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Traffic impact fees set by Covington City Council

Traffic impact fees have been a hot topic in cities during these rough economic days as municipalities try to balance encouraging development with the high cost of road improvements.

The Covington City Council struck this balance at the June 22 meeting by choosing a new traffic impact fee system. The council voted unanimously to set the new fee of $4,378 for a single family residence. This will become the baseline for all traffic impact fee calculations from homes to businesses.

The baseline fee will be used to calculate trips generated for new construction of various business and residential buildings in Covington.

Using the new rate, a tavern or bar would be assessed $39,327, a fast food restaurant $30,033, an auto parts store counts up to $12,962, an office building (single building) 6,503 and an attached senior adult housing S477.

Previously Covington signed an interlocal agreement with King County for traffic fee assessments. The interlocal agreement applied to unicorporated King County, Covington and Redmond. The county used the mitigation payment system or MPS to assess the charges and areas were placed into zones for calculating the fees.

With the passing of the ordinance, the interlocal agreement with King County will end and the new fee system will take over Oct. 1

According to City Manager Derek Matheson, “the problem with the MPS system is it is unpredictable.”

Matheson said the council and staff decided it was time to create a traffic fee system for the city, which would be easier for a developer to understand.

The system the council adopted uses the single-family residence as a baseline and there are no zones.

The City Council decided to keep the rate around $4,300. Matheson said this splits the cost of road improvements between the new development and public funding. The public funding would pay 60 percent and new development comes in at 40 percent.

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