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Published on Friday, March 13, 2015

Update on bills that survived cutoff

March 11 was the deadline for bills to pass out of their house of origin. The following is an update on some key bills that survived the cut-off.

Tiny homesHB 1123 is frequently referred to as the “Tiny homes bill” because it intends to promote and authorize very small single family homes and eliminate the authority of cities to preclude them.  Sponsored by Rep. Blake (D-Aberdeen), HB 1123 passed the House 91-7 with an amendment requested by cities. As a reminder, this bill originally eliminated authority to set minimum room sizes in single family residences in cities smaller than 125,000. The amendment modified that bill to retain minimum room sizes but prohibit regulation of minimum gross floor areas. We believe that this retains the tool of regulating room size as a means for cities to address issues of conversion of single family homes to unregulated boarding houses, which were the concerns raised by cities on the underlying bill.

Review of annexations by OFMSB 5363 passed out of the Senate unanimously. The bill aims to improve the process by which OFM reviews and certifies annexations by requiring annexation descriptions and maps to be sent to OFM earlier in the process so they can catch potential errors before the annexation ordinance is adopted.

Eminent domainSB 5363 restricts the use of eminent domain for economic development. It unfortunately passed the Senate on a 30-19 vote. As a reminder, cities have had concerns with these proposals over the years because they aim to restate what we believe is already current constitutional provisions, but in a way that inadvertently introduces confusion and uncertainty into an important piece of law. Please review and provide comments to Carl Schroeder.

Vesting law – On A 29-20 vote, SB 5921 passed the Senate. AWC and several cities opposed this bill because it aims to reverse a series of court decisions dating back many years that found that the legislature occupied the field of vesting and set aside common law. This bill would reintroduce that common law in a way that exacerbates an already confusing area of law. If you have an interest in this issue, please contact Carl Schroeder as there may be continuing conversations on this issue.

Deferral of impact fee paymentSB 5923 mandates that cities allow for deferred collection of impact fees. We’ve written about this bill many times over the last several years. We continue to oppose it and seek amendments if it is to move that would better ensure that cities are ensured repayment of any deferred funds. If you have concerns with this bill please contact your House members.