Northwest NEWS

September 14, 1998


Input is arbitrary and selective

   One hopes that as the Puget Sound Regional Council examines King County's traffic count process for development approvals, it will also examine its road impact fees calculations process.
   Based on the county transportation department's 1987 computer modeling, which was prior to the past decade's tremendous Eastside growth, the county declares there are no existing deficiencies to correct in the N.E. 124th Street corridor between I-405 and Avondale road. Based on that and similar modeling for other roads that leads to the same conclusion of no existing deficiencies, the county concludes that individual builders on their rural lots on Novelty Hill are not being charged to correct existing deficiencies (which is forbidden by state law) when calculating road impact fees for those individuals. Hence, the computer comes up with a road impact fee of $8,219 for individuals in Novelty Hill's road zone No. 386, while Weyerhaueser's Novelty Hill Fully Contained Community's road zone No. 393 is charged only $2,902 per home.
   A federal scientist at a Bellingham seminar said that some jurisdictions computer modelings are "black boxes" into which input is arbitrary and selective, and out of which comes pre-determined results. King County's modeling boxes are among the blackest.
   Maxine Keesling, Woodinville