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Dec. 9, 2019

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Clark County council charts course on urban holdings lift

Public-private partnership won’t increase taxes

By , Columbian political reporter
Published: August 20, 2019, 10:28pm

The Clark County Council on Tuesday moved forward on a public-private partnership intended to pave the way for the development of about 2,200 acres north of Vancouver. 

The county’s comprehensive growth plan has put the crescent-shaped area near the 179th Street/I-5 interchange in urban holding. The planning designation essentially blocks development until funding is secured for infrastructure upgrades to accommodate additional traffic. 

As Clark County has grown, property owners and others have asked the county to lift urban holdings, with developers offering to pay for improvements. Since January, the county council has been evaluating multiple options for an estimated $66.5 million in infrastructure upgrades that relied on varying degrees of public and private contributions. 

Late Tuesday night, the council voted 4-1 for a resolution backing Option 8, which wouldn’t increase property taxes but would increase traffic impact fees to one of the highest in the state. Under the option, developers would pay $26.6 million, including $6.8 million in advanced traffic impact fee payments and $5.3 million in surcharges through developer agreements. The county would pay $39.9 million through various funds and grants. 

Councilor Temple Lentz, the council’s sole Democrat, voted against the resolution out of concern that it was financially unviable and would support development that added to congestion.

The rest of the council noted the expected economic growth and additional housing.

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