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Published on Friday, February 2, 2018

Military land use compatibility bill hits snag in House, moves in Senate

There was a strange explosion of concern with the military land use compatibility bill over the weekend of January 27. The story we heard is that liberal and conservative activists both decided the bill was giving up too much land use control to the military and promoting militarization of our state. This seemingly low-profile bill suddenly became very controversial.

Cities had some initial concerns about ceding too much control to military base commanders but we don’t believe the bill sponsors have any negative intents. In addition, later drafts of the bill had improvements that decreased our concerns. So far the House bill (HB 2341) has not passed from committee and it may not before cutoff. The Senate bill (SB 6456) did move, but the proposed blanket restriction on allowing incompatible uses was removed.

Some of the progress we made in House negotiations has not yet been reflected in what the Senate moved from committee, particularly our request to soften the requirement to incorporate any joint agreements between cities and neighboring military installations into comprehensive plans. The Senate did remove the provision authorizing the Puget Sound Regional Council to name a military installation as a regional center – a policy dispute that pitted jurisdictions from different sides of the region against each other.

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