January 31, 2017
LEAD: Legislative Education, Advocacy & Direction
2017 Edition 4

Week Four of Session 2017

GMA Bills

Bill introductions are starting to slow now that the first bill cutoff of February 17th looms. Hence, we know most of the bills that impact the Growth Management Act (GMA), which will be the focus of this week's LEAD article. Next week's article will provide some focus on SEPA bills.

Some GMA bills are clearly not going to get a hearing or pass from their committee of origin. For example, HB 1794, which would repeal the GMA, is not going to pass. The same can be said of HB 1101, despite the fact it got a hearing. HB 1101 modifies the population growth criteria for those jurisdictions required to plan under the GMA and removes the option for counties to choose to plan under the GMA. These bills are too sweeping to get through the House. Yet, there are some bills that work about the edges of the GMA that are of interest.

HB 1089 revises the GMA update timelines regarding Kitsap County. It requires Kitsap County, and the cities within it, to review and, if needed, revise its comprehensive plan and development regulations no later than June 30, 2015, and every eight years thereafter. This bill was heard on January 26th. The APA-Washington Chapter's position on HB 1089 is support. 

HB 1017 addresses the siting of schools and school facilities, particularly those outside the urban growth boundary. This bill will not pass in its current form, but the importance of the issue was apparent when the House Environment Committee held a two-hour hearing just on this bill during the first week of session. Stakeholders are continuing to meet to reach a compromise. The Chapter's Legislative Committee (LC) has formed a School Siting Subcommittee which will review school siting bills as they come up, and plans to evaluate and possible refine the chapter's position on the topic, and potentially develop school siting recommendations to share with the OSPI and school districts. 

HB 1225 requires planning for the availability of mineral resources under the GMA. In sum:

  • Adds the maintenance and enhancement of mineral resource lands and industries as a component of the natural resource goals of the GMA.
  • Narrows the scope of commercial mineral resource activities incompatible with residential development that must be noted in development permits, building permits, plats, and short plats in or near mineral resource lands designated under the GMA.
  • Requires cities and counties to designate all property that has long-term significance for mineral extraction as mineral resource lands.

This bill had its hearing on January 24th, and has bi-partisan support. The Chapter's position is to support two of the provisions noted above while expressing concerns with limiting the plat notice to blasting operations because other mining operations -such as crushing- also generate external impacts and should be included on the notice. 

There are other bills that concern the GMA, and more bills will be introduced that would impact the GMA. The LC will continue to monitor and track them as the session continues. 

During the week of January 30th through February 3rd the following bills of interest to the Chapter have hearings:

HB 1681: Encouraging the annexation of unincorporated urban growth areas is scheduled for a hearing on February 2nd in the House Environment Committee, and the Chapter's position is to support HB 1681 and its companion bill SB 5212.

SB 5385: Creating a fossil fuel carbon pollution tax is scheduled for a hearing on February 2nd in the Senate Energy Committee; the LC is reviewing the bill to set forth a position at the hearing.

SB 5445: Prohibiting the use of eminent domain for economic development is scheduled for a vote in the Senate Law and Justice Committee on February 1st and its companion bill in the House HB 1454 is scheduled for a hearing on January 31st in the House Judiciary Committee; the LC will continue to monitor this bill as it has in past years when similar bills were introduced. 

HB 1504: Concerning rail dependent uses for purposes of the growth management act and related development regulations is scheduled for a hearing on January 31st in the House Environment Committee, and the Senate companion bill SB 5517 is scheduled for a hearing on February 2nd in the Senate Local Government Committee; the LC has reviewed the bill and recommends opposing it at this time.

HB 1609: Concerning small parcels of land used for agricultural or rural development purposes is scheduled for a hearing on January 31st in the House Environment Committee; the LC is reviewing the bill to set forth a position at the hearing. 

HB 1683: Addressing sewer service within urban growth areas is scheduled for a hearing on February 2nd in the House Environment Committee; the LC has reviewed the bill and recommends monitoring it at this time.  

HB 1740: Using the state environmental policy act to encourage development that is consistent with forward-looking growth plans is scheduled for a hearing on February 2nd in the House Environment Committee; the LC has reviewed the bill and supports the concept with some concerns about ambiguous and confusing language in some sections.

American Planning Association, Washington Chapter
office@washington-apa.org  206-682-7436  www.washington-apa.org