Bothell city council approves higher school impact fees

On Dec. 3, Bothell’s City Council voted to increase school impact fees.

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Sofia

Downtown Bothell sign advertises real estate available at The Landing townhome complex on Dec. 15. Photo by Sofia Leotta

Sofia Leotta, Reporter

On Dec. 3, Bothell’s City Council voted to increase school impact fees. The price paid by housing developers for single-family homes increased from $16,038 to $20,092, and the fee paid for multifamily units increased from $1,818 to $3,540. 

When housing developments are built, and the number of families in a region increases, schools require more funding to maintain the quality of their education services. Impact fees are a one-time charge that local governments impose on housing developers to ensure that infrastructure in their communities meet the needs of a growing population. 

Fees are categorized as single-family residences and multifamily units. Single-family residences are houses’, while multifamily units include apartments and condos. In recent years, increased housing units within Northshore School District (NSD) boundaries have put greater pressure on schools maintain the quality of their education. 

NSD’s chief operations officer Joe Paperman shared at the Bothell’s city council meeting on Dec. 3rd that 2,694 students have entered NSD in the last six years. Of these students, 1,377 were enrolled just in the last two years. High enrollment trends for NSD will continue to increase into the next decade; 1,232 students are predicted to enter the district within the next six years. 

According to City Council member Rosemary McAuliffee, increases in housing development are tied to the quality of learning associated with NSD. 

“People are really coming to Bothell and surrounding areas because [NSD is] so good,” said McAuliffe. “[It is] such a high academic and educational opportunity for our kids.” 

City Council member Jeanne Zornes reaffirmed that this quality can be upheld through school impact fees that construction developers pay. 

“Putting impact fees on new construction is so sorely needed,” said Zornes. 

When North Creek High School was built, Zornes said the financial burden primarily affected current homeowners in the region rather than the developers of housing construction projects.

“What funded that high school was [NSD taxpayers], so I appreciate getting new construction to help pay for this,” said Zornes. 

Bothell’s approval of higher NSD impact fees will ensure that money goes toward maintaining the quality of the district’s education, even as new housing developments increase the number of families NSD will serve.