Hill Day 2020: New steps to increase housing supply and affordability

Recent studies project an increase of about 360,000 people living in King County by 2040. East and South King County are the areas expected to experience the greatest percentage increases in population by 2040 – which includes Redmond, Bellevue, and Renton.

In order to address our pressing housing need, Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (34th District – Seattle) introduced HB 1923 last year, which was passed by the Legislature in 2019. This new law offers grant funds to cities to assist them in adopting regulations that increase housing supply and affordability. More than 50 cities are participating in the program.

During this year’s legislative session, Rep. Fitzgibbon has introduced new legislation, HB 2343, to take this statewide program a step further. In a meeting at REALTOR® Hill Day in Olympia, Rep. Fitzgibbon explained his goals to a delegation of brokers led by Barb Korducki – Coldwell Banker Danforth, Patti Hill – John L. Scott and Trish Englund – Windermere.

The purpose of the legislation “is to reduce regulatory barriers to get more housing built,” he said.  “We need to help cities reduce duplication and obstacles to getting things done.”

HB 2343 would insulate cities from unnecessary delays caused by legal challenges under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) when they adopt rules for creating more housing options. This encourages a more timely response to the current housing shortage.

In addition, the bill extends the deadline for cites to apply for grant funds and establishes reduced parking requirements for multi-family projects near established transit hubs.

Thank you to all of the attendees for speaking up about housing issues and for making this year’s Hill Day visit a productive one.

Featured in photo: Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (middle) with REALTORS® Kari Zevenbergen and Patti Hill (Photo courtesy of Kari Zevenbergen)