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January 2015

Lawyer says Seattle's proposed linkeage fees are flawed

January 2015 - NWREporter

Linkage fees to fund affordable housing in Seattle won't work, according to an attorney with a nonprofit public interest watchdog organization.

In a guest opinion piece in The Seattle Times, attorney Ethan Blevins contends the linkage fee would increase the cost to develop, and could make the city's housing even more expensive. Moreover, he suggests the City Council's resolution violates statutes and constitutional provisions that prohibit cities from imposing taxes or fees on development.

Blevins, who is with Pacific Legal Foundation, notes cities can impose "impact fees" on new developments to help pay for needed public infrastructure. However, he writes, the proposed "linkage fee" would fund housing and force developers to pay exorbitant fees that have no relationship to the infrastructure and facilities that are needed to serve the new development.