County invites comments on traffic fees

The community can provide feedback on recommendations to update Pierce County’s traffic impact fees at a July 11 open house and public hearing.

Traffic impact fees are charged when an individual or company develops property for residential, commercial, retail, office or industrial use. Money from the fees is used to improve to the transportation system to accommodate higher travel demand added by new development. For example, the fees may be used to add traffic signals at intersections or add additional lanes to a road, officials said.

 â€œTraffic impact fees go toward reducing traffic congestion, encouraging economic development, cutting delays at intersections, and building more roadway connections,” said Dennis Hanberg, the county’s Planning and Public Works director. “An update to the program is necessary to meet a growing list of roadway improvement needs to accommodate future development.”

The open house will run from 4 to 6 p.m. July 11 at the Pierce County Annex Public Meeting Room, 2401 S. 35th St. in Tacoma. The open house is hosted by the Pierce County Transportation Advisory Commission and the Pierce County Planning Commission.

Public comment on the recommendations will be accepted following the open house during a public hearing of the Planning Commission at 6:30 p.m.

An online open house and a feedback survey are available at for those who cannot attend the meeting.

The Traffic Impact Fee Program has been in place since 2007, with minor updates made over the years, county officials said.

The Transportation Advisory Commission – made up of representatives from businesses, schools, a non-motorized transportation group, a transit organization, and community groups – has met since January 2017 to review the current program and develop recommendations to update it. The recommendations include adjusting fees and updating the program’s list of proposed roadway and intersection projects that run through 2040 to ensure they align with current and future transportation needs.

The recommendations also include consolidating the geographical service areas from 12 down to four to reflect the broader nature of travel patterns and simplify the administration of the program. The county is divided into these areas based on future land use, growth and transportation investment needs.

After the open house and hearing, the Planning Commission will review the feedback, determine whether to support the recommendations of the Transportation Advisory Commission, and forward the proposed updates to the  County Council for consideration.