Developers get $45,000 refund from city of Sequim over housing project's parks fee

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– Doug and Leslee Francis will receive a $45,000 refund from the city for a parks fee they paid on a housing project that was killed by the Great Recession.

City Council members unanimously voted to pay the Francises $45,000 of the $50,000 they paid in 2006 to get around a requirement they build a park in their proposed housing development.

They had planned to develop 7.65 acres south of Miller Road into a 25-house subdivision.

When the Francises were platting their development, city code required developers to set aside 10 percent of subdivisions as open spaces.

The city instead offered to allow the Francises to pay a fee that was directed into a city fund to acquire open space for parks.

The money was used as part of the city's $806,610 purchase of land for Keeler Park, 45 acres of land east off Simdars Road.

Since then, Sequim instituted a slate of impact fees that require developers to pay set amounts to offset increased impacts to such city amenities as parks and streets.

Builders of single-family residences are charged a park impact fee of $2,210 and transportation impact fee of $2,491 for each house they build.

Builders of multi-family residential units pay $2,382 for parks and $1,682 for transportation impact per unit.

But the Francises' development stalled as the national housing collapse froze credit markets.

With the money spent, the city gave the Francises $50,000 worth of parks impact fee credits they could sell to private developers, Ritchie said.

“But that wasn't as easy to do as we all thought it would be,” Ritchie said.

The Francises tried to sell the credits at a discount but found that difficult.

As part of the settlement accepted by the council Monday, the Francises gave the city a 10 percent discount on the $50,000.

The city will pay the Francises as it receives park impact fees from new developers.

“We are paying them slowly as we get these park impact fees in,” Ritchie said. “And I think they're overjoyed.”

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 13. 2014 7:24PM
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