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This webpage provides answers to frequently asked questions. For more detail on CFT policies, please refer to the CFT program manual.

Eligibility and Allowed Uses

Conservation Futures tax levy (CFT) is a local property tax used to conserve open space lands. The term “CFT” is often used to refer to the grant program that can help buy open space in cities and in rural King County.

  • Governmental agencies and eligible historic preservation and nature conservancy nonprofits

 

  • Urban greenspaces
  • Passive recreation parks
  • Natural areas
  • Trails
  • Community gardens
  • Farms (urban and rural)
  • Forests

 

CFT-funded sites are used for passive, low-impact recreation.

Examples:

  • Hiking
  • Walking
  • Gardening
  • Open play (i.e. kicking a ball around, tossing a frisbee)
  • Biking or horse-riding on dispersed trails
  • Picnicking

CFT funding cannot be used for projects that require development of facilities for organized/structured athletic activities.

Examples:

  • Ballfields
  • Golf courses
  • Disc golf courses
  • Mountain biking parks (with high density of trails & constructed course features)
  • Campgrounds
  • Fenced off-leash dog parks

 

A maximum of 15% of the site can be developed with non-vegetative, impervious surfaces. Trails are not included in this calculation, whether soft-surface or paved. Within the 15%, you can build infrastructure that supports the intended passive recreational uses of the site.

Examples:

  • Parking lots
  • Restrooms
  • Picnic shelters
  • Kiosks, signage, trailhead amenities
  • Small playgrounds up to 5,000 square feet
  • Toolshed on a community garden

CFT funding can be used for the following costs:

  • The purchase price for the land & property interests (valued by a reviewed appraisal)
  • Related costs such as title, appraisal, environmental assessments
  • Staff, legal, and administrative costs related to the property acquisition

CFT does not fund development or maintenance costs. This grant cannot be used for condemnation or eminent domain.

In areas that have been under-served with open space investments, CFT may be able to pay for 100% of acquisition costs. See the Match waiver page for more details.

 

There is other funding available for capacity building, planning and advocacy, and programming for parks and open spaces. Please click here for a handout about other funding sources.

Application Information

Go to the Application process page for current materials.

Pages 1-6 of the application are required.

There are two supplemental forms, required only if they apply to your project:

  • “Supplemental Form #1: Match Waiver/Opportunity Area Determination” is only needed if applying for a match waiver
  • “Supplemental Form #2: Non-Governmental Applicants” is only needed if you are a non-governmental organization or individual applying for funding

A site map and a location map are also required. Please refer to the front page of the application for more details.

Yes, both copies are required.

Please submit 20 paper copies of your application form and attachments, stapled and three-hole-punched. Send to:

 Ingrid Lundin

 201 S Jackson St., Suite 5600

Seattle, WA 98104

Send an electronic copy with attachments to Ingrid Lundin. If submitting multiple project applications, please send one email per project.

Typically about $11-12 million in CFT funding is available for awards each year. If King County Council approves adding more CFT funding (backed by the sale of county bonds), we may have a higher amount of funding available for awards this year. This could result in up to a total of $30-35 million in CFT funding awarded to projects that apply during this application round.

 

Match Requirements and the Match Waiver

CFT awards usually require a dollar-for-dollar match.

For example:

Total cost for my organization's urban farm project - $200,000

CFT funding - $100,000

Match required - $100,000

In communities that have been under-served with open space investments, CFT may be able to cover 100% of acquisitions costs. See the Match waiver page for more details.

Match may include any of the following:

  • Cash
  • Land match
    • Cash value of other open space land acquired within the past two years
    • Land match valued by an appraisal

Application Review

                       

 
Early March Applications due

Late March

First review of applications by the Conservation Futures Advisory Committee.
End of March to end of April

Project review sessions: Committee has 20-minute meetings with applicants. Typically, these are at the project site but during the COVID-19 pandemic these will likely all be by teleconference. Applicant usually gives 5-minute presentation, with the rest of the time for discussion and questions.

May to June Committee develops funding recommendations.
End of July Committee recommendation report sent to King County Executive and Council, shared with applicants at that time.
Late November Funding awards approved by King County Council in late fall, typically in late November.

Project Delivery

CFT funding should be spent within two years of when the award is made.

Example:

   
March 2021 You apply for funding 
November 2021 Your CFT award is funded in the 2022 county budget
2022-2023 We establish a funding agreement with you; you work to purchase the land and spend out your award
December 2023 CFT funding should be entirely spent. If not, you will be asked to report back to the Committee and request an extension in early 2024.
 February 2024 Request extension if needed

Please discuss changes with Ingrid Lundin, Conservation Futures Coordinator, by email (Ingrid Lundin) or at 206-477-4578.