As Washington County residents and businesses may have recently read, the Board of Commissioners is considering a proposal to amend the Traffic Impact Fee– to increase the charge and maintain the TIF as a county wide tax. Two ordinances, No. 690 and No. 691, were drafted around different policy options and the first public hearing was held on March 4, 2008. Oregon Neighborhood Storeowners Association submitted written testimony in opposition to the proposal.
The rate of charge in both ordinances would be approximately twice the current TIF for residential uses; however Ordinance 690 contains provisions so that other uses would increase at differing rates depending on the trip generation rate. The rate provisions in Ordinance 691 would also result in twice the current traffic impact fee charge, with a trip cap on certain uses (300 trips/day per unit).In order to implement the rate change as a county wide tax, both ordinances would need to be referred to the voters for approval.
As ONSA explained in written testimony, the traffic development charge for a new convenience store would increase from $8,100 to $35,000 under the proposed changes– an increase of 332%.
During the March 4th hearing, some Commissioners were concerned the proposal would hit businesses too hard. Consequently, Ordinance 691 was continued until the April 22nd meeting. The delay makes it impossible to include the issue on the May ballot, so the issue will not come before voters until fall.
In the meantime, the Washington County Coordinating Council (WCCC) and various stakeholders will review the proposed ordinace. Washington County business owners are encouraged to pay close attention to the upcoming meetings of the WCCC and the progress of Ordinance 691.