use of an existing building or structure or land.

“PIF study” means the “Park Impact Fee Study, City of Federal Way,” dated May 2023, and attached to the ordinance codified in this chapter, and as hereafter amended.

“Project improvements” means site improvements and facilities that are planned and designed to provide service for a particular development project, are necessary for the use and convenience of the occupants or users of the project, and are not system improvements. No improvement or facility included in a capital facilities plan adopted by the council shall be considered a project improvement.

“Public facilities,” for purposes of this chapter, means the following capital facilities owned or operated by the city of Federal Way or other governmental entities: parks, open space, trails, or recreational facilities.

“System improvements,” for purposes of this chapter, means public park facilities that are included in the city of Federal Way’s capital facilities plan, and such plan as amended, and are designed to provide service to the community at large, in contrast to project improvements.

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.050 Park impact fee methodology.

(1) The impact fee calculation is based on the PIF study attached to the ordinance codified in this chapter and by this reference fully incorporated herein. The actual park impact fee imposed shall be as set forth in the park impact fee section of the current impact fee schedule as adopted by council.

(2) Each development shall mitigate its impacts on the city’s parks facilities by payment of a fee that is based on the type of land use of the development and proportionate to the cost of the parks facility improvements necessary to serve the needs of growth. For residential development, the fee amount is based on number and type of dwelling units; for commercial development, the fee is based on land use and square footage of the development.

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.060 Assessment of impact fees.

(1) The city shall collect park impact fees from applicants seeking development approvals from the city for any development activity in the city for which a building permit or change of use permit is required, consistent with the provisions of this chapter.

(2) When a park impact fee applies to a change of use permit, the park impact fee shall be assessed for the land use category of the new use under the PIF study, less any park impact fee that would have been assessed for the prior use under the PIF study. For purposes of this provision, a change of use should be reviewed based on the land use category provided in the PIF study that best captures the broader use of the property under development.

(3) For commercial developments, the actual impact fee assessed in the impact fee schedule may not exceed $0.00 through December 31, 2029.

(4) For mixed use developments, park impact fees shall be assessed for the proportionate share of each land use, based on the applicable measurement in the PIF study.

(5) Park impact fees shall be determined at the time of the earliest complete application for a development approval required for the development activity using the impact fee schedule then in effect and shall be collected when each building permit or change of use permit triggering assessment of park impact fees is issued. Notwithstanding the foregoing, for all building permits or change of use permits that trigger assessment of park impact fees and are associated with the development activity, but are not issued within two years of the earliest complete application for a development approval applicable to the development activity, the total amount of the impact fees for such permits shall instead be calculated and collected at the time each permit is issued, using the impact fee schedule then in effect. Park impact fees shall be paid before the building permit or change of use permit is issued by the city.

(6) No less than 60 days prior to the end of the two-year period in subsection (5) of this section, an applicant may submit a written request with supporting documentation to the department of community development requesting an extension of the two-year period for up to one additional year. The community development director may approve such a request only if it meets the following criteria:

(a) The applicant has made substantial progress toward building permit or change of use permit issuance since the complete application for the development approval;

(b) There are circumstances beyond the applicant’s control which prevented issuance of the building permit or change of use permit; and

(c) The extension will not create or continue conditions that constitute a code violation or an attractive nuisance, contribute to erosion and sedimentation problems, or impact the public health, safety, and welfare.

Determinations of the community development director under this section shall be subject to the appeals procedures set forth in FWRC 19.92.150(4).

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.070 Independent fee calculations.

(1) If, in the judgment of the parks director, none of the fee categories or fee amounts set forth in the impact fee schedule accurately describes or captures the impacts of a new development on parks, the parks department may conduct independent fee calculations and the parks director may impose alternative fees on a specific development based on those calculations. The alternative fees and the calculations shall be set forth in writing and sent to the feepayer. Pursuant to RCW 82.02.060, where unusual circumstances are identified by the parks director, the standard fee may be adjusted in specific cases to ensure that impact fees are imposed fairly.

(2) There is a rebuttable presumption that the calculations set forth in the PIF study are valid. In calculating the fee imposed on a particular development, the city shall permit consideration of studies and data submitted by a feepayer in order to adjust the amount of the fee. The feepayer shall submit an independent fee calculation study to the parks director, who shall review the study to determine that the study:

(a) Is based on accepted impact fee assessment practices and methodologies;

(b) Uses acceptable data sources and the data used is comparable with the uses and intensities planned for the proposed development activity;

(c) Complies with the applicable state laws governing impact fees;

(d) Is prepared and documented by professionals who are mutually agreeable to the city and the feepayer and who are qualified in their respective fields; and

(e) Shows the basis upon which the independent fee calculation was made.

(3) In reviewing the study, the parks director may require the feepayer to submit additional or different documentation. If an acceptable study is presented, the parks director may adjust the fee for the particular development activity. The parks director shall consider the documentation submitted by the applicant, but is not required to accept such documentation that the parks director reasonably deems to be inaccurate or unreliable.

(4) A feepayer requesting an adjustment or independent fee calculation may pay the impact fees imposed by this chapter in order to obtain a building permit while the city determines whether to partially reimburse the feepayer by making an adjustment or by accepting the independent fee calculation.

(5) Any feepayer submitting an independent fee calculation will be required to pay a fee to cover the cost of reviewing the independent fee calculation. The fee required by the city for conducting the review of the independent fee calculation shall be set by council resolution, and shall be paid by the feepayer prior to issuance of the parks director’s determination.

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.080 Exemptions.

(1) The park impact fees are generated from the formula for calculating the fees set forth in this chapter. The amount of the impact fees is determined by the information contained in the adopted park and open space plan, park project list, and related documents, as appended to the city’s comprehensive plan. All development activity located within the city shall be charged a park impact fee; provided, that the following exemptions apply.

(2) The following shall be exempt from parks impact fees:

(a) Replacement of a structure with a new structure having the same use, at the same site, and with the same gross floor area, when such replacement is within 12 months of demolition or destruction of the previous structure.

(b) Alteration, expansion, or remodeling of an existing residential dwelling or structure where no new units are created and the use is not changed.

(c) Demolition of existing structures.

(d) Moving an existing structure within the city from one site to another.

(e) A development permit for a change of use that has less impact than the existing use.

(f) Building permits that do not result in an increased impact on parks.

(g) Minor changes in tenancies that are consistent with the general character of the included structure, building, or previous use.

(3) The community development director shall be authorized to determine whether a particular development activity falls within an exemption identified in this section. Determinations of the community development director shall be subject to the appeals procedures set forth in FWRC 19.92.150(4).

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.090 Credits.

(1) A feepayer can request that a credit or credits for parks and recreation impact fees be awarded to them for parks and recreation improvement projects provided by the feepayer in excess of the standard requirements for the feepayer’s development if the land, improvements, and/or the facility constructed are identified as parks and recreation system improvements that provide capacity to serve new growth in the capital facilities plan, or the parks director, at their discretion, makes the finding that such land, improvements, and/or facilities would serve the parks and recreation goals and objectives of the capital facilities plan.

(2) For each request for a credit or credits, the parks director shall determine the value of dedicated land by using available documentation or selecting an appraiser from a list of independent appraisers maintained by the parks department to determine the value of the land being dedicated. The value of improvements will be determined through documentation submitted by the feepayer.

(3) The feepayer shall pay the cost of the appraisal and shall deposit on account the estimated cost of the appraisal as determined by the city at the time the feepayer requests consideration for a credit.

(4) After receiving the appraisal, the parks director shall provide the applicant with a letter or certificate setting forth the dollar amount of the credit, the reason for the credit, where applicable, the legal description of the site donated, and the legal description or other adequate description of the project or development to which the credit may be applied. The applicant must sign and date a duplicate copy of such letter or certificate indicating their agreement to the terms of the letter or certificate and return such signed document to the parks director before the impact fee credit will be awarded. The failure of the applicant to sign, date, and return such document within 60 days shall nullify the credit.

(5) Any claim for credit must be made no later than the time of application for a building permit. Any claim not so made shall be deemed waived.

(6) Determinations made by the parks director pursuant to this section shall be subject to the appeals procedures set forth in FWRC 19.92.150(4).

(7) Pursuant to and consistent with the requirements of RCW 82.02.060, the fee rate in the impact fee schedule has been reasonably adjusted for other revenue sources which are earmarked for, or proratable to, funding parks and recreation facilities.

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.100 Establishment of park impact fee accounts.

(1) Park impact fee receipts shall be earmarked specifically and deposited in one or more special, interest-bearing accounts.

(2) The city shall establish one or more separate park impact fee accounts for the fees collected pursuant to this chapter. Funds withdrawn from the account or accounts must be used in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and applicable state law. Interest earned on the fees shall be retained in the account(s) and expended for the purposes for which the park impact fees were collected.

(3) On an annual basis, the finance director shall provide a report to the council on the park impact fee account showing the source and amount of all moneys collected, earned, or received, and the parks and recreation system improvements that were financed in whole or in part by impact fees.

(4) Impact fees shall be expended or encumbered within 10 years of receipt, unless the council identifies in written findings an extraordinary and compelling reason or reasons for the delay.

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.110 Administrative guidelines.

The parks and community development directors are hereby authorized to adopt internal guidelines for the administration of park impact fees, which include the adoption of procedural rules.

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.120 Refunds.

(1) If the city fails to expend or encumber the park impact fees within 10 years of the date the fees were paid, unless extraordinary or compelling reasons are established pursuant to FWRC 19.92.130, the current owner of the property on which park impact fees have been paid may receive a refund of such fees. In determining whether park impact fees have been expended or encumbered, park impact fees shall be considered expended or encumbered on a first-in, first-out basis.

(2) The city shall notify potential claimants by first class mail deposited with the United States Postal Service at the last known address of such claimants. A potential claimant must be the current owner of record of the real property against which the park impact fee was assessed.

(3) Owners seeking a refund of park impact fees must submit a written request for a refund of the fees to the parks director within one year of the date the right to claim the refund arises or the date that notice is given, whichever is later.

(4) Any park impact fees for which no application for a refund has been made within this one-year period shall be retained by the city and expended on the system improvements for which they were collected.

(5) Refunds of park impact fees or offsets against subsequent park impact fees under this section shall include any interest earned on the park impact fees by the city.

(6) When the city seeks to terminate any or all components of the park impact fee program, all unexpended or unencumbered funds from any terminated component or components, including interest earned, shall be refunded pursuant to this section. Upon the finding that any or all fee requirements are to be terminated, the city shall place notice of such termination and the availability of refunds in a newspaper of general circulation at least two times and shall notify all potential claimants by first class mail at the last known address of the claimant. All funds available for refund shall be retained for a period of one year. At the end of one year, any remaining funds shall be retained by the city, but must be expended for the public facilities for which the park impact fees were collected. This notice requirement shall not apply if there are no unexpended or unencumbered balances within the account or accounts being terminated.

(7) The city shall also refund to the current owner of property for which park impact fees have been paid, all park impact fees paid including interest earned on the park impact fees, if the development activity for which the park impact fees were imposed did not occur; provided, however, that if the city has expended or encumbered the park impact fees in good faith prior to the application for a refund, the parks director may decline to provide the refund. If, within a period of three years, the same or subsequent owner of the property proceeds with the same or substantially similar development activity, the owner can petition the parks director for an offset in the amount of the fee originally paid and not refunded. The petitioner must provide receipts of park impact fees previously paid for a development activity of the same or substantially similar nature on the same real property or some portion thereof. Determinations of the parks director shall be in writing and shall be subject to the appeals procedures set forth in FWRC 19.92.150(4).

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.130 Use of park impact fees.

(1) Pursuant to this chapter, park impact fees shall be used for parks and recreation facilities that will reasonably benefit growth and development, and only for park facilities addressed by the city’s capital facilities element of the comprehensive plan.

(2) Park impact fees shall not be used to make up deficiencies in city facilities serving an existing development.

(3) Park impact fees shall not be used for maintenance and operations, including personnel.

(4) Park impact fees may be used for but not limited to land acquisition, site improvements, engineering and architectural services, permitting, financing, administrative expenses, planning, mitigation costs, capital equipment pertaining to parks facilities, and any other expenses which can be capitalized.

(5) Park impact fees may also be used to recoup public improvement costs incurred by the city to the extent that growth and development will be served by the previously constructed improvement.

(6) In the event bonds or similar debt instruments are or have been issued for parks facility improvements, park impact fees may be used to pay the principal and interest on such bonds.

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.140 Administrative fees.

(1) For each park impact fee imposed, there shall be charged an administrative fee, the amount of which shall be set by council resolution. The administrative fee shall be deposited into an administrative fee account within the park impact fee account(s). Administrative fees shall be used to defray the city’s actual costs associated with the assessment and collection and update of the park impact fees. An administrative fee is not refundable or creditable.

(2) The administrative fee shall be paid by the feepayer at the same time as the park impact fee.

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.150 Appeals.

(1) The applicant may pay the park impact fees under protest pending appeal to avoid delays in the issuance of building permits or change of use permits. No appeal shall be permitted until the impact fees at issue have been paid.

(2) Requests for review regarding the impact fees imposed on any development activity may be filed only by the applicant for the development activity at issue.

(3) The applicant must first file a request for review regarding impact fees with the parks director, as provided herein:

(a) The request shall be in writing on the form provided by the city;

(b) The request for review by the parks director shall be filed within 14 calendar days after the applicant’s payment of the impact fee at issue. The failure to timely file such a request shall constitute a final bar to later seek such review;

(c) No administrative fee will be imposed for the request for review by the director; and

(d) The parks director shall issue his/her determination in writing.

(4) Determinations of the parks or community development director with respect to the applicability of the impact fees to a given development activity, the availability or value of a credit, the independent fee calculation which is authorized in FWRC 19.92.070, the extension of the two-year period in FWRC 19.92.060(5), or any other determination which the parks or community development director is authorized to make pursuant to this chapter, may be appealed by the applicant or owner using the same process as the underlying development permit application or process I of this title if there is no underlying development permit, substituting the parks director for the community development director as necessary. The appeal, in the form of a letter of appeal, must be delivered to the appropriate department within 14 calendar days after issuance of the decision under appeal. In those cases where the proposed development activity may require a public hearing under the authority of other chapters of this code, the hearings may be combined. For example, if the underlying development permit application is a preliminary plat, the appeal shall be heard at the preliminary plat public hearing.

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)

19.92.160 Existing authority unimpaired.

Nothing in this chapter shall preclude the city from requiring the feepayer or the proponent of a development activity to mitigate adverse environmental impacts of a specific development pursuant to the State Environmental Policy Act, Chapter 43.21C RCW, based on the environmental documents accompanying the underlying development approval process, and/or Chapter 58.17 RCW, governing plats and subdivisions; provided, that the exercise of this authority is consistent with Chapters 43.21C and 82.02 RCW.

(Ord. No. 23-957, § 3, 6-6-23.)