Government Affairs Monthly Update

Ryan Makinster

Ryan Makinster is the BIA’s Government Affairs Director. Ryan has more than 18 years of non-profit administration, public relations, communications, and government relations experience. You can reach Ryan directly via email or call 360.694.0933.

The Government Affairs Committee meets on the second Monday of the month in the BIA office at 3:30 pm.

Urban Opportunities

On May 9, 2019, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law E2SHB 1923, legislation to increase residential building capacity in cities. The bill is designed to address the statewide housing shortage by encouraging cities planning under the Growth Management Act (GMA) to facilitate new housing. The new law goes into effect July 28, 2019.

To support cities taking actions specified by the bill, E2SHB 1923 establishes a Growth Management Planning and Environmental Review Fund. With the creation of this new fund, local governments meeting certain criteria may seek grants or loans from the Department of Commerce for the costs associated with implementation of this act.  E2SHB 1923 Guide

Commerce is authorized to award grants of up to $100,000 to cities with a population larger than 20,000 that take either of two actions; 1. those designed to address housing supply shortages or 2. develop a housing action plan.

In addition, E2SHB 1923 protects local governments from certain legal appeals under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) or legal challenges under GMA when they adopt any of the actions specified in the new law to accommodate new housing. With only one exception, these actions are exempt from SEPA appeals and legal challenges under GMA if adopted by April 1, 2021.

Also, a project action pertaining to residential, multifamily, or mixed-use development where impact fees are paid is exempt from SEPA appeals related to transportation impacts, provided the project does not present significant adverse impacts to the state-owned transportation system.

And finally, until July 1, 2029, a proposed development may not be challenged in administrative or judicial appeals for noncompliance with SEPA, so long as a complete application has vested and sets aside or requires the occupancy of at least 10% of
the dwelling units for low-income households (as considered affordable by a city’s housing programs).

We will be reaching out to local jurisdictions to take advantage of these changes and start implementing the common sense fixes to address the housing shortages present I our more urban communities.

Note: Thank you to Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties for the valuable summary of this program.

“Is Clark County Addicted to Growth?”

A recent article published in The Columbian asks this very question, but is it even the right question to ask?

This narrative has, over the years, risen to the surface many times and although the premise and underlying assumptions are not substantiated, continues to find traction with anti-development crowds, environmentalists and NIMBYs.

The beginning of the article reinforces, the “It’s developments fault.” mind set through select quotes and little rebuttal. Although the cliché “build it and they will come” seems on its face an easily digestible truth, it has no basis in reality.

The correct question should be “Is Clark County Addicted to ever increasing revenue?” And the answer is yes. But that does not fall squarely on the shoulders of the development community, our local elected officials or jurisdictions.

My Op-Ed titled “Don’t Blame Developers for the Burden of Growth” although too short to refute all of the misconceptions being bandied about, hits the highlights and is a good start for any conversation we have on the subject.

Please take a moment to read it and reach out to me with any question or ideas. The only way to counteract this false narrative is to tell the true story ourselves.