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Park Impact Fee

Park Impact Fee Study

Contact Us

Sarah Olson
Deputy Director
Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts

19000 44th Ave W, Lynnwood

One of the Parks, Arts, Recreation & Conservation (PARC) Plan strategic directions relates to ensuring sound management and maintenance of Lynnwood's park and recreation system. Included is the adopted PARC Plan Action #3.9.2 which directs staff to "Conduct a park impact fee study for the City and its MUGA to help finance park and trail capital needs related to population growth."

In July, staff initiated a Park Impact Fee study with consultant support provided by the Trust for Public Land's (TPL) Conservation Finance Team. TPL is guiding staff to understand the many options a park impact fee program could take, assisting with outreach, and providing recommendations for the methodology of setting possible fees.

Staff conducted public outreach and accepted public comment on the park impact fee study between October 1 - December 22, 2017. A presentation of the final rate study - "Rate Study for Impact Fees for Parks, Open Space, and Recreation Facilities" - will be shared with the Lynnwood City Council January 29 and February 5, 2018 with a public hearing scheduled for February 12, 2018. Formal adoption of any proposed park impact fee will be discussed by the Lynnwood City Council after the public hearing.

For more information on this study, public are invited to review the frequently asked questions below, attend a public presentation, or contact Sarah Olson at solson@lynnwoodwa.govScheduled public presentations (list will be updated as dates are added): 

Planning Commission 7pm Thursday, October 12th Lynnwood Council Chambers
The Lynnwood Chamber 7:30am Thursday, November 16 Fairwinds-Brighton Court
Parks & Recreation Board 7pm Wednesday, December 6th    Lynnwood Senior Center
Planning Commission
Public Comments will be recorded  
7pm Thursday, December 14th Lynnwood Council Chambers

City Council

Rate Study Presentation
7pm Monday, January 29th Lynnwood Council Chambers 

City Council

Ordinance Discussion


7pm Monday, February 5th


Lynnwood Council Chambers

Public Hearing

Public Comments will be recorded

7pm Monday, February 12th (tentative)  Lynnwood Council Chambers

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is an impact fee?
Impact fees are one-time charges paid by new development to reimburse local governments for the capital costs of public facilities that are needed to serve new development and the people who occupy the new development. New development is synonymous with “growth.” The impact fee offsets part of the cost of the impact of growth. Governments that charge impact fees are providing a way for growth to pay for growth.

Washington law authorizes local governments to charge impact fees for four types of public facilities:
1) public streets and roads;
2) fire protection facilities;
3) school facilities; and
4) publicly owned parks, open space and recreation facilities.

What is a Park Impact Fee?
A park impact fee is for all types of parks, recreational facilities and open space provided by local governments to serve new development.

Does the City of Lynnwood have a Park Impact Fee?
Lynnwood does not currently have a park impact fee, but it has had a transportation impact fee since 2011.

Do other communities have Park Impact Fees?
At least 81 Washington cities have charged park impact fees. In alphabetical order, they are:

Airway Heights
Bonney Lake

Gig Harbor
Gold Bar
Granite Falls
La Center
Lake Stevens
Maple Valley
Medical Lake

Mill Creek
Mount Vernon
Mountlake Terrace
North Bend
Oak Harbor

Sedro Wooley
University Place
West Richland

Why is the City of Lynnwood considering a Park Impact Fee?

Lynnwood is expecting significant growth, particularly in the City Center and Mall area. The expansion of regional light rail service to Lynnwood will lead to higher density development in that area. In addition, the rest of the City is likely to experience growth as part of the continued growth throughout the Central Puget Sound.

The growth that will occur in Lynnwood will need parks, recreational facilities and open space, and the City’s current park system will need to be expanded to serve the new development. The City needs additional funding to expand the park system to serve growth, and a park impact fee is a way for growth to pay for part of the cost of the parks and recreational facilities that are needed because of growth.

How are parks and recreation facilities currently funded in Lynnwood? 
Parks and Recreation capital projects have been funded through appropriations from the City’s General Fund and Real Estate Excise Taxes (REET). The department submits its capital projects during budget deliberations and historically they projects compete with street improvements and other infrastructure items. As a result, total appropriations for parks projects has varied from year to year. Currently there is no dedicated revenue source for parks and recreation capital projects. .

How can the fees be used?
Park impact fees can be spent on capital improvements that add capacity to parks, open space and recreational facilities in order to serve new development. The impact fees cannot be used to operate or maintain existing or new parks.

Park impact fees must be spent on publicaly owned parks, open space and recreational facilities. The impact fees cannot be spent on private areas, such as those provided by homeowners associations or the owners of condominiums or apartment buildings that are for the use and convenience of the occupants or users of those properties.

As required by state law, Lynnwood will separate the park impact fees from other monies, expend the money on specific projects within 10 years, and prepare annual reports of collections and expenditures of the park impact fees.

How are impact fees calculated?
The value of the current park system (i.e., its replacement cost) is divided by the current population to calculate the current value per person (level of service, or LOS). The impact fee will use the current LOS to calculate the amount new growth needs to contribute to maintain the current LOS as the City grows. The impact fee is reduced to account for other revenues the City receives that it plans to use for expanding the park system to serve new growth. This reduced cost is the impact fee rate to be paid to the City.

Are there any credits or exemptions for this fee?
Impact fees may be reduced by credits for the value of dedicated land, improvements or construction provided by the developer (provided that such facilities are listed in the City’s adopted capital facilities plan and the dedication is also required as a condition of development approval).

Lynnwood can establish reasonable rules for determining credits. For example, the location of dedicated land and the quality and design of a donated public facility can be required to be acceptable to the City, and meet City standards. There are limited exemptions allowed from payment of impact fees. Lynnwood’s transportation impact fee includes several exemptions, and they will be evaluated to see if the same exemptions are appropriate for park impact fees.

What is the process for considering a Park Impact Fee for the City of Lynnwood? 
City staff secured the technical assistance from the Trust for Public Land's (TPL) Conservation Finance Team to assist with research and development of a park impact fee study. The study launched in July 2017 with a gathering of key staff from City departments and partners. From the kick-off, staff with support from TPL put together information about park impact fee programs as well as questions to seek public input in order to inform the development of a possible impact fee program. In October, the public outreach phase began with a series of presentations and outreach to the development, business, and residential communities. Outreach with opportunities for public comment extended through the end of the year. At the conclusion of public outreach, final development of an impact fee program will be presented to the Lynnwood City Council in January 2018 with a public hearing to follow in February 2018. If the community and City Council favor the implementation of a park impact fee, adoption by the Council could occur in early 2018 following the public hearing.