Housing as “critical infrastructure”

Housing as “critical infrastructure”

The state Growth Management Act (GMA) remains a primary focus for stakeholders who are trying to address Washington state’s housing shortage and lack of...
GMA’s top-down approach to housing could intensify

GMA’s top-down approach to housing could intensify

Since the early 1990s the state Growth Management Act (GMA) has directed regional and local zoning policy regarding economic development and housing to prevent...
train

High speed rail talks move ahead

For three years, a coalition of public and private groups has explored the idea of an ultra-high-speed rail corridor from Vancouver, B.C. through Seattle...
Study: Rent control would wipe out year’s worth of housing

Study: Rent control would wipe out year’s worth of housing

In recent years, efforts at both the local and state levels have been made to restrict control of rental property by landlords. A proposal...
Businesses groups protest heavy fines for confusing guidelines

Businesses groups protest heavy fines for confusing guidelines

As businesses reopen across the state, many are struggling to comply with what industry advocates argue are inconsistent and ambiguous safety guidelines issued by...
Landlords offer “creative solutions,” support to struggling tenants

Landlords offer “creative solutions,” support to struggling tenants

With an eviction moratorium in place since March 18 and the continued closure of businesses throughout Washington state, landlords are offering a variety of...
Inslee may reopen construction, other activity

Inslee may reopen construction, other activity

Governor Jay Inslee announced in an April 21 address to the state that his March 18 “shelter-in-place” order will extend beyond May 4, though certain activities...
Stakeholders urge discussions on reopening businesses

Stakeholders urge discussions on reopening businesses

Key elected state officials and small business advocates are stressing the need for a state plan to allow businesses to reopen their doors as...

Real estate tax revenue up amid decreased activity, COVID-19 response

Despite decreased real estate activity and social distancing restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the state collected millions more in real estate excise...
No construction order “open season” for squatting, theft, vandalism

No construction order “open season” for squatting, theft, vandalism

As stakeholders continue to discuss how to resume construction activity during the COVID-19 pandemic, builders across the state say criminals are taking advantage of...
Seattle job tax 2.0: “Punitive tax policy”

Seattle job tax 2.0: “Punitive tax policy”

Two years after approving and then quickly repealing a $275-per-employee job tax to fund homelessness programs, the Seattle City Council at its April 6...
Shutdown puts damper on Washington housing market

Shutdown puts damper on Washington housing market

Not only has the state response to COVID-19 paused commercial and residential construction, it has also put considerable restrictions on real estate transactions, and...
Builders say construction is “essential activity”

Builders say construction is “essential activity”

Governor Jay Inslee on March 23 issued a “shelter-in-place” order closing all non-essential business activity in the state, including construction work. Builders are now...
GMA reform: To wait – or not

GMA reform: To wait – or not

Stakeholders are divided over whether state lawmakers should pass HB 2342 sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34) or wait until a possible Growth Management...
houses

You can’t make housing more affordable by making it more expensive

I’ve been a builder for 17 years and have seen many changes in our industry, good, bad, and those with unintended consequences; one of...
Bill would shorten building permit deadlines

Bill would shorten building permit deadlines

As the debate continues over how best to address the cost of housing, building industry stakeholders say that along with housing impact fees, another...
Another run at jobs tax

Another run at jobs tax

Almost two years after opposing a job tax in Seattle that later was rescinded by the City Council with another local business tax possible,...
GMA reform bill lands public hearing

GMA reform bill lands public hearing

One of the ways policymakers have sought to address the state’s housing crisis is by reforming provisions of the state Growth Management Act (GMA)...
houses

It’s time to take another look at GMA

After 30 years it’s long past time to take another look at Washington State’s Growth Management Act (GMA). A recent report by the non-profit...
Bills could restructure housing impact fees

Bills could restructure housing impact fees

Two bills that could affect the structure of local impact fees imposed by cities on new housing construction with the goal of improving  housing...
Legislators plan to tweak urban density law

Legislators plan to tweak urban density law

HB 6334 sponsored by Rep. Jesse Salomon (D-32) and its companion bill HB 2343 introduced by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34) tweak several provisions in...
Critics warn “just cause” eviction bill will backfire

Critics warn “just cause” eviction bill will backfire

HB 2453 sponsored by Rep. Nicole Macri (D-43) would require that landlords evicting a tenant or refusing to renew a lease agreement do so...
apartment buildings

Just Cause laws put neighbors and rental homes at risk

This week, the House Committee on Civil Rights and Judiciary will consider HB 2354, a bill that would institute “Just Cause” provisions for rental...
Effort underway to restore previous real estate excise tax rate

Effort underway to restore previous real estate excise tax rate

The state legislature last year restructured the state real estate excise tax (REET) from a flat 1.28 percent rate to a graduated rate, with...
Bill to reduce driving would hamper economic growth, stakeholders warn

Bill to reduce driving would hamper economic growth, stakeholders warn

A Senate bill aims to reduce the amount of miles Washingtonians drive through amendments to the state Growth Management Act (GMA). SB 6335 introduced...
December REET revenue doubles from last year

December REET revenue doubles from last year

According to data from the state Department of Revenue (DOR), the month before the state’s new law restructuring the real estate excise tax (REET)...
Inslee pushes for LCFS, homelessness funding

Inslee pushes for LCFS, homelessness program funding

Governor Jay Inslee’s Jan. 14 State of the State speech focused primarily on a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) proposal that in past session...
Study highlights Washington’s housing shortage

Study highlights Washington’s housing shortage

When it comes to housing affordability in Washington state, building advocates have sought to highlight the need for greater housing supply to meet growing...
Legislative session 2020: What to expect

Legislative session 2020: What to expect

In recent years, single issues such as basic education funding have competed for attention during Washington state’s legislative sessions and pushed other priorities to...
Future growth in Washington

Future growth in Washington

The Growth Management Act (GMA) has guided local and regional planning since the state legislature approved it in 1990. In the nearly three decades...
Bellingham climate action proposal could cost homeowners big

Bellingham climate action proposal could cost homeowners big

The state legislature this year passed a law requiring that Washington utility providers convert to 100 percent carbon-neutral energy by 2035. Now, the city...
Rent control could prompt housing shortage

Rent control could prompt housing shortage

The average monthly rent for an apartment in Seattle is $2,130, a three percent increase from 2018, according to Rent Café. In July 2016,...
house with tools

SEPA reform needed

Members of the Seattle City Council have been accused of trying to “...gut bedrock environmental protection rules...” because they state what has been obvious...
Planners should rethink growth strategies, says Strong Towns advocate

Planners should rethink growth strategies, says Strong Towns advocate

By 2040, Washington state is estimated to have a population of almost 9 million residents; that’s an increase of 1.4 million from its current...
Reforming the housing development process

Reforming the housing development process

Following a recent  housing summit in Bellevue, the House Local Government Committee held a work session in Federal Way examining the various public policies...
Addressing Washington’s housing affordability crisis

Addressing Washington’s housing affordability crisis

A housing summit in Bellevue involving various stakeholders from the private and public sectors could represent a turning point in a statewide housing crisis...
Navigating Washington’s housing crisis

Navigating Washington’s housing crisis

Housing unaffordability similar to conditions in California was forecasted for Washington state during a July 8 housing summit in Bellevue. Whether or not Washington...
Is California Washington’s housing future?

Is California Washington’s housing future?

Washington is experiencing a statewide housing shortage problem that is unlikely to change anytime soon, according to Washington Center for Real Estate Research (WCRER)...
Urban density bill signed by Inslee

Urban density bill signed by Inslee

Governor Jay Inslee has signed E2SHB 1923 sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34) into law – a bill that supporters hope will increase housing...
Senate approves urban housing bill

Senate approves urban housing bill

The Washington Senate on April 13 voted 33-12 in favor of a House bill intended to boost the housing supply within urban areas in...
The long and short of subdivisions

The long and short of subdivisions

A Senate proposal intended to increase the maximum number of units within a short subdivision continues to advance through the legislature. On April 2,...
In search of balanced approach to housing affordability

In search of balanced approach to housing affordability

A recurring debate during this year’s legislative session concerns the state’s appropriate role regarding local housing supply and density, which can be largely determined...
Lawmakers embrace urban density proposal

Lawmakers embrace urban density proposal

A Democrat proposal to boost housing within urban areas received bipartisan support in a 66-30 house vote on Mar. 13. SSHB 1923 sponsored by...
Housing proposals ignite debate over local control

Housing proposal ignites debate over local control

The Washington Senate voted 38-10 on Mar. 11 in favor of SB 5812 requiring that cities and counties adopt ordinances and regulations allowing accessory...
State Senate approves tiny home bill

State Senate approves tiny home bill

The Washington Senate voted overwhelming 44-2 in favor of a bill allowing cities and towns to create ordinances regulating tiny house communities, while prohibiting...
Cottages on rural lands

Cottages on rural lands

As the state legislature considers proposals for detached accessory dwelling units within the urban growth areas (UGA), legislators are also looking to expand those...
Same space, more housing

Same space, more housing

As a Senate proposal to increase the housing supply advances, a separate House bill calls for a similar solution by allowing cities and counties...
The push for minimum density standards

The push for minimum density standards

A frequent observation made by builders operating in the central Puget Sound area when discussing housing affordability is the varying housing density standards created...
The year of GMA reform?

The year of GMA reform?

A recurring criticism of the state Growth Management Act (GMA) is that its regulations artificially restrict housing supply and stymie rural economic development. Two...
Taking mass timber mainstream

Taking mass timber mainstream

The Washington State Building Code Council took a major step last week toward broader use of cross-laminated timber (CLT), or “mass timber, in building...
Seattle housing construction

Seattle’s housing market cools

Seattle’s housing prices have declined at one of the fastest rates in the country over the late summer into the fall months. Coupled with...

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