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Published on Friday, January 22, 2016

Proposal for new unfunded Growth Management Act mandate emerges

A new proposal, SB 6420, adds substantial new requirements for buildable lands reports and expands this unfunded mandate to the entire state. The bill has been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Government Operations Committee on Thursday, January 28. Sponsored by the chair of that Committee, Sen. Pam Roach (R-Auburn), this proposal goes even further than those we have opposed in recent years.

Among other items, it puts a hard requirement to “come into compliance with this chapter” rather than adopt measures that are “reasonably likely to” address differences between planned and actual residential densities. This requirement would be triggered even if it were market forces rather than local ordinances that were causing cities to fall short on residential density goals. Another unworkable provision would require us to consider any parcel, no matter how large, unavailable for development if there was a structure on it valued at $13,000 or more.

When cities are not in compliance with this bill, the penalty provision that makes cities ineligible for growth management grants from the Department of Commerce is not a big deal since the Legislature has failed to provide funding for grants of significance anyways.