Chapter 12.16
PARK IMPACT FEES Amended Ord. 4464


12.16.010    Findings and authority.

12.16.020    Definitions.

12.16.030    Park impact fee assessment.

12.16.040    Use of park impact fees.

12.16.050    Park impact fee formula.

12.16.060    Park impact fee updates.

12.16.070    Administrative fees.

12.16.080    Independent fee calculations.

12.16.090    Exemptions. Amended Ord. 4464

12.16.100    Appeals.

12.16.110    Credits.

12.16.120    Establishment of park impact fee accounts.

12.16.130    Administrative guidelines.

12.16.140    Refunds.

12.16.150    Existing authority unimpaired.

12.16.010 Findings and authority.

The city council of the city of Kent hereby finds and determines that development activities, including but not limited to new residential, commercial, retail, office, and industrial development in the city of Kent, will create additional demand and need for system improvements needed to serve the new growth and development. The city of Kent has conducted extensive research documenting the procedures for measuring the impact of new developments on public facilities, has prepared the “City of Kent Park Impact Fee Study” dated January 2021 (“rate study”), attached to the ordinance codified in this chapter as Exhibit 1, and incorporates that rate study into this chapter by this reference. The rate study incorporates all of the requirements of RCW 82.02.060(1). A copy of the rate 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 park impact fees for parks and recreation. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed in order to carry out the purposes of the council in providing for the assessment of park impact fees.

(Ord. No. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.020 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.

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

B. 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.

C. City means the city of Kent.

D. Council means the city council of the city of Kent.

E. Department means the city’s department of parks, recreation and community services.

F. Development activity means any construction or expansion of a building, structure, or use, any change in use of a building or structure, or any changes in the use of land, that creates additional demand and need for public facilities. “Development activity” does not include:

1. Building or structures constructed by a regional transit authority; or

2. Building or structures constructed as shelters that provide emergency housing for people experiencing homelessness, or emergency shelters for victims of domestic violence, as defined in RCW 70.123.020.

G. Development approval means any written authorization from the city of Kent which authorizes the commencement of a development activity.

H. Director means the parks and community services director or the director’s designee.

I. 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.

J. 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.

K. Hearing examiner means that person or persons appointed by the mayor pursuant to Chapter 2.32 KCC.

L. 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.

M. 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 director where none of the fee categories or fee amounts in the fee schedule accurately describe or capture the impacts of the development activity on public facilities.

N. KCC means the Kent City Code or, when followed by a numerical designation, a provision of the Kent City Code.

O. 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.

P. 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.

Q. 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.

R. Public facilities, for purposes of this chapter, means the following capital facilities owned or operated by the city of Kent or other governmental entities: parks, trails, or recreational facilities.

S. Rate study means the Exhibit 1 “City of Kent Park Impact Fee Study,” city of Kent, dated January 2021, or as hereafter amended.

T. System improvements, for purposes of this chapter, means public park facilities that are included in the city of Kent’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.

U. Park means public parks, trails, recreation facilities, and related appurtenances.

V. Park impact fee means a payment of money imposed by the city of Kent 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.

W. 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 be established pursuant to KCC 12.16.120, and shall comply with the requirements of RCW 82.02.070.

(Ord. No. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.030 Park impact fee assessment.

A. The city shall collect park impact fees from applicants seeking development approvals from the city for any development activity in the city for which building permits are required, consistent with the provisions of this chapter.

B. 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, less any park impact fee that would have been assessed for the prior use. For purposes of this provision, a change of use should be reviewed based on the land use category provided in the rate study that best captures the broader use of the property under development. Changes in use or tenancy, if consistent with the general character of the building or building aggregations (i.e., “industrial,” or “specialty retail”), should not be considered a change in use that is subject to a park impact fee. Further, minor changes in tenancies that are consistent with the general character of the included structure, building, or previous use should not be considered changes in use subject to a park impact fee. Vacant buildings shall be assessed based on the most recent legally established use as shown on a Kent business license, development permit, or other reliable and verifiable evidence acceptable to the director.

C. 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 park impact fee rates.

D. Park impact fees shall be determined at the time the complete application for a building permit or a permit for a change in use is submitted using the park impact fees then in effect. Park impact fees shall be paid before the building permit or permit for a change of use is issued by the city.

(Ord. No. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.040 Use of park impact fees.

A. 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.

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

C. Park impact fees shall not be used for maintenance and operations, including personnel.

D. Park impact fees shall 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.

E. 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.

F. 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. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.050 Park impact fee formula.

A. The impact fee formula is based on the assumptions found in “City of Kent Park Impact Fee Study,” Exhibit 1 attached to the ordinance codified in this chapter and by this reference fully incorporated herein. The initial fee schedule, Exhibit 2, is attached to the ordinance codified in this chapter and by this reference fully incorporated herein.

B. 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, fee amount is based on number of dwelling units; for commercial development, fee is based on land use and square footage of the development.

(Ord. No. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.060 Park impact fee updates.

Annually, on or about January 1st of each year, the director shall increase or decrease the fees by an amount equal to the percentage increase in the Construction Price Index for Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton for the 12-month period October 1st through September 30th of the previous calendar year, and shall update the fee schedule accordingly.

(Ord. No. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.070 Administrative fees.

A. 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.

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

(Ord. No. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.080 Independent fee calculations.

A. If, in the judgment of the director, none of the fee categories or fee amounts set forth in the fee schedule accurately describes or captures the impacts of a new development on parks, the department may conduct independent fee calculations and the 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 director, the standard fee may be adjusted in specific cases to ensure that impact fees are imposed fairly.

B. There is a rebuttable presumption that the calculations set forth in the rate 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 director, who shall review the study to determine that the study:

1. Is based on accepted impact fee assessment practices and methodologies;

2. Uses acceptable data sources and the data used is comparable with the uses and intensities planned for the proposed development activity;

3. Complies with the applicable state laws governing impact fees;

4. 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

5. Shows the basis upon which the independent fee calculation was made.

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

D. 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.

E. 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 director’s determination.

(Ord. No. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.090 Exemptions. Amended Ord. 4464

A. 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.

B. The following shall be exempt from parks impact fees:

1. 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.

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

3. Construction of an accessory residential structure.

4. Miscellaneous improvements including but not limited to fences, walls, swimming pools, and signs that do not create an increase in demand for park services.

5. Demolition of or moving an existing structure within the city from one site to another.

6. Change of Use. A development permit for a change of use that has less impact than the existing use shall not be assessed a park impact fee.

7. A fee payer required to pay for system improvements pursuant to RCW 43.21C.060 shall not be required to pay an impact fee for the same improvements under this chapter.

C. The director shall be authorized to determine whether a particular development activity falls within an exemption identified in this section. Determinations of the director shall be subject to the appeals procedures set forth in KCC 12.16.100.

(Ord. No. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.100 Appeals.

A. Determinations of the director with respect to the applicability of the park impact fees to a given development activity, the availability or value of a credit, the director’s decision concerning an independent fee calculation, or any other determination which the director is authorized to make pursuant to this chapter may be appealed by the feepayer to the hearing examiner. No building or change of use permits will be issued until the park impact fee and administrative fees are paid; provided, however, that the feepayer may pay the fees under protest pending appeal to avoid delays in the issuance of building permits or change of use permits.

B. Appeals to the hearing examiner shall be taken in accord with the processes set forth in Chapter 12.01 KCC for open record appeals; provided, however, that appeals are to be delivered to the city’s permit center.

C. At the time of filing the appeal, the feepayer shall pay the fee set by council resolution for city of Kent planning and land use fees, “appeal of administrative interpretation/decision.”

D. The hearing examiner is authorized to make findings of fact regarding the applicability of the park impact fees to a given development activity, the availability or amount of the credit, or the accuracy or applicability of an independent fee calculation. There is a presumption of validity of the director’s determination; feepayer has the burden of proof. The decision of the hearing examiner shall be the final determination of the city unless remanded to the department as provided in subsection (E) of this section.

E. The hearing examiner may, so long as such action is in conformance with the provisions of this chapter, reverse, affirm, modify, or remand, in whole or in part, the determinations of the director with respect to the amount of park impact fees imposed or the credit awarded.

(Ord. No. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.110 Credits.

A. 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 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.

B. For each request for a credit or credits, the 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 department to determine the value of the land being dedicated. The value of improvements will be determined through documentation submitted by the feepayer.

C. 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.

D. After receiving the appraisal, the 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 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.

E. 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.

F. Determinations made by the director pursuant to this section shall be subject to the appeals procedures set forth in KCC 12.16.100.

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

(Ord. No. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.120 Establishment of park impact fee accounts.

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

B. 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.

C. 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.

D. 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. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.130 Administrative guidelines.

The director is hereby authorized to adopt internal guidelines for the administration of park impact fees, which include the adoption of procedural rules.

(Ord. No. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.140 Refunds.

A. 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 KCC 12.16.120, 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.

B. 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.

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

D. 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.

E. 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.

F. 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.

G. 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 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 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 director shall be in writing and shall be subject to the appeals procedures set forth in KCC 12.16.100.

(Ord. No. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)

12.16.150 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. 4398, § 3, 3-16-21)