Vista Terrace LID

About the Project

The City of Blaine is extending the sanitary sewer main on H Street east as far as Terrace Avenue as part of the H Street Improvement Project. This project is expected to be completed in June 2011 and makes it possible to extend sewer service to homes on the north side of H Street by forming a Local Improvement District (LID).

An LID spreads the improvement costs for those properties specifically benefited by those improvements over a period of years. The LID will cover the costs associated with the sewer main extension and service stubs up to the property line. Individual property owners will be responsible for the service connections (laterals) from their home to the stub when they actually connect to City sewer. Assessments will be based on a per lot basis to be paid over a period of 10 - 15 years.

If you have any questions about an individual parcel or the LID process in general, please contact the Public Works Department at 360-332-8820.

What is an LID?

A local improvement district (LID) is a method of financing improvements constructed by a municipality and that provides special benefit to the properties within the boundaries of the LID. LIDs are typically created to finance roads and utilities. The municipality levies assessments against the property equal to the cost of the improvements to be paid by the property owners, and such assessments become liens on the properties. Road improvement districts may be created by counties to finance street improvements.

Related Documents

Boundaries of an LID

All properties that will benefit from the improvements must be included within the LID boundaries. If an appraiser will determine special assessments, the boundaries are drawn based upon the appraiser's determination of which property will be benefited.

Steps Involved in Creating an LID

  1. There are 2 methods for forming an LID by either petition of the property owners or by resolution of the City Council:
    • A petition must be signed by owners of property aggregating a majority of the area of the proposed LID.
    • Council, on its own initiative or in response to petition, adopts resolution declaring its intention to form LID and setting a hearing date.
  2. Notice of the hearing and an estimate of each property assessment is mailed to all property owners and published at least 15 days before the hearing.
  3. The hearing is held.
  4. Council adopts an ordinance creating the LID and ordering the construction of the improvements. A new hearing must be held if the boundaries of the LID are changed or if the improvements are substantially altered from those described in the notice to the property owners.
  5. If the LID is created at the initiation of the city, the LID may be stopped if protests are received, within 30 days after the adoption of the ordinance creating the LID, by property owners representing 60% or more of the estimated assessments.
  6. All lawsuits challenging the creation of the LID must be filed within 30 days from the end of the protest period.
  7. Prepare and consider Environmental Impact Statement or formally determine absence of need for it. This step may be required prior to forming the district if such action is considered a final decision to undertake construction of a non-exempt facility (WAC 197-11-800).
  8. Call for bids are consider and construction begins.
  9. City issues bond anticipation notes to pay construction costs.
  10. After construction is complete, the final assessment roll is prepared by appraiser.
  11. Council adopts resolution setting date for hearing on assessment roll.
  12. Notice of the hearing is published and mailed to all property owners at least 15 days before the hearing.
  13. Council holds hearing while considering objections and overruling them or modifying roll.
  14. If an assessment is raised, a new hearing must be held.
  15. Council adopts ordinance confirming assessments.
  16. Appeals must be filed within 10 days after the effective date of the confirming ordinance.
  17. Notice is mailed to property owners indicating that assessments may be paid within a 30-day period without interest or in annual installments (up to 20 years) with interest based on the interest on the LID bonds sold by the city.
  18. After the prepayment period ends, city sells bonds in the amount of the outstanding assessments.

General Limitations on Assessments

  1. The improvements must confer a special benefit on the property to be assessed and the assessments cannot exceed the special benefit to the property from the improvements. General benefits cannot be assessed.
  2. The amount of special benefit by reason of the improvement is the difference between the fair market value of the property immediately after the special benefits have accrued and the fair market value of the property before the benefits have accrued. Fair market value is the amount of money which a purchaser willing, but not obligated, to buy would pay an owner willing, but not obligated, to sell, taking into consideration all uses to which the property is adapted or might reasonably be applied.
  3. Property cannot be assessed in an amount greater than the property's proportional benefit from a local improvement related to other property in the LID.

Traditional Assessment Methods 

A municipality may use any reasonable method to allocate the costs among the various assessed properties, subject to the limitations set forth above. Square footage of property, front footage on the improvements or "zone and termini" are the most common methods. It is not legally required to hire an appraiser to determine the assessment method.

Special Benefit Analyses

RCW 35.5l.030 allows assessments to be determined based upon "some or all of the public land use restrictions or private land use restrictions to which the property may be put at the time the assessment roll is confirmed."

Property may be classified into office, retail, residential, and any other reasonable classification. Certain classifications may be exempted if they will not specially benefit from the improvements.

Any or all of the following factors may be considered: square footage, permissible floor area, distance from or proximity of access to improvement, land use restrictions, existing facilities, and any other factor that is a reasonable measure of special benefits.

Mechanics of Special Benefit Analyses

The appraiser examines all property and comes up with the proposed assessment for each property, which is based on the estimated cost of the improvements and the property's proportionate share of that cost. The preliminary assessment roll is based on the appraiser's initial determination. After the improvements are constructed, the appraiser reevaluates each property and makes any needed adjustments in the preliminary roll based on changes in use, new zoning laws, etc.

Preformation Agreements

A city may contract with property owners for payment by the owners of the cost of preparing engineering plans or surveys, studies, appraisals, legal services, and other expenses associated with the LID other than actual construction costs. The property owners are reimbursed from LID bond proceeds or from a credit against future assessments. The reimbursement is made to the owner at the time of reimbursement. The LID must be formed within 6 years of the date of the preformation agreement.