Housing costs have skyrocketed, not just here on the Eastside, but around the state. As we all know, our district is seeing the effect of higher home prices, with older neighbors on fixed incomes as well as young families being priced out.
One of our top legislative priorities this year has been growing the housing stock so that families can find more affordable places to live. This year’s housing legislation strikes a balance that encourages smart growth in the places that can accommodate it best. Here are a few highlights that have passed the Legislature:
- HB 1110, the “middle housing” bill, will allow more duplexes and fourplexes in cities around the state and help meet the great need for starter homes and more affordable options for families.
- HB 1337 makes it easier for homeowners to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on their property. ADUs include cottages as well as attached living units. This can put small homes within reach for more people who have been priced out of the market—from young families to elders hoping to age in place in their family’s residence. Often local building codes and zoning create barriers to this option, and this bill will help streamline the process.
- SB 5045 will help by incentivizing homeowners to rent ADUs to low-income households. The bill allows King County to offer property tax exemptions for ADUs rented to low-income families.
- HB 1181 requires that at least 10% of residential land in cities is zoned for multifamily housing. It also requires new environmental standards to help ensure that our communities are prepared for the effects of climate change.
- SB 5290 will streamline local permit review processes for interior construction projects.
- SB 5198, which has been signed into law by the governor, gives the residents of manufactured home communities more rights when their landlords want to sell.
- Our capital construction budget includes significant, historic funding to increase the supply of affordable housing, including $400 million for the Housing Trust Fund, the most in state history.
- We have also included provisions in our budgets to streamline the permitting process so that new construction can be built more quickly and with fewer bureaucratic delays.
This year marks the most significant progress at the state level to increase affordable housing and to provide local governments with the tools to grow in a targeted way that helps relieve the crunch that too many families are feeling right now. Thank you to all the community members who made your voices heard in Olympia to make this progress happen. It takes a village!
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As always, please feel free to reach out to my office directly with any questions or concerns. Take care!
Senator, 45th Legislative District
Deputy Majority Leader