Private and public development of property can add significant amounts of traffic to the transportation system. Developers are required by state law to mitigate impacts to state highways so safety and levels of congestion are not compromised.
The contact person responsible for initial review and response in the NC Region is Bill Gould, Assistant Regional Planning Engineer, 509-667-2909. Initial review includes SEPA checklist review, examination of the access classification of the affected highway, consideration of the nature of the development (short plat, high density residential, commercial, etc.), a rough estimate of the traffic generated by the development, and other factors. NCR typically requests that the local agency require mitigation of highway impacts resulting from the development. If a proposal does not generate significant traffic and complies with access control standards, then an access connection permit may be issued, subsequent to local agency approval.
If a development will generate significant traffic or involves an intersection with a public road, then a Developer Agreement will usually be required. Bill Gould, 509-667-2909, is responsible for administering developer agreements in the North Central Region. Preparation of a developer agreement typically involves engaging a professional engineer to prepare a traffic study, draft intersection plans and construction drawings, and certify that the highway improvements are constructed according to the terms of the agreement. Developers are responsible to reimburse the State for WSDOT staff time spent on their projects. They must also post a construction bond and obtain liability insurance. The improvement work is monitored by NCR planning staff.
The Development Services staff routinely engages the services and expertise of the NCR support offices, including Traffic, Real Estate Services, Utilities, Design, and Maintenance to review and comment.
In addition to the formal processes outlined above, the NCR Development Services staff is available to the development community for consultation prior to their submittals to local agencies for permits and plat approvals. Such early planning aids developers in determining project feasibility and traffic related environmental impacts before the permitting process is begun.
There are other methods of collecting fees from developers in lieu of their bearing sole responsibility for construction of a highway improvement, such as "fair share" and interlocal agreements. These methods are employed in areas of more intensive development than has been the past experience in the North Central Region. As growth in the region continues, NCR Development Services staff will be working together with local agencies to write such agreements to allow for an equitable, comprehensive approach to mitigation of highway impacts by development.