Development permitting fees will rise April 1

March 25, 2014

By Peter Clark

Issaquah will raise its development permitting fees April 1 for the first time since 2006.

Passed by the City Council at its Dec. 16 meeting, the increase comes after reviewing the current economic state of the city and comparing costs to develop in Issaquah with neighboring cities.

“The fees were changed to ensure Issaquah fully recovers its costs to review permits, offer our customers more flat rates, less itemized fees [and] be more consistent with fees charged in neighboring cities,” according to the city’s website.

One of the reasons for the gap since the last change in fees was the 2008 recession and the fear that higher fees might hamper new development.

“It didn’t seem like a good time to raise them,” city Development Services Interim Director Dave Favour said of the previous eight years. “We are optimistic that the economy is on the upswing now. It shouldn’t mean any changes for the department.”

The administration created the Development Services Department during a 2012 government reorganization, combining the Building and Planning departments, the Major Development Review Team and pieces from the Public Works Engineering Department. Permitting fees did not reflect this single department focus, so the new fees also represent a move toward cohesion.

“There was a desire to simplify things,” Favour said. “We had the merger of several departments in the reorganization. The decision was a mixture of an economic upswing and mashing four departments together with different fee schedules to one.”

He said the city was doing everything it could to spread word of the changes to ensure they came as no surprise.

“We could have updated the fees in December, but we wanted to give some extra time for a public relations campaign,” he said. “We did a direct mailing to current developers and past applicants.”

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