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Local Improvement Districts

This page provides an overview of local improvement districts (LIDs) in Washington State, including relevant statutes, court decisions, examples of local LIDs, and related resources.

Local and Road Improvement Districts Manual

The following manual is intended to provide an overall perspective of detailed LID and RID procedures, to show the chronological order of responsibilities, to describe routine processes from initiation to the conclusion of financing, to reduce employee training time, and to identify potential problems and issues. This Sixth edition incorporates legislative changes and case law through September 2009.

Quick Guide

The following webpage is an outline summary of selected local improvement district concepts and procedures in Washington State. It focuses primarily on concepts and procedures directly applicable to cities and towns.

2009 LID-RID Workshop Presentation

These documents are taken from an October 2009 APWA/MRSC Workshop on LIDs and RIDs.

Municipal RID-LID Programs

County LIDs/RIDs

City LIDs/RIDs

LID Assessments

  • Issaquah Ordinance No. 2826 (2018) – Codifying and updating the procedures for foreclosure of delinquent LID and ULID assessments, including extending the annual deadline from March 1 to November 1 as allowed by RCW 35.50.030 to allow adequate time for notification and initiation of litigation, if necessary.

City LID Statutes

  • Ch. 35.43 RCW - Local improvements -- Authority -- Initiation of proceedings.
  • Ch. 35.44 RCW - Local improvements -- Assessments and reassessments.
  • Ch. 35.45 RCW - Local improvements -- Bonds and warrants.
  • Ch. 35.47 RCW - Local improvements -- Procedure for cancellation of nonguaranteed bonds.
  • Ch. 35.48 RCW - Local improvements -- Nonguaranteed bonds.
  • Ch. 35.49 RCW - Local improvements -- Collection of assessments.
  • Ch. 35.50 RCW - Local improvements -- Foreclosure of assessments.
  • Ch. 35.51 RCW - Local improvements -- Classification of property -- Reserve funds.
  • Ch. 35.53 RCW - Local improvements -- Disposition of property acquired.
  • Ch. 35.54 RCW - Local improvements -- Guaranty funds.
  • Ch. 35.55 RCW - Local improvements -- Filling lowlands.
  • Ch. 35.56 RCW - Local improvements -- Filling and draining lowlands -- Waterways.

County RID Statutes

Attorney General Opinions

  • AGO 1962 No. 109 - Requirement that city include, as part of total cost of improvement, that portion which it has voluntarily agreed to assume.

Court Decisions

As referenced and discussed in Chapters 2 and 6 of the Local and Road Improvement Districts Manual, 6th Edition.

Additional Cases

  • Beach v. City of Bellingham, 80 Wash. 287, 141 P. 703 (1914)
    (Provisions of city charter are superseded to the extent they are inconsistent with statutory local improvement district provisions.)
  • Brown v. City of Anacortes, 79 Wash. 33, 139 P. 652 (1914) (A requirement that a local improvement district include all territory which may be benefited is not strictly mandatory, and city council retains some discretion to decide to exclude property where it appears that the property could use other sewers.)
  • Buck v. Town of Monroe 85 Wash. 1, 147 P. 432 (1915)
    (City may include in assessment of benefited property of cost of portion of improvement within street intersections, or may pay for whole or part of such cost out of its general fund.)
  • Casco Co. v. City of Olympia, 124 Wash. 218, 213 P. 915 (1923)
    (Protest divesting city council of authority to proceed with a local improvement does not preclude the city from subsequently initiating proceedings for the same improvements.)
  • First Federal Sav. and Loan Ass'n of Walla Walla v. City of West Richland, 39 Wn. App. 401, 693 P.2d 171 (1985) (Challengers of LID assessments must be property owners to have standing; mortgage interest in leasehold was insufficient ownership interest to entitle mortgagee to object.)
  • Forsgreen v. City of Spokane, 28 Wn. App. 919, 627 P.2d 118 (1981), review denied
    (City has broad discretion in establishing local improvement district boundaries.)
  • Hansen v. Local Imp. Dist. No. 335, 54 Wn. App. 257, 773 P.2d 436 (1989) (Slight evidence is all that is necessary to meet requirement that city make record demonstrating that it considered merits of using particular method of assessment.)
  • Hargreaves v. Mukilteo Water Dist., 37 Wn.2d 522, 224 P.2d 1061 (1950) (Municipality may follow the termini and zone method provided by statute or may provide for assessments to be made against the property in accordance with the special benefits such property will derive from the improvement.)
  • In Re: California Ave. Local Improv. Dist., 30 Wash.2d 144, 190 P.2d 738 (1948)
    (Local improvements are grounded in the theory that property specially benefited may be assessed to the extent of special benefits accruing from an improvement.)
  • In re Local Imp. No. 6097, City of Seattle, 52 Wash.2d 330, 324 P.2d 1078 (1958)
    (Assessments cannot substantially exceed amount of special benefits; assessment roll will be presumed to be correct, and burden rests on challenger to show otherwise.)
  • Knickerbocker Co. v. City of Seattle, 69 Wash. 365, 124 P. 922 (1912)
    (The city has the discretion to determine the necessity of an improvement, and how it is to be constructed.)
  • Little Deli Marts, Inc. v. City of Kent 108 Wn. App. 1, 32 P.3d 286 (2001), review denied 145 Wash.2d 1030, 42 P.3d 975
    (A failure to appeal an LID assessment may not mount a collateral attack absent a jurisdictional defect in the LID proceedings.)
  • Kusky v. City of Goldendale, 85 Wn. App. 493, 933 P.2d 430 (1997) (Degree to which property is specially benefited from LID is measured by difference between fair market value of property immediately before and immediately after improvement.)
  • Peoples Nat. Bank of Washington v. City of Anacortes, 44 Wn. App. 262, 721 P.2d 1003 (1986)
    (Defect in city's notice of public hearing on proposed LID, which failed to describe the estimated benefits, was waived by affected property owner who failed to assert the deficiency in hearing before city council.)
  • Redding v. City of Spokane, 81 Wash. 263, 142 P. 664 (1914)
    (Objection that notice of hearing on assessment roll failed to conform to statute is waived where owners presented their objections to roll and were accorded hearing thereon.)
  • Vincent v. City of South Bend, 83 Wash. 314, 145 P. 452 (1915)
    (An assessment is not invalidated because it exceeds the initial cost estimate; the purpose of an estimate is to provide city council with information to decide whether or not to go forward with improvement.)

Last Modified: October 25, 2019