Rep. Jacobsen introduces bipartisan legislation to reduce barriers to affordable housing

Washington’s affordable housing shortage could get a boost from two new pieces of bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Cyndy Jacobsen.

House Bill 1401 would empower all cities and counties to adopt a simple, low-cost, expedited permit process for development of single-family, duplex, triplex, or accessory dwelling units with less than 1,801 square feet per unit.

The expedited process is designed to lower costs and simplify the building of housing units tailored to low- to moderate-income households in urban areas.

“We need legislation that gives more control to local governments and allows them to make permitting decisions based on their own needs and circumstances,” said Jacobsen, R-Puyallup. “This simple bill is a real solution to help pave the way for additional affordable housing options for the people of Washington.”

Jacobsen also filed House Bill 1402 this week, which would give cities and counties the flexibility to adjust urban boundaries to include different or more land so developers and home builders would have additional area to work with.

Currently, the Growth Management Act artificially restricts land use outside of urban boundaries. This legislation would allow local municipalities to redraw those boundaries if they aren’t working. That would open more land to be used for additional affordable housing units.

“There is a lot of usable property throughout our state that is not being developed for housing because of current planning statutes,” said Jacobsen. “The governor often talks about the need to free up more land for housing by removing government barriers, and that’s exactly what these bills would do.”

“We have a housing shortage in Washington, and we aren’t going to fix it all in a day,” added Jacobsen. “But we can pass commonsense legislation that starts making a difference now. Both bipartisan bills would remove some of the obstacles to affordable housing and give more Washingtonians the opportunity to own a home.”

The 2023 legislative session began on Jan. 9 and is schedule to run for 105 consecutive days.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov