Washington can have Trees and Housing!

Several bills in the Washington State Legislature this year are pushing for increasing middle housing in cities across the state. There is a divergence of views in how to do this. We have serious housing needs, especially for low income and affordable housing. As we add housing, we need to keep our cities livable and healthy and increase climate resiliency. This includes protecting our existing trees and growing trees in our urban forests and green spaces.

We urge you to support Representative Gerry Pollet’s bill HB 1981 – concerning land use planning, which would:

  • Continue city and county planning for increased housing being done through the Comprehensive Planning Process in the Growth Management Act
  • Continue housing expansion while also addressing infrastructure needs for things like schools, police and fire service, water and sewer lines, electricity and transportation
  • Require city and counties to address displacement and affordable housing
  • Lots over 5000 square feet within 1/4 mile of frequent transit service in cites over 25,000 would be required to allow fourplexes or townhouses to be built.
  • Adds a Housing Livability Element to Comprehensive Plans including protecting and growing urban tree canopy and increasing greenspace.
    Would provide $25 million dollars to help city and county governments plan for growth and concurrency in infrastructure needs.

Scroll down to send an email urging legislators to pass HB 1981

Several other alternative bills (HB 1782 / SB 5670 – creating additional middle housing near transit and in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing) are being strongly pushed by development and real estate interests.

  • Would essentially end the 30-year-old old Growth Management Act urban village planning process which concentrated growth in areas with more dense housing and necessary services like grocery stores, drug stores, restaurants, libraries, post offices, banks, health care and the like within walking distances or frequent transit.
  • Proposes mandatory middle housing (up to sixplexes within 1/2 mile of a major transit stop and up to fourplexes on all other single family lots) being allowed in all single-family zones in cities over 20,000
  • Would overrule local oversight and control by locally elected officials
    prohibits any review or appeals under the State Environmental Policy Act and the Growth Management Act
  • Does not specifically address how to increase low income or affordable housing besides allowing developers to build more housing
  • Are a developers dream list of how to build without local oversight and allows them to maximize their profit.