OLYMPIA — Whether through loosening permits, zoning or other regulations, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers wants to make it easier to build homes and condos in Washington.
Lawmakers showed solidarity on the issue Tuesday when they collectively announced support for 13 bills aimed at increasing Washington’s housing stock.
Proposals include measures to speed up the process of obtaining permits to build housing and make it easier to develop “mother-in-law” units in states where a housing shortage pushes up the cost of renting and owning a home.
“We’ve been saying for years that Washington State has a supply shortage,” said State Rep. Andrew Barkis, R-Olympia. Meaningful impact, getting the product off the ground and people moving into their homes, keys in hand. “
SeaTac Rep. Mia Gregerson said Washington currently needs about 150,000 housing units and will need 1 million units over the next 20 years.
The Bulletin Room Weeks into the legislative session, housing is already a top priority.
On January 25, one of the first bills passed by the House of Representatives was related to housing. House Bill 1046, if it also passes the Senate, would raise income limits for tenants living in affordable housing funded by the Public Housing Authority.
A key component of Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed budget is borrowing $4 billion to fund a housing push, and lawmakers are also considering measures to limit rent increases and require that payments be issued when rents rise sharply. More notifications.
Gregson acknowledged disagreements over other proposed policies related to housing.
“We recognize that there is disagreement, even opposition, on other housing-related policies,” Gregson said. “But today we are a united front because … how big this crisis is and how much Washington families depend on us .”
One proposal would allow parcels larger than 1,500 square feet to be subdivided so new housing can be built, while another would essentially set deadlines for reviewing permits and require local governments to refund a percentage if requirements are not met The license fee for that deadline. Another bill would exempt first-time homebuyers from the real estate excise tax when they buy a townhouse or apartment.
“It’s good that a lot of people want to move to Washington,” said Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds, chairman of the House Housing Committee. “They’re going to come whether we’re building houses or not, so we need to make sure we’re building houses.”