News

Paying for parks

City council jumps park impact fees to help pay for land

By Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

An ordinance raising park impact fees to $2,000 per new housing unit was passed by the Bonney Lake City Council Aug. 23.

The original ordinance called for an increase to $2,522, but members lowered the figure after discussion and comments from the public.

The fee hike is being used in part to pay for the estimated $6 million cost of purchasing 12.55 acres of property next to Allan Yorke Park. The city obtained the property, which had been owned by Schuur Brothers Construction, through a condemnation process.

During the public comment period, local builder Bill Sweatman told the council an increase in the impact fees was unfair to people buying new homes and should be spread to all citizens.

"Nobody in my development will really benefit from that park," Sweatman said. "Look at the traffic. You can't drive through there on weekends now."

Sweatman is building 10 duplexes at a site in Bonney Lake.

Finance Director John Weidenfeller said the city could pay for the property without raising the impact fees, but no money would be left for other park land or improvements.

Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman said $2,000 in fees was a good compromise and would help boost the available money for parks across the city.

"I think we are going to have to look at the capital facilities plan for parks," Swatman said. "I think we have significantly underestimated the cost of land. There are a lot of things (with parks) that we are doing out there."

Besides purchasing the acreage next to Allan Yorke Park, the city is continuing to plan improvements to Cedarview Park and there is a proposal to construct a park complex at the water tank site on 96th Avenue East.

The city will also be looking for funds for building trails along the Fennel Creek corridor.

Dennis Box can be reached at dbox@courierherald.com.

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