Chapter 15.65


15.65.010    Findings.

15.65.020    Definitions.

15.65.030    Fire impact fee capital facilities plan.

15.65.040    Fire impact fee formula.

15.65.050    Fire impact fee assessment.

15.65.055    Impact fee reduction for providing residential fire sprinklers to single-family homes.

15.65.060    Credits.

15.65.070    Appeals.

15.65.080    Refunds.

15.65.090    Use of fire impact fees.

15.65.100    Review.

15.65.110    Exemptions.

15.65.120    Authority unimpaired.

15.65.010 Findings.

The city council finds and determines that new growth and development in the city creates additional demand and need for public fire safety facilities in the city, and the city council finds that new growth and development should pay its proportionate share of the costs for new fire service facilities to serve new growth and development in the city. Therefore, pursuant to Chapter 82.02 RCW, Excise Taxes, the city council adopts the ordinance codified by this chapter to assess fire impact fees on new residential, commercial, and industrial development in the city. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed in order to carry out the purposes of the city council in establishing the fire impact fee program. (Ord. 1434 § 1, 2002)

15.65.020 Definitions.

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

The “Act” means the Growth Management Act, Chapter 17, Laws of 1990, First Extraordinary Session, Chapter 36.70A RCW et seq. and Chapter 32, Laws of 1991, First Special Session, as now in existence or hereinafter amended.

“Building permit” means an official document or certification of the city of Washougal issued by the city’s building official which authorizes the construction, alteration, enlargement, conversion,

reconstruction, remodeling, rehabilitation, erection, placement, demolition, moving or repair of a building or structure.

“City” means the city of Washougal, Washington, county of Clark.

“Development activity” means any construction of a building or structure that creates additional demand and need for fire safety facilities.

“Development approval” means any written authorization from the city, which authorizes the commencement of the “development activity.”

“Letter encumbered” means to reserve, set aside, or earmark the fire impact fees in order to pay for commitments, contractual obligations or other liabilities incurred for the provision of fire protective services.

“Feepayer” is a person, corporation, partnership, an incorporated association or governmental agency, municipality or similar entity commencing a land development activity, which requires a building permit and creates a demand for additional fire capital facilities.

“Impact fee” means the payment of money imposed by the city on development activity pursuant to this chapter as a condition of granting development approval in order to pay for the fire facilities needed to serve new growth and development that is a proportionate share of the cost of fire capital facilities that is used for facilities that reasonably benefit new development. Impact fees do not include a reasonable permit fee, an application fee, and the administrative fee for collecting and handling fire impact fees or cost of reviewing independent fee calculations.

“Impact fee deferral program” shall mean the most current program/policy established by the city council to allow for required impact fees, associated with a permit, to be deferred or paid later at a time, as established under the program/policy, when the project is closer to completion.

“Owner” means the owner of record of real property, as found in the records of Clark County, Washington, or a person with an unrestricted written option to purchase property; provided, that the real property is being purchased under a recorded real estate contract, the purchaser shall be considered the owner of the property.

“Proportionate share” means that portion of the cost for fire facility improvements that are reasonable related to the service demands and needs of new development.

“Public facilities” means the following capital facilities owned or operated by governmental entities: (1) public streets and roads, (2) publicly owned parks and open spaces and recreational facilities, (3) school facilities, (4) fire protection facilities not part of a fire district, and (5) police facilities and essential public facilities as defined by Chapter 36.70A RCW. (Ord. 1664 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 1434 § 1, 2002)

15.65.030 Fire impact fee capital facilities plan.

In order to collect fire impact fees, the city must first adopt a fire capital facilities plan as an element of the city’s comprehensive plan.

The city’s capital facilities plan for fire protection services shall consist of the following elements:

(1) The city’s capacity over the next six years, based on an inventory of the city’s fire facilities both existing and under construction.

(2) The forecast of future needs for fire facilities based upon the city’s population projections.

(3) A six-year financial plan component, updated as necessary, to maintain at least a six-year forecast for financing needed within projected funding levels.

(4) Application of the formula set out in this chapter based upon the information in the capital facilities plan.

(5) Council Action. No new or revised impact fee shall be effective until adopted by council following a duly advertised public hearing to consider the city’s capital facilities plan or plan update. (Ord. 1434 § 1, 2002)

15.65.040 Fire impact fee formula.

Fire impact fees shall be as follows:

Single-Family Residential


$0.68 per square foot

Multifamily Residential


$0.37 per square foot

All other uses


$0.88 per square foot

(Ord. 1966 § 1 (Exh. A), 2022; Ord. 1525 § 3, 2005; Ord. 1434 § 1, 2002)

15.65.050 Fire impact fee assessment.

The city shall collect fire impact fees from applicants seeking development approvals from the city for any development activity in the city for which building permits are required. This will include the expansion of existing uses, which create the demand for fire protection services.

Fire impact fees shall be assessed at the time of a sufficiently complete building permit application that complies with the city’s zoning ordinances and building and development codes. Fire impact fees shall be collected from the feepayer at the time the building permit is issued, or at a time approved through the impact fee deferral program.

Except if otherwise exempt, the city shall not issue the required building permit unless or until the fire impact fees are paid. (Ord. 1664 § 1 (Exh. A), 2010; Ord. 1434 § 1, 2002)

15.65.055 Impact fee reduction for providing residential fire sprinklers to single-family homes.

(1) A person required to pay a fee pursuant to RCW 43.21C.060 for system improvements shall not be required to pay a fire impact fee under RCW 82.02.050 through 82.02.090 for those same system improvements.

(2) A person installing a residential fire sprinkler system in a single-family home shall not be required to pay the fire operations portion of the impact fee. The exempted fire operations impact fee shall not include the proportionate share related to the delivery of emergency medical services.

(3) Twenty percent of the Washougal department’s emergency responses can be considered fire operation responses. A reduction of 20 percent in fire impact fees shall be imposed on all single-family dwellings when a residential sprinkler system is installed. (Ord. 1740 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013)

15.65.060 Credits.

A feepayer can request that a credit, or credits, be awarded to the feepayer for the value of dedicated land, improvements, and construction by the feepayer if the city finds that such improvements or facilities serves to satisfy the goals of the fire department capital facilities plan. The feepayer shall first direct the request for credits to the city with a description of why the credits should be awarded. The city shall then determine if the improvements, land or construction is included in the capital facilities plan and that the city council determines that such improvements, land and construction meets the goals of the fire department capital facilities plan. The city may decline the request or make an alternative decision. In the event that the land, improvements or facilities are accepted by the city, the feepayer shall be responsible for supplying an independent appraiser to provide an appraisal report based on objective standards which indicates the fair market value of the dedicated land improvements or facilities. The credited amount shall be applied to the impact fee calculated for the particular development sponsored by the feepayer. If the amount of the credit is less than the amount of the fee, the feepayer shall pay the difference. If the amount of the credit exceeds the value of the impact fee, the city shall not be responsible for the difference. (Ord. 1434 § 1, 2002)

15.65.070 Appeals.

Any feepayer may pay the impact fees imposed by this chapter under protest in order to obtain a building permit.

(1) Appeals regarding fire impact fees imposed on any development activity may only be taken by the feepayer of the property where such development activity will occur. No appeal shall be permitted unless and until the impact fee at issue has been paid.

(2) Determination of the city staff in respect to the applicability of fire impact fees to a given development activity or the availability of a credit, can be appealed to city council pursuant to this section.

(3) An appeal shall be taken within 10 working days of payment of the impact fees under protest or within 10 working days of the city’s issuance of a written determination of a credit or exemption decision by filing with the city a notice of appeal giving the reasons for the appeal with accompanying appeal fee set forth in the existing fee schedule for land use decisions. (Ord. 1434 § 1, 2002)

15.65.080 Refunds.

If the city fails to expend or encumber the impact fees within the time period specified in RCW 82.02.070 from the date the fees were paid, unless extraordinary circumstances or reasons exist, the current owner of the property on which the impact fees were paid shall receive a refund of such fees.

(1) The city shall notify potential claimants by first class mail that they are entitled to a refund. Determining whether impact fees have been expended or encumbered, impact fees shall be considered expended or encumbered on a first-in, first-out basis.

(2) Owners seeking a refund must submit a written request for refunds of the fees to the city within one year of the date the right to claim a refund arises or notice is given whichever comes later.

(3) Any impact fees for which no application has been made within the one-year period shall be retained by the city and expended on appropriate fire facilities.

(4) Refunds of impact fees shall include any interest earned on the impact fees by the city. (Ord. 1758 § 1 (Exh. A), 2014; Ord. 1740 § 1 (Exh. A), 2013; Ord. 1434 § 1, 2002)

15.65.090 Use of fire impact fees.

Pursuant to this chapter, fire impact fees shall be used for fire facilities that will reasonably benefit the city and its residents.

(1) Fees shall not be used to make up deficiencies in city facilities serving an existing development;

(2) Fees shall not be used for maintenance and operations including personnel;

(3) Fire impact fees shall be used for but not limited to land acquisition, site improvements, engineering and architectural services, permitting, financing and administrative expenses and applicable mitigation costs, capital equipment pertaining to fire protection facilities;

(4) Fire impact fees may also be used to recoup public improvement costs incurred by the city to the extent that new growth and development will be served by the previously constructed improvements; and

(5) In the event bonds or similar debt instruments are or have been issued for fire facility improvements, impact fees may be used to pay the principal on such bonds. (Ord. 1434 § 1, 2002)

15.65.100 Review.

Impact fees shall be reviewed by the planning commission with recommendations to city council as it may be necessary and appropriate, in conjunction with the annual review and update of the capital facilities plan and the city’s comprehensive plan. (Ord. 1434 § 1, 2002)

15.65.110 Exemptions.

The fire impact fees are generated from the formula for calculating the fees as found in this chapter. The amount of the impact fees is determined by the information contained in the adopted fire department capital facilities plan, as appended to the city’s comprehensive plan. All new development located in the city will be charged a fire impact fee; provided, that the following exemptions shall apply. Any development activity or project, which has submitted a technically complete building permit application prior to the effective date of this ordinance, shall be exempt from the payment of fire impact fees. The following shall be exempt from fire impact fees:

(1) Replacement of a structure with a new structure at the same site and when such replacement is within 12 months, or for a longer time period approved by the director, of demolition or destruction of the precious structure.

(2) Alteration or expansion of 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.

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

(6) Low-income housing developed by individuals, nonprofit corporations, or housing authority may be exempted from impact fees at the discretion of city staff subject to:

(a) Fiscal impact analysis of the effect upon low-income housing of impact fees and how exempting housing from impact fees would forward the goals for low-income housing in the city and Clark County.

(b) That adequate documentation be; provided, that the housing will remain available for low-income persons for a 10-year period of time at affordable rents.

(c) Staff may make partial exemptions for market rate and low-income units providing that documentation is provided for the low-income units that they will meet the specifications for household income, rent levels and the affordable rent will be available for 10 years.

(d) In the case of owner-occupied dwellings, that such housing will be sold or leased at affordable rates to low-income households for a period of 10 years.

(7) The impact fee for exempt development shall be calculated as provided by this chapter and paid with public funds. Such payments may be made by including such amounts in the public share of the system improvements undertaken within the city for fire protection services and facilities. (Ord. 1884 § 1 (Exh. A), 2019; Ord. 1434 § 1, 2002)

15.65.120 Authority unimpaired.

Nothing in this chapter shall preclude the city from requiring the feepayer to mitigate adverse and environmental affects of a specific development pursuant to the State Environmental Policy Act, Chapters 43.21C RCW 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. 1434 § 1, 2002)