Two monumental housing policies that seek to get Washington state building again passed the state House of Representatives this week.
Both bills were authored by Rep. Andrew Barkis, R-Olympia.
“From the first moment I walked into the Legislative building to be sworn in as a state representative in 2016 – to today – I’ve been working extremely hard on bringing forward true solutions to our housing affordability crisis,” said Barkis. “It takes several years to work monumental policy, such as these bills, and get them through the legislative process. We are one step closer to getting Washington state building again.”
House Bill 2673 seeks to provide cities and counties with an exemption for infill development from the state’s Environmental Policy Act, which for decades has delayed or blocked housing construction. Under this bill, if there’s already been an environmental statement completed during the initial planning process, builders wouldn’t have to go through the process multiple times. This bill passed the House chamber unanimously with a vote of 98-0.
House Bill 2687 seeks to require cities and counties to plan for affordable housing under the Growth Management Act. This bill links countywide planning policies with the comprehensive plans for planning jurisdictions, including metrics to look at what types of housing units are needed in a specific area. This bill passed the House chamber with a vote of 95-3.
“The goal of these bills is to streamline the development process for builders and eliminate any redundancies,” continued Barkis. “It’s time to make housing more affordable and attainable throughout this state. My bills are bipartisan solutions taking us a step forward in filling some of the gaps in our housing supply shortage.”
Both bills now head to the Senate for further consideration.
The 60-day legislative session is scheduled to adjourn March 12.