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Document Code No.: ASM 8-1 (AP)
Department/Issuing Agency: Parks, Planning & Resources/Cultural Resources Division
Effective Date: July 3, 1992
Approved: /s/ Tim Hill
Type of Action: New

Signed document (PDF, 3.29 MB)

1.0 SUBJECT TITLE: Regulations for Historic Preservaton Special Tax Valuation


2.1 To carry out the provisions of Ordinance 9237, RCW 84.26. and Chapter 254.20 WAC which provide special valuation for improvements to historic property.


King County Assessor's Office; King County Board of Appeals and Equalization; and the Parks, Planning and Resources Department.


4.1 King County Code 20.62, Protection and Preservation of Landmarks, Landmark Sites and Districts.

4.2 King County Ordinance 4858 (1980), Protection and Preservation of Landmarks, Landmark Sites and Districts, and King County Ordinance 9237 (1989), Establishing Special Valuation for Historic Properties.


5.1 "Act" is the Special Valuation of Historic Property Act, Chapter 84.26 RCW.

5.2 "Assessor" is the King County Assessor.

5.3 "Commission" is the King County Landmarks Commission, the local review board designated by King County (Ordinance #9237) to carry out the provisions of the Act.

5.4 "Eligible Historic Properties" are all King County landmarks designated and protected under authority of Ordinance #4828 (KCC 20.62).

5.5 "Rehabilitation," as defined in the Act, is the process of returning a property to a state of utility through repair or alteration, which makes possible an efficient, contemporary use while preserving those portions and features of the property which are significant to its architectural and cultural values.

5. 6 "Special Valuation" is a value for property tax purposes, which is calculated by subtracting qualified rehabilitation expenditures from the total assessed value of the property.


6.1 APPLICATIONS: The Commission will receive applications for Special Valuation submitted to it through the Assessor.

6.2 ELIGIBILITY: The Commission will evaluate the applications in accordance with Section 3 of the Act. Each of the criteria must be met in order for a property to qualify for Special Valuation.

6.2.1 Be an eligible historic property as determined by the local legislative authority or King County Landmarks Commission. All King County landmarks shall be considered historic and shall be eligible for Special Valuation.

6.2.2 Be rehabilitated within twenty-four (24) months prior to the Special Valuation. Owners of eligible properties must demonstrate to the Commission, through financial records or other material requested by Historic Preservation (Landmarks Commission) staff, that the property has been substantially rehabilitated as defined in Section 2 (#2) of the Act and these regulations and that the work has been completed within twenty-four (24) months of the application for Special Valuation. The rehabilitation of an eligible property, as defined in these regulations, shall have been completed in accordance with a Certificate of Appropriateness.

6.2.3 Be protected by an agreement between the owner and the Commission as described in Section 5 (#2) of the Act. The owner of the property must enter into an agreement with the Commission that will require the owner to preserve and maintain designated features.

6.2.4 In order to be eligible for Special Valuation, a property must not have been altered in any way that would adversely affect those features that contributes to its significance or its contribution to a historic district or as an individual landmark.

6.2.5 Upon approval of application and signing of the Agreement, the special value goes into effect the following year and tax savings are realized the next year. (Attachment 2 - example of time-line.)


6.3.1 The Commission may determine that an eligible property no longer qualifies for Special Valuation. The Commission will base its determination on noncompliance with Section 6.2 of these policies.

6.3.2 The Commission will provide findings to substantiate disqualification to the Assessor and the owner. The owner shall be notified of the Commission's intent to review the Special Valuation classification of a property. The Assessor and the owner shall receive written notice of any disqualification from Special Valuation.


6.4.1 The Commission will hold a public meeting in conjunction with regularly scheduled meetings, or if necessary a special meeting, and will provide adequate notice to property owners, and place the request for Special Valuation on its agenda no later than forty-five (45) days from receipt of the application from the Assessor.

6.4.2 The Commission will not accept applications that have not been filed with the Assessor, and forwarded by the Assessor to the Commission.

6.4.3 An application for Special Valuation shall be approved or denied by the Commission before December 31 of the calendar year in which the application is made.

6.4.4 The Commission will notify in writing the Assessor and the owner of approval or denial of an application for Special Valuation within ten (10) days of the meeting at which the decision is made.


6.5.1 Any decision of the Commission on an application for classification as historic property eligible for Special Valuation may be appealed to the Superior Court under RCW 34.03.130 in addition to any other remedy at law.

6.5.2 Any decision by the Commission on the disqualification of historic property eligible for Special Valuation, or any other dispute, may be appealed to the King County Board of Appeals and Equalization by July 15 or 30 days after the disqualification, whichever is later, except the denial of an original application.

6.6 FEES:

6.6.1 Fees, to be established by ordinance, shall be required of property owners making application for classification for Special Valuation.



Action By: Property Owner


7.1.1 Property owner files for Special Tax Valuation with the King County Assessor by October 1 preceding the year in which the Special Valuation is sought. (Forms are available from the Assessor, 7th floor, King County Administration Building, Seattle. 98104.)

Action By: Assessor


7.1.2 Application for Special Tax Valuation is transmitted to the Commission by the Assessor within ten (10) days of its receipt.

Action By: Commission


7.1.3 The Commission and/or its staff will contact the applicant to request the following information:
(a) photographs of the exterior and interior of the building prior to and after rehabilitation;

(b) a narrative describing the rehabilitation; and

(c) detailed information about costs incurred, including sufficient documentation to confirm the expenditures. This information can be in the form of receipts, check ledgers or income tax returns.

7.1.4 No later than forty-five (45) days from receipt of application by the Commission, a public meeting will be held by the Commission to consider the application. Such meeting may be held in conjunction with a regular Commission meeting or may be a special meeting.

7.1.5 The Commission will notify in writing the property owner of the approval or denial of the application within ten (10) days of the meeting.

Action By: Property Owner


7.1.6 The property owner signs an agreement (Attachment 1) in which the applicant agrees to comply with the Washington State Advisory Council's adopted rules for the maintenance and rehabilitation of historic properties.

Action By: Commission


7.1.7 The Commission shall forward a copy of the agreement, the application and supporting documentation to the Assessor and the King County Recorder for recording and shall notify the state review board that the property has been approved for Special Valuation.


Action By: Commission


7.2.1 The Commission will notify in writing the property owner of its intention to review the the Special Valuation Classification

7.2.2 The Commission will notify the Assessor and the property owner in writing within ten (10) days of action taken at its meeting whether to disqualify or to continue Special Valuation.


8.1 Property Owner: Files application with Assessor; submits supporting materials, as required, to the Landmarks Commission.

8.2 Assessor: Transmits application to the Commission within ten (10) days after receiving it from property owner.

8.3 Commission: Provides proper notice to property owner and Assessor; sets date for public meeting; considers application according to its rules and procedures; notifies Assessor and property owner and state review board of its decision.


These appendices ae available from the Assessor's Office:

9.1 Special Valuation Agreement.

9.2 Time-line for Special Valuation.