Recommendations May Amend the Growth Management Act

Last session, the legislature created an advisory committee (AC) to examine the impact of land use decisions on climate change. The committee concluded its final meeting, is in the process of creating its final recommendations, and has issued draft recommendations for policy and funding changes. There were some significant decisions.

The AC voted to recommend amendments to the Growth Management Act (GMA). The amendments would include reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and foreign oil dependence; and create a new goal for these categories. There are also changes recommended to the State Environmental Policy Act, transportation planning, developer incentives, infrastructure funding and transfer of development rights.

Notably, the AC rejected a proposal that there be a five year moratorium on lawsuits related to the new GMA goals. The rejected proposal would have amended certain goals with the language, “Nothing in this goal authorizes the Growth Management Hearings Board or superior court to hear petitions alleging noncompliance with this new section of this act for a period of five years.” This is a significant policy decision.

The AIA|WA and other groups pointed out that the GMA is already very litigious due to its vague requirements. Adding a new requirement that can be litigated will lead to expensive and lengthy lawsuits at a time when the state and local governments should be putting their resources into policy development and the actual planning decisions.

If you would like more information about the advisory committee’s policy and funding draft recommendations, or have comments, please contact us at
info@aiawa.org or 360.943.6012.

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