City investigates possible forgery in case of unpaid impact fees
SNOHOMISH - The police department is investigating a possible forgery case after the city learned about $239,000 in unpaid development fees involving two housing developments that are already occupied.
A developer typically pays the impact fees upfront, such as school impact fees in this case, before a new building is OK to inhabit. The developer paid the traffic and parks impact fees, but not the school impact fee and in some cases didn’t pay sewer connection fees, according to the city.
The housing development in question is in the Kendall Creek neighborhood.
The city sent out letters to homeowners demanding payment for these unpaid fees, which ranged between $6,000 and $13,000 depending on the homeowner.
In its initial investigation, the city found initials on a document concerning the fees it says are “questionable.” This prompted the full criminal investigation by the police department.
The developer of the housing development was Dynasty Homes, however, two developers worked on the development under one of the developer’s contractor’s license, City Manager Larry Bauman said.
Mayor Karen Guzak and Bauman sent an apology letter out to homeowners April 19 for the “harsh” tone of the letters that could be perceived by the homeowners as threatening, Bauman said.
The letters were brought to the City Council’s attention at last week’s meeting when some of the homeowners showed up at the meeting.
The original letters gave an April 25 due date, Guzak said, calling the tone and timing of the letters “completely unacceptable.” The city says it is working to find out why the letters were sent, Guzak said.
“We need to work with the people, then we need to keep our line of communication open and explain where the mistakes were made,” she said.
The city also is trying to figure out how to collect the unpaid fees without further inconveniencing the homeowners, Bauman said.
“We are investigating whether the lenders or title company may be liable for payments of the fees based on information being gathered,” Bauman said.
By STEPHANIE KOSONEN
Published April 25, 2012