Pierce Co. proposes raising park fee for builders

KING 5's Jenna Hanchard reports

FREDERICKSON -- Over 5,000 acres of park land in Pierce County haven't been developed due to lack of funds. 

"We're standing here today at Cross Park which is an example of a park site that the county has acquired over 10 years ago and has yet to be able to develop it," said Tony Tipton, Pierce County parks & recreation director.

The county purchased the old dairy farm in Frederickson from Joan and Stan Cross.

"We wrote it in the contract to be a park," said Stan.

The Cross' never thought it would take more than a decade to generate the money to develop their old land. They want to see the county generate more money for parks.

"Without the county raising impact fees you might as well say to goodbye to parks because they really can't even maintain them well with the amount of money that they're getting," said Joan.

Right now, the county has a $385 park impact fee for every new home that is built in the county. It's a one time fee and the money goes to building and maintaining parks.

On Monday afternoon the county held a public hearing for its proposal to raise that fee to $2,552, which is about an 85 percent increase.

"For a long time since 1996 the fee hasn't budged. It was already set way too low so this brings it up with what the true cost actually is," said County Councilman Derek Young.

Young understands the fee is steep but says it will be phased in over the next two years and says it's the good way to raise money without raising property taxes.

Families such as the Cross' say it's time for Pierce County to get on board with park development.

"We need more parks in this county not only ours or other parks," said Stan.

Pierce County Council will review the proposal this month.

Copyright 2016 KING


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