This page provides an overview of development agreements for local governments in Washington State, including examples from cities and counties.
A development agreement is a voluntary contract between a local jurisdiction and a person who owns or controls property within the jurisdiction, detailing the obligations of both parties and specifying the standards and conditions that will govern development of the property. Although the agreements are voluntary, once made they are binding on the parties and their successors.
A development agreement provides assurances to the developer that the development regulations that apply to the project will not change during the term of the agreement. The city or county may require conditions to mitigate project impacts, as well as clarification about project phasing and timing of public improvements. RCW 36.70B.170 describes the type of development standards that are appropriate in a development agreement.
Local jurisdictions must hold a public hearing prior to approving a development agreement and may only impose impact fees, dedications, mitigation measures, and standards as authorized by other laws. RCW 36.70B.180 addresses vested rights under a development agreement.
- Gig Harbor Development Agreement (2000) - A particularly useful template for a development agreement in Washington
- Bellevue Draft WR-SRI 120th LLC Development Agreement (2009) - Phased master development plan for 36 acre mixed use "catalyst" project located in area targeted for revitalization and future light rail service
- Issaquah Highlands Drive Transit Oriented Development Agreement (2007) - Agreement for 155-unit transit oriented development project with affordable housing
- Mill Creek Development Agreement for Town Center, Phase III (2005) - Nicely done, well organized agreement to assure development of a site consistent with the town center master plan
- Redmond Development with Microsoft Corporation (2007) - Development of a secondary Microsoft campus in an area subject to a building square footage cap. Addresses density transfer, transportation demand management, and transportation improvements.
- Snohomish County and Community Transit Development Agreement for Swift BRT (2009) - Bus Rapid Transit station design features, an "essential public facility"
Large or Complex Projects
- Black Diamond The Villages MPD Development Agreement (2011) - 1,200 acre phased, mixed use planned community, includes affordable housing targets and significant trails and open space
- Des Moines Development Agreement (2007) - Redevelopment of a blighted area into an urban community with significant commercial development and regional transportation linkages
- Everett Riverfront Redevelopment Agreement (2009) - Cleanup and redevelopment of riverfront brownfield sites into commercial and residential uses
- Issaquah Lakeside Industries Development Agreement (2012) - 123-acre master planned community in the form of an urban village. Involves reclamation of mineral resources site, hillside development, and affordable housing requirements.
- Redmond Development Agreement with Group Health Cooperative (2011) - Approving development agreement for property owned by Group Health to turn into a planned mixed use development with 1.4 million sq. ft. of commercial space
- Tukwila Development Agreement for Tukwila South Development (2009) - 10 million square foot master-planned, mixed use development adjacent to regional shopping mall
Long-term development agreements sometimes require changes as market conditions or other conditions change. Similarly, a developer may need to terminate an agreement if unable to secure financing, or if he wants to do something entirely different with the property. Either party may seek to terminate an agreement if the terms of the agreement have not been met. Most agreements provide some flexibility for such changes, if the parties agree.
- Bremerton Termination Development Agreement for Port Blakely Properties (2011) - Terminated agreement at request of the developer who wanted to pursue different development of property
- King County and Issaquah Third Amendment to Grand Ridge Joint Agreement (2010) - Three-party development agreement amendment involving expanded urban growth area, additional open space, and transfer of development rights
- Vancouver Development Agreement Extension between the city and Dale A Haagen and Jaana H. Haagen (2012) - Staff report and amendment extending expiration date of prior agreement because of economic uncertainty