In a blow against urban sprawl, the Legislature has passed a bill to lessen the impacts of development on natural resources, ecosystems and habitats.

Having earlier passed the Senate, Senate Bill 5042 was passed late Thursday by the House and now goes to Gov. Inslee to be signed into law.

Sponsored by Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline), SB 5042 will protect communities from having to provide costly infrastructure for unplanned development by closing a problematic loophole in permitting.

“If a local government expands its urban growth boundaries into areas like farmland or forests, a permit to develop in that area gets vested under our existing laws, allowing a developer to proceed even if the local government’s decision is later found to be in violation of the Growth Management Act,” Salomon said. “Some counties are using this loophole to expand urban growth areas in violation of their own codes and to annex land that creates urban sprawl while circumventing review until after permits have been vested.”

Salomon’s bill extends the effective date of certain actions by local governments, providing the Growth Management Hearings Board more time to invalidate improper permits and block invalid developments.

“When developers proceed with projects that violate the GMA, taxpayers get stuck funding expensive infrastructure to serve development that skirted the system,” Salomon said. “Taxpayers shouldn’t be stuck paying for unplanned, unreasonable increases in infrastructure.”