Improving Regulatory Environment for Housing and Land Use

Again, the state of Washington legislators have brought forth proposed legislation that the real estate community is opposed to, please read on for clarification:

Land use and environmental regulations can add significant costs to housing and prevent local governments from accommodating growth as envisioned by the GMA (Growth Management Act).

Recent discussions over land use regulatory reforms have been laregly driven by the issue of climate change, and how it is addressed at all levels of government. The climate change issue implicates a holistic approach to planning for land use, transportation and housing issues that are important to REALTORS®. We agree with the need to accommodate growth in urban areas by improving affordable housing choices in cities, ensuring adequate funding for basic infrastructure, providing workforce housing near job centers, and improving transportation options. At the same time, climate change poses significant risks of reducing buildable land or creating new permitting requirements, costs, and appeals, all of which increase the costs of housing and commercial properties.

REALTORS® support measures that wil reinforce the principles of the Growth Management Act to ensure the natural environment as well as an adequate supple of buildable land served with infrastructure, in close proximity to job centers and access to trasnportation options and transit hubs; REALTORS® also support measures that allow rural development that reflects local rural character.

Key Points:

  • Necessary basic infrastructure (roads, sewer, and water) and water supply must be available to accommodate growth, create vibrant communities and address climate change.
  • Streamlining the land use planning and permitting process helps ensure the availability of buildable land and to provide affordable housing and job choices; we oppose proposals that impose mandates or add costs or uncertainly to the development process.
  • Good intentions on issues such as climate change should not be allowed to generate unnecessary new rules and regulations that add to the cost of housing and stifle economic activity.
  • REALTORS® oppose amending the GMA to add climtae change as a mandatory element or goal; the GMA already supports actions to address climate change.
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