2023 Legislative Session
The 2023 Legislative Session is the first in the next biennium and will last for 105 days, making it a “long” session. Before they adjourn on April 23rd, lawmakers are tasked with passing operating, capital, and transportation budgets for the next two years. In addition, legislators will hold committee proceedings and determining which priorities must be addressed by the legislature as a whole. The Building Industry of Washington (BIAW), your statewide organization, is paying close attention to current bill proposals that address several items that impact the building industry and the ability to create affordable housing for all economic segments of society. These bills cover topics like:
- The ability to build “middle housing” in many areas through rezoning and rule changes.
- Eliminating burdensome minimum parking requirements and focusing on increasing housing units near transit centers.
- Holding local jurisdictions accountable for extensive permit timelines and the barriers they create.
- Addressing State Building Council statutory authority and structure.
- …and more.
Members can follow the legislative process more closely by checking in frequently on BIAW’s Legislative Action Center page.
Local Jurisdiction Information
The Government Affairs Committee at Olympia Master Builders is your local watchdog for potential policy action at the county, municipal, port, district, and any other local government level. This is where legislation gets interpreted and turned into local rules that directly impact our membership’s ability to create and shape the community in which we live, work, and play. Issues that may come up at these levels may include critical areas ordinances, tree preservation policy, habitat conservation plans, land use and zoning restrictions, and more. Olympia Master Builders serves all jurisdictions within the following areas:
Thurston County, Lewis County, Mason County, Pacific County, and Gray’s Harbor
These jurisdictions cover all land use policy, codes, restrictions, etc. that apply to areas outside those designated as within city limits or other boundaries of districts within the county. Though they are significantly responsible for those areas designated as “Urban Growth Areas” just outside the city limits of all the major cities, there is often cooperation between municipal and county governments in these areas. Currently, County governments have been tasked with revisiting their county codes and policies to streamline and modernize certain aspects, and create a less cumbersome and more standard process to pave the way for more affordable housing. This process may impact our members in many ways including:
- By creating reasonable use exceptions within the county’s Critical Areas Code and making it easier to complete smaller projects.
- By creating a more consistent and clear permitting process.
- By taking up requests to rezone specific areas to better fit a use that seems logical in the context of the area’s needs.
- By ensuring their facilities and departments are fully staffed and operating efficiently.
Information for the five counties that Olympia Master Builders covers can be found at:
City Level Government
Olympia Master Builders also advocates at the municipal level. This is important because Washington’s Growth Management Act posits a strategy of focused growth in urban centers and close to transit hubs. It is the stance of OMB that the Growth Management Act is currently inadequate to even meet this stated goal, and that the GMA should be revisited and updated to better reflect more modern planning knowledge. OMB’s Government Affairs Committee advocates that urban centers such as Olympia, Tumwater, Lacey, Shelton, Centralia, and Chehalis can better address the issue of affordable housing by focusing on items such as:
- Growth Management Act flexibility, updates, and reform.
- Eliminating impact fees.
- Creation of more inclusionary zoning.
- Streamlining processes such as permitting and review.
More information, including rules and regulations on development and the permitting process, can be found at many of the city websites by searching for the specific geographical area of interest.
GENERAL INFORMATION & RESOURCES
2018 Government Affairs Annual Report
NEW! 2018 Mazama Pocket Gopher Consultant List
A directory of private biologists in the region who have successfully completed the 2018 USFWS Mazama Pocket Gopher Protocol and Mound Identification Training.
The Limited Effectiveness of Inclusionary Zoning
Households Priced Out of Homeownership (Olympia Metro-Area)
2018 Building & Impact Fees (Olympia Metro-Area)