Vancouver City Council OKs train crossing safety district

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

Published:

 

The Vancouver City Council on Monday unanimously approved the creation of a local improvement district so 467 homeowners near the Columbia River can pay for railroad crossing safety upgrades for establishing quiet zones at Southeast 139th, 144th, 147th and 164th avenues.

In March, the council passed a resolution of intent to form the local improvement district.

The city started working on quiet-zone proposals soon after the Federal Railway Administration issued guidelines for the zones in 2004.

The current cost estimate for the project, including design work, is $818,000.

The city could issue 20-year bonds, and homeowners could make annual payments with their property taxes or make one discounted, early lump-sum payment.

Exact assessments won't be known until after the project goes out for bid, said Matt Ransom, the city's project development and policy manager.

Property owners were placed on different tiers based on how much they'll benefit from the quiet zone. Tentatively, owners of 218 lots labeled Tier 1 could pay $177 a year for 20 years or an early payment of $2,475. Owners of 95 Tier 2 lots could pay $124 a year or an early payment of $1,733. Owners of 154 Tier 3 lots could pay $53 a year or an early payment of $743.

In 2009, 64 percent of affected property owners responded to a survey meant to gauge support for a local improvement district. Of those who responded, 81 percent of owners were in favor of forming the district to pay for the required crossing improvements.