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A Latecomer Agreement allows developers the potential to recover a portion of the costs of installing the new utility facilities. This means that a neighboring property that benefits from the utility installation by connecting to it will have to pay its fair share of the installation costs of the utility. This neighboring property is a benefitting parcel. In this way, the ‘first-in’ developer doesn’t subsidize these benefitting parcels which connect to the utility in the next 20 years.
The Latecomer Agreement is a means to be more equitable to the ‘first-in’ developer, and includes an equitable cost structure for any benefitting parcel that connects to the new utility improvements. While, at first, it may seem that this is an extra cost to the benefitting parcel, it is a cost sharing mechanism to build the utility infrastructure that the parcel connects to—and the Latecomer payment is certainly more affordable than building the infrastructure from scratch.
In 2013, Washington State Legislature passed a law requiring all municipalities to offer utility Latecomer Agreements to developments that were required to install utility facilities as a condition of development. The City’s authority to administer Latecomer Agreements comes from the Revised Code of Washington, the Seattle Municipal Code, and is detailed in the Director’s Rule (pdf).