In the Thursday, July 27, Op-Ed by Seattle City Council members Lisa Herbold, Sally Bagshaw and Mike O’Brien, we asked readers whether they supported charging developers impact fees to help pay for Seattle’s explosive growth, specifically to pay for transportation, parks, schools and fire facilities. Here is a sampling of the responses.
Yes! We have been urging developer impact fees for years. Two neighborhood surveys via my newsletter, “4 to Explore: A Northeast Neighborhoods Newsletter,” showed more than 85 percent support.
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Real estate developers have recently built a lot more in Northeast Seattle, while our schools have become more overcrowded. Real estate developers have packed Ballard and other neighborhoods with new buildings, while our roads, bridges and related sidewalks are overdue for repair. After successfully lobbying for higher building heights, developers and profitable companies are rapidly filling out South Lake Union, but there is no new fire station.
More than 75 cities in Washington State charge the one-time impact fee to developers and investors of new projects to help offset increased infrastructure costs caused by the new developments and their new occupants.
Alex Pedersen, Seattle
Step up for schools
Seattle has a school-construction crisis. We are growing at 1,000 students a year. All the mothballed schools have been reactivated. The state gave the cities responsibility for helping to fund schools when it created impact fees in the Growth Management Act.
Roads, parks and fire stations have their own revenue sources in Seattle. Statewide, school construction is the No. 1 use of impact fees. Seattle has never stepped up to its responsibility to help fund school construction. The city should dedicate impact fees to lowering class sizes, the best way to improve our schools.
Sarajane Siegfriedt, Seattle
In addition to impact fees to fund transportation, schools and open space, developers should also provide Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalks.
Also, replace (not simply repair) the streets and sidewalks surrounding developers’ projects upon completion.
Betsy McCarthy, Seattle
Developer impact fees? Absolutely, it’s about time!
I cannot believe how long Seattle has avoided this very obvious way of providing for the public good. As the city becomes more dense, I keep asking, “Where is the quid pro quo?” Where are the public amenities that should follow these large projects that impact our neighborhoods? Where is the open space for the tenants who occupy all the condos that sprout up like so many mushrooms. Where is the traffic and parking mitigation?
If developers impact our neighborhoods, then they need to buck up, literally. I fully support the Seattle City Council’s proposed plan to charge developer impact fees. Fair is fair.
Jim Rymsza, Seattle