Council delays school impact fees until voters take on bond

December 15, 2010

By Staff

The Snoqualmie City Council put off voting on school impact fees until after voters decide on a school bond in February.

The increase in impact fees has already been approved by North Bend, Sammamish and unincorporated King County, all of which are part of the Snoqualmie Valley School District.

The impact fees are meant to help pay for a new middle school for the district’s growing student population. The district plans to use one of its three middle schools to ease crowding at Mount Si High School, and build a new middle school, rather than a new high school.

While a new middle school is far cheaper than a new high school, the district will not be eligible for matching funds from the state, which is driving up the impact fees.

“The tripling of the impact fees is something that we in the business industry can’t support,” said Dave Dorothy, of Quadrant Homes.

The weak economy and housing surplus has hurt sales of new homes. Increasing impact fees will add to a house’s final cost.

“These proposed increases couldn’t have come at a worse time,” Dorothy said. “Every sale is a struggle.”

He asked the council to consider alternatives that would lessen the increase, such as delaying payment until a home is occupied, rather than when a building permit is granted.

Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson supported Dorothy’s position, and the council decided to delay considering the fees until after the bond vote.

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