Council President Richard Conlin
COMMITTEE PASSES RATE RELIEF
New rate would cut drainage bills for 68 parcels including the Sferra horse farm
SEATTLE – The Environment, Emergency Planning and Utilities Committee today passed rate relief for those property owners who maintain their land as open space. Council President Richard Conlin, the Committee’s chair, said, “This legislation will reward property owners who are helping the environment. By maintaining green space and natural drainage, large tracts of undeveloped land reduce the strain on our drainage system and improve the quality of life in the surrounding communities. It’s in the interest of all Seattleites to conserve existing green spaces. This measure is an important tool the City has to provide incentives for the right behavior. ”
Under this plan, 68 parcels in Seattle would receive drainage rate reductions. For instance, the Sferra horse farm in South Seattle would see its drainage rates fall from $7,616 a year to $665 a year. Another agriculture property near the West Seattle Reservoir would see its drainage rates fall from $2753 a year to $853 a year. All of the 68 parcels are currently enrolled in the “current use taxation” program authorized by the State of Washington and administered by King County to maintain agricultural, timber and open-space lands.
Drainage rates are based on a property’s impact on the drainage system. This impact is measured by the estimated amount of stormwater runoff which flows off of a property. Stormwater runoff is a function of the size of a parcel and what is covering it. Different types of cover absorb more water than other types. For example, an undeveloped landscaped piece of land will infiltrate more stormwater than a paved parking lot of the same size. Likewise, a 20,000 square feet parking lot will generate more run-off than a 10,000 square feet parking lot. To capture these differences, properties are assigned to rate categories which group properties with similar sizes and/or cover types. This new “open-space” drainage rate more accurately reflects the properties’ impact on the drainage system.
Council President Conlin said, “We want to protect these properties from costs that will force them to sell their land for development. I’m very pleased that the Committee has found a solution to this problem.”
The Full Council will take action on the legislation on Monday, September 29.