Pasco OKs subdivision, but fee will be required

The developer of a proposed 50-duplex subdivision in Pasco will need to pay a fee to accommodate the new students the homes are expected to bring into the Pasco School District.

The Pasco City Council approved a preliminary plat for Columbia Villas in a 6-1 vote Tuesday that included a condition for the developer to negotiate a mitigation fee with the Pasco School District.

This is the first time Pasco has required this type of special fee during the preliminary plat process.

The school district is looking for ways to provide classroom space for its growing student population, which is expected to reach about 15,800 this school year, a 6 percent increase over last year.

That's why the district is asking the city and county to require developers to negotiate a payment when projects go through the State Environmental Policy Act and platting process. The district must ask for the fee for each project and must negotiate individually with each developer to set the amount.

The district is using this process because the Pasco City Council and Franklin County Commission haven't approved the district's request of an ordinance that would automatically require impact fees on new subdivisions. One proposal would have developers paying $6,012 for each single-family home built and $5,572 for each apartment unit.

With Columbia Villas, Big Creek Land Co. of Idaho plans to build the 50 duplexes on nearly 14 acres north of Sandifur Parkway and west of Road 76. The property is owned by FBA Land Holdings and set up by the Metropolitan Creditors' Trust of Spokane to sell real estate received in the sale of Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities, a Spokane company that went bankrupt in 2004.

State law is explicit, said Pasco City Manager Gary Crutchfield. Because the school district has said there isn't room for new students, the city can't approve the subdivision without requiring mitigation through a voluntary agreement the district and developer negotiate separate from the city.

Councilman Tom Larsen voted against approving the preliminary plat with the mitigation requirement.