Senate bill aims to protect communities from unplanned development

Sen. Jesse Salomon

Permits issued to develop farmland could be withdrawn if a planned project would violate the state Growth Management Act (GMA), under legislation sponsored by 32nd District Sen. Jesse Salomon. The 32nd District includes portions of Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.

Senate Bill 5042 would protect communities from having to provide costly infrastructure for unplanned development by closing a loophole in permitting.

“The way it works now, once a permit is vested a developer has a right to develop a proposed project even if the local law that allowed the vesting is subsequently found to be in violation of the GMA,” Salomon said in a news release issued Monday. “Some counties are using this loophole to expand their urban growth areas in violation of their own codes and annex land in a way that creates urban sprawl and circumvents review until after permits have been vested.”

Salomon’s bill extends the effective date of certain actions by local governments, providing the Growth Management Hearings Board more time to invalidate improper permits and block invalid developments.

“Right now, developers can proceed with projects that violate the GMA and stick taxpayers with the burden of funding expensive infrastructure to serve development that skirted the system,” Salomon said. “This bill will protect taxpayers from having to pay unexpected and unreasonable increases in infrastructure costs.”

After several years of discussion, SB 5042 passed out of the Senate on Wednesday and now awaits action in the House.

  1. This will deter growth in rural areas and put pressure on urban areas for more growth. My opinion is we are full in our urban environments like Edmonds.

  2. I wonder how long it will take for us to all realize the reason for much of our high housing prices directly relate to the passage of the growth management act? And it is THE reason politicians in every city in Washington are looking to increase densities… more apartments… duplexes on single family lots etc.

  3. Most people do not realize that low density urban development costs all of us taxpayers much more money because of much less efficient, spread out roads, utilities and essential public services than well planned, more compact development. It also creates a much larger, permanent carbon emitting energy footprint. Our planet is rapidly reaching the point of no return in dealing with crisis level climate change. We don’t dare return to the “good old days” of urban sprawl. We do need to make affordable housing a much bigger priority in managing our future growth, but it can be done.

  4. Thanks for this, Jesse! New suburban sprawl costs us all far too much in both taxes and carbon pollution. Count me very glad to see this crazy loophole win Washington’s Growth Management Act finally being closed after 15 years.

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