PA fees to get hearing Tuesday

Proposed hikes to be phased in

PORT ANGELES — When the Port Angeles City Council revealed a proposal to significantly increase development fees, people spoke out. And the city council and staff listened, said Calvin Goings, assistant city manager for Port Angeles, on Friday.

“It’s important to note that council and staff were listening intently. So we are proposing adjustments to be shared on Tuesday,” Goings said.

The Port Angeles City Council has set a public hearing on the proposed fee increases for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Port Angeles City Hall, 321 E. Fifth Street.

City staff has recommended the council should consider waiting until its Nov. 8 meeting to provide for input, dialogue and public comment, Goings said.

People can email comments regarding the proposal from the city website, https://www.cityofpa.us.

The proposed fee increases presented Oct. 3 would be implemented on Jan. 1, 2024, and Jan. 1, 2025.

“We are expanding the fee waiver,” Goings said. “It’s important to stress that 14 types of housing will be exempt. So, Port Angeles still is the least expensive in the state” for municipalities. “And we’re adding a 15th, low-income housing programs such as Housing for Humanity.”

Goings emphasized three things he wants to tell residents about the city’s revised development fee proposal:

• The city is waiving development fees for infill and affordable housing.

• The fee increases will be phased in over two years.

• Port Angeles still will be less expensive to build in than Sequim or Port Townsend.

“The other thing we heard was transparency and efficiency. How long to does it take to get a building permit? We consulted (real estate agents) and builders to develop performance indicators and a transparency dashboard to share that information regularly,” Goings said.

“We heard. We’ve listened. We want to make sure we are doing this as thoughtfully as possible and not rushing it,” he said.

Goings said another highlight is the proposed fee increases are user fees, charged to developers as building fees. Otherwise, the general fund is subsidizing development, he said.

“So, we are making adjustments because it’s been 15 years since we have done so. Even afterward, it still be cheaper to build in Port Angeles than in surrounding jurisdictions,” Goings said.

The proposed increases were presented earlier this month as a response to the growing costs for development-related activity and include a two-year modified fee waiver for various in-fill, multi-family households and affordable housing types.

City staff recommended increasing fees by 75 percent of the cost of providing the services versus the full amount as recommended in consultant FCS’s report.

The current fee for a 10-lot subdivision is $4,107, which would increase to $8,385.

The average in comparable cities is $9,695. In Clallam County, the fee is $4,870 and the city of Sequim is $5,344.

The city’s current fees are at the bottom of the list of comparable cities and the increase would put Port Angeles right in the middle.

The total development cost per lot in Port Angeles currently is $4,107 and would increase to $8,385. The average is $9,695.

A new business with an existing structure and a conditional use permit currently costs $947 and would increase to $6,300. The average is $5,048.

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Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at brian.gawley@peninsuladailynews.com.

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