Commissioners lower hiring standard for fee waivers

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

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As expected, the Board of Clark County Commissioners on May 1 approved a slate of incentives to spur new business development.

In February, commissioners approved a fee holiday for certain businesses; it expires in September. One of the resolutions approved on May 1 extended the fee holiday through the end of 2013.

But commissioners did make one key change, said Marty Snell, director of the Department of Community Development. Under the old waiver, the county would waive 100 percent of fees for development proposals that will create a minimum of 15 full-time jobs and are located in industrial, mixed-use, business park or office campus zoning districts.

The county would also waive 50 percent of fees for any commercial developments that create a minimum of 15 full-time jobs.

On May 1, commissioners lowered the requirement to 10 full-time jobs, Snell said.

The 10 positions must be hired within 12 months of the county issuing a final occupancy permit.

Commissioners also agreed to waive or reduce traffic impact fees, using the same criteria, and added flexibility to the fee waiver by shifting the focus to the type of development rather than the zoning district. They also voted to give developers an option to pay traffic impact fees off in installments, extend the deadline to complete projects and give developers more assurance of whether their projects will trigger expensive road concurrency requirements.