Chapter 11.04


11.04.010    Stormwater Management Utility Created - Responsibilities

11.04.020    Administrator of Utility

11.04.030    Ownership of City Stormwater Facilities and Assets

11.04.040    Reserved

11.04.050    Rates for Surface Water Drainage Service

11.04.060    Billing

11.04.070    Credits Allowed

11.04.090    Remedies

11.04.100    Appeals

11.04.110    Lien for Service/Interest

11.04.010 Stormwater Management Utility Created - Responsibilities.

There is hereby created and established pursuant to Chapters 35A.80 and 35.67 RCW, a storm and surface water utility to be known as the Stormwater Management Utility. All references to the "Utility" in this chapter refer to the Stormwater Management Utility. The Utility will have primary authority and responsibility for carrying out the City’s comprehensive drainage and storm sewer plan, maintenance, administration, and operation of all City storm and surface water facilities, as well as establishing standards for design, construction, and maintenance of improvements on private property where these may affect storm and surface water and management.

11.04.020 Administrator of Utility.

The Mayor or his/her designee shall be the administrator of the Utility.

11.04.030 Ownership of City Stormwater Facilities and Assets.

Title and all other incidents of ownership of the following assets are vested in the Utility:

A.    All properties, interests, and physical and intangible rights of every nature owned or held by the City, however acquired, insofar as they relate to or concern storm or surface water runoff.

B.    All properties, interests and rights acquired by adverse possession or by prescription directly or through another in and to the drainage or storage, or both, of storm or surface waters, or both, through, under or over land, watercourses, sloughs, streams, ponds, lakes, and swamps. The properties, interests and rights so transferred shall begin from a point where storm or surface waters first enter the storm and surface water system of the City and shall end at a point where the storm or surface waters exit from the storm and surface water system of the City. The width of the properties, interests and rights so transferred shall be to the full extent of inundation caused by storm or flood conditions.

C.    All funds on deposit in the City Storm Drainage Fund and future revenues of said fund.

11.04.040 Reserved.

(Ord. 1151, Sec. 1 (Exh. A), 2022)

11.04.050 Rates For Surface Water Drainage Service.

A.    Pursuant to and consistent with the “City of Lake Stevens Stormwater Rate Study Report” dated August 2018 which is adopted by this reference, the surface water utility rates and lake management benefit assessment for lakefront parcels to be paid to the City by the owners of developed land within the City of Lake Stevens are established as set forth in this chapter. The rate for stormwater services shall be charged whether the premises are occupied or vacant; provided the site contains impervious surface. An undeveloped parcel not containing impervious surface area will not be charged surface water utility rates. The service charge and lake management revenue needs of the program are based upon all or any part, as determined by the Council, of the cost of surface, stormwater, and lake management services or to pay or secure the payment of all or any portion of any issue of general obligation or revenue bonds issued for such purpose.

1.    Single-Family Residential Units and Multifamily Residential Units with Five or Fewer Units. The average impervious

area for a single-family residential unit is 3,000 square feet. This value is referred to as an equivalent service unit (ESU). The single-family residential unit charge shall be equivalent to one ESU and applied to each residential unit.

2.    All Other Customers, Including Commercial and Multifamily Residential with Six or More Units. The service charge for all classes other than single-family residences will be based on the number of ESUs. The actual measured impervious area of each individual site will be divided by 3,000 square feet to determine the number of ESUs of the individual site. The computed rate shall not be less than that for one ESU.

B.    The surface water utility rates and lake management charges for all parcels in the City shall be as set forth in the fee resolution.

C.    The City Council will review the surface water utility service charges annually to ensure the long-term fiscal viability of the program and to guarantee that debt covenants are met. The program will use equitable and efficient methods to determine service charges. (Ord. 1032, Sec. 2, 2018; Ord. 674, 2003; Ord. 617, 1999; Ord. 597; 1999; Ord. 549, 1997)

11.04.060 Billing.

A.    The charges imposed by this chapter shall be as stated in the fees resolution.

B.    The City will collect the stormwater utility fees through Snohomish County, or contract with another agency, or may elect to establish a monthly schedule.

1.    All parcels subject to charges of the utility shall be billed on the property characteristics existing on November 1st of the year prior to the billing year and at a rate set forth in this chapter. “Billing year” is the year that the bills are sent through the yearly property tax assessment with Snohomish County.

C.    Senior Citizen or Disabled Person Exemption. The following types of real property shall be presently exempt from the City’s stormwater rates and charges:

Real property that is owned by, and is the personal residence of, a person or persons approved by the County Assessor for a senior citizen or disabled persons property tax exemption under RCW 84.36.381. (Ord. 1032, Sec. 3, 2018; Ord. 971, Sec. 1, 2016; Ord. 674, 2003; Ord. 617, 1999; Ord. 597; 1999; Ord. 549, 1997)

11.04.070 Credits Allowed.1

A.    Any person billed for service charges may file a “Request for Rate Adjustment” with the Public Works Director (“Director”) or designee within two years of the date from which the bill was sent. However, filing of such a request does not extend the period for payment of the charge.

B.    Requests for rate adjustment may be granted or approved by the Director only when one of the following conditions exists:

1.    The parcel is owned and is the personal residence of a person or persons qualified as a low-income senior citizen or low-income disabled person under RCW 84.36.381;

2.    The actual impervious surface coverage of the parcel charged is in error;

3.    The parcel is nonresidential and the parcel meets the definition of open space as defined in this chapter. Parcels qualifying hereunder will be charged only for the area of impervious surface and at the rate which the parcel is classified under using the total parcel acreage;

4.    The parcel is owned or leased by a public school district which provides activities which directly benefit the City’s surface water utility. The activities may include: curriculum specific to the issues and problems of surface and stormwater management, and student activities in the community to expose students to the efforts required to restore, monitor or enhance the surface and stormwater management system. Pursuant to RCW 36.89.085, the amount of the rate adjustment shall be determined by the Director based upon the cost of the activities to the school district but not to exceed the value of the activity to the surface water utility. Determination of which activities qualify for the surface water utility service charge reduction will be made by the Director or designee. Reductions in surface water utility charges will only be granted to the school district if they provide programs that have been evaluated by the Director or designee. The rate adjustment for the school district activity may be applied to any parcel in the service area which is owned or operated by the school district; or

5.    The utility charge bill was otherwise not calculated in accordance with the terms of this chapter.

C.    The property owner shall have the burden of proving that the rate adjustment sought should be granted.

D.    Decisions on requests for rate adjustments shall be made by the Director based on information submitted by the applicant and by the Public Works Department within 30 days of the adjustment request except when additional information is needed. The applicant shall be notified in writing of the Director’s decision. If an adjustment is granted which reduces the charge for the current year or two prior years, the applicant shall be refunded the amount overpaid in the current and two prior years.

If the Director finds that a service charge bill has been undercharged, then either an amended bill shall be issued which reflects the increase in the utility charge or the undercharged amount will be added to the next year’s bill. This amended bill shall be due and payable as provided in RCW 36.89.090, 36.89.092 and 35.67.200, at the rate of 12 percent per annum, or such rate as may hereafter be authorized by law, computed on a monthly basis from the date of delinquency until paid. The Director may include in the bill the amount undercharged for two previous billing years in addition to the current bill. (Ord. 1032, Sec. 4, 2018; Ord. 971, Sec. 2, 2016)

11.04.090 Remedies.

In the event a customer or property owner shall fail to pay the surface water drainage service charge, the City shall have the authority to lien said property or customer. The use of a lien shall not limit other remedies available to the City under state law.

11.04.100 Appeals.

Any customer or property owner who feels that the surface water drainage service charge for their property has been incorrectly computed or applied, and/or that credits have not been properly granted may petition, in writing to the Director for a review of said computations, application or credit. If not satisfied with the determination of the Director, the petitioner may appeal to the City. Hearing Examiner as follows:

A.    An appeal is taken by filing with the City Clerk a written notice of appeal specifying the grounds therefor.

B.    An appeal must be filed within 14 days after the date of the decision of the Director.

C.    The fee for filing such appeal shall be as stipulated in the current fee resolution for an appeal or variance hearing. If the appeal is determined to have merit, the cost of the appeal shall be refunded to the property owner filing the appeal.

D.    Whenever an appeal is filed, the City Clerk shall forthwith transmit to the Hearing Examiner all the papers constituting the record relating to the calculation of the service charge and the basis of the Director’s decision. The Hearing Examiner shall schedule and hold a closed appeal hearing within 60 days of the date of filing of the appeal, unless all parties to the appeal agree in writing to extend the time period.

E.    An appeal stays all collection actions by the utility unless the Director certifies to the Hearing Examiner that (because of facts stated in the certificate) a stay would, in his opinion, cause imminent peril to life or property. In that case, proceedings shall not be stayed except by order of the Hearing Examiner or a court, issued on application of the party seeking the stay, for due cause shown, after notice to the Director.

F.    The Hearing Examiner may reverse or affirm (wholly or partly) or may modify the decision of the Director and shall make any order, requirement, decision or determination that in its opinion ought to be made in the case before it. To this end, the Hearing Examiner shall have all the powers of the Director from whom the appeal is taken.

G.    An appeal decision by the Hearing Examiner is considered the final decision of the City.

H.    Any fees due shall then be paid within 30 days of the decision of the Hearing Examiner. Any credits authorized by the appeal process shall only be effective against billings subsequent to the date the appeal is filed.

11.04.110 Liens For Service/Interest.

Pursuant to RCW 35.67.200. the City shall have a lien for delinquent or unpaid surface water drainage service charges. Enforcement and foreclosure of said lien(s) shall be as provided by law. Interest on the unpaid balance shall be eight (8) percent per annum or such higher rate as authorized by state law. Penalties, as authorized by state law in the amount of five (5) percent will also be assessed. (Ord. 549, 1997)


Code reviser’s note: As laid out in Ord. 1032, 11.04.070(B) originally contained subsections (B)(1) through (B)(6). Subsection (B)(3) was deleted as a scrivener’s error and the following subsections renumbered per the request of the city.