Cheney Free Press -

By GRACE POHL
Staff Intern 

Airway Heights council talks transportation fee

 


With Airway Heights continually expanding, the council talked about adopting a transportation impact fee for future developments at the May 29 study session meeting.

“This is a fair and more consistent way to get money from developers,” Public Works Director Kevin Anderson said. “The developers usually like this more because it is predictable.”

Anderson talked about two approaches to developing an impact fee related to future transportation needs. The first one was a transportation impact fee (TIF) and the second was a voluntary SEPA Transportation Mitigation Fee (TMF).

Anderson said that the TIF option would require a more extensive scope and a longer timeframe, but he believes there are some advantages with this approach without TMF.

The difference between the two is that the TIF requires stakeholder and community engagement prior to the City accepting it. The voluntary TMF would be advanced with minimal stakeholder and public involvement.

The fee would also support the transportation improvement plan that the council approved of to help plan, develop and maintain a balanced transportation system of automobiles, public transit and non-motorized modes (pedestrian, bicycles, etc.)

Anderson said that the next steps are to assign costs to new developments that would occur throughout the city. He explained that the current developments would not have to pay the fee.

If approved by council, the plan will take several months to finalize and to set the rates.

“The longer we wait, the more we will miss out on opportunities,” Anderson said.

Councilman Larry Bowman expressed concerns about it discouraging small businesses to come into Airway Heights, but Anderson explained that all businesses are responsible to pay their fair share of their part of contributing to traffic.

“We would be collecting what they should’ve been paying the whole time,” Anderson said. “You (the council) will be actively involved with this decision.”

In other items discussed, Development Services Director Derrick Braaten presented the council with ordinances to be in compliance of a ruling from the Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings Board in regards of multi-family residential on 29-acres south of Highway 2 and east of Hayford Road.

The proposed changes remove the 29-acres as well as about 22-acres of restricted commercial zoned properties along the west edge of Craig Road to make it straight commercial instead.

In staff reports, Braaten also announced that he will start interviews this week for the new community engagement code enforcement officer. He has narrowed it down to four candidates.

Grace Pohl can be reached at grace@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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