Impact Fees


Planning and policy development work for an impact fee program began in 2015. Impact fees are statutorily authorized fees charged to new development to partially address capacity improvements to transportation, parks, schools, and fire facilities needed to accommodate residential and employment growth.   Since 2017 the Council has annually docketed consideration of Comprehensive Plan amendments for impact fees.

In 2018, the Council began to complete some policy development work necessary to implement a transportation impact fee program, including developing a transportation impact fee rate study, drafting a council bill to amend the Comprehensive Plan to authorize a transportation impact fee program, and issuing a State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) threshold determination for that bill.  That SEPA threshold determination was appealed to the City Hearing Examiner, who remanded the determination to the Council in October 2019.

In January 2023, the Council updated the rate study.  The updated rate study retains the original list of projects considered in 2018, with the exception of completed projects.  The Transportation Committee discussed the updated rate study in March 2023.  The Council also updated the 2018 draft council bill and issued a new SEPA threshold determination, which was again appealed to the City Hearing Examiner. The Hearing Examiner anticipates issuing a decision on the appeal in the week of October 30th, 2023. 

Current Status

This fall the Council will discuss and may vote on Council Bill (CB) 120635, which would amend the Comprehensive Plan as an initial step towards implementing a transportation impact fee program.  The Land Use Committee discussed the bill in September 2023. 

Amending the Comprehensive Plan establishes the policy basis for a transportation impact fee program. Among other things, Comprehensive Plan amendments would establish a list of projects, for which capacity improvements are needed to accommodate growth. Projects on the list would be eligible for potential future expenditures of impact fee revenue.  Establishing the list in the Comprehensive Plan is a necessary, but not sufficient, step towards implementing an impact fee program.

To establish an impact fee program, the Council and Mayor would need to approve additional legislation with substantive and procedural requirements for an impact fee program. Those requirements include (1) establishing a transportation impact fee rate schedule by type of land use; (2) identifying exempt development activity, such as low-income housing and childcare; (3) determining whether transportation impact fees should be adjusted by location to recognize access to multimodal opportunities; and (4) establishing procedural requirements for assessing, deferring, and collecting fees.

Next Steps

The City Council will hold a public hearing on CB 120635 on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, at 2:00 pm. The hearing will be held in the:

City Council Chambers
2nd floor, Seattle City Hall
600 Fourth Avenue

Persons who wish to participate in or attend the hearing may be offered the opportunity to do so remotely. If this is the case, the City Council will provide instructions in the meeting agenda on how to participate remotely.  Please check the City Council agenda a few days prior to the meeting at

Print and communications access is provided on prior request.  Seattle City Council Chambers is accessible. Directions to the City Council Chambers, and information about transit access and parking are available at

For those unable to attend the public hearing, written comments may be sent to:

Council President Debora Juarez
Attn: Emilia Sanchez
600 Fourth Avenue, Floor 2
PO Box 34025
Seattle, WA  98124-4025
or by email to

If the Hearing Examiner affirms the City’s SEPA threshold determination, Council action on legislation amending the Comprehensive Plan could occur on November 21, 2023. 


City Council

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The Seattle City Council establishes City policy through enactment of ordinances (laws) and adoption of resolutions. The City Council also approves and adopts the City's budget. The nine Council members and their legislative assistants are part of the City of Seattle Legislative Department.