Legislative Updates – Week of 1/8/24

2024 Session: Connecting Communities

The legislative session begins January 8!  We’ll be here each week to give you a run through of the latest updates and calls to action.  This first week, we’re presenting our campaign: Connecting Communities.

Whether you live in a farmhouse, a townhome or a high-rise, you deserve to live in a vibrant, connected community. Rapidly increasing housing costs across Washington – in big cities and small towns – are increasing the pressure to sprawl outward, threatening our farmlands and wildlife habitats.

Futurewise’s 2024 Connecting Communities legislative agenda is fighting sprawl by promoting growth in our existing cities and towns, and protecting our rural lands from overdevelopment.  Read more about our top priorities:

Promoting Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) 

Futurewise is leading a coalition of environmental advocacy groups, housing providers, and labor unions advocating for TOD legislation that prioritizes equity and affordability. Our advocacy is rooted in the following core principles:

  • Increase housing capacity near transit.
  • Ensure housing affordability near transit while offering flexibility to local jurisdictions for implementation.
  • Support community-led equitable transit-oriented development.
  • Balance rapid implementation with local government flexibility.
  • Reduce barriers to construction of new housing.
  • Ensure compliance statewide.

Securing Funding for Multi-Modal Transportation 

In 2023, Futurewise helped pass HB 1181 to add a climate element to the Growth Management Act. This year, legislators must allocate funding for healthy, equitable, and environmentally-friendly transportation options like more bike lanes and improved public transit.

Preventing Sprawl in Rural Lands 

Rural communities across Washington are facing the pressure to increase development on farmland and wildlife habitat. Unmitigated growth threatens our local food systems, overdraws limited water resources, and reduces valuable wildlife habitat, including the riparian ecosystems that sustain our local salmon runs.

Futurewise is expecting legislation to drop that would weaken state Growth Management Act (GMA), and threatens to increase urban development in rural areas. There are a few bills already introduced that we’re concerned about:

  1. SB 5834 would allow counties to add farmland to the urban growth area, threatening conversion to subdevelopments
  2. HB 1133 and HB 2126 would allow development of detached ADUs in rural areas (see this blog post for more info)

We’re also anticipating legislation to be introduced that would extend water and sewer service outside of the urban growth area, raising costs for rate payers and increasing suburban sprawl.

Housing Affordability 

We’re thrilled to support our partners at Washington Low Income Housing Alliance in their advocacy to pass legislation for rent stabilization in Washington. We know that our fight for housing affordability must prioritize building more homes for people to live in AND making sure that people can afford to stay in their homes.

Legislative Updates – Week of 1/8/24

2024 Session: Connecting Communities

The legislative session begins January 8!  We’ll be here each week to give you a run through of the latest updates and calls to action.  This first week, we’re presenting our campaign: Connecting Communities.

Whether you live in a farmhouse, a townhome or a high-rise, you deserve to live in a vibrant, connected community. Rapidly increasing housing costs across Washington – in big cities and small towns – are increasing the pressure to sprawl outward, threatening our farmlands and wildlife habitats.

Futurewise’s 2024 Connecting Communities legislative agenda is fighting sprawl by promoting growth in our existing cities and towns, and protecting our rural lands from overdevelopment.  Read more about our top priorities:

Promoting Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) 

Futurewise is leading a coalition of environmental advocacy groups, housing providers, and labor unions advocating for TOD legislation that prioritizes equity and affordability. Our advocacy is rooted in the following core principles:

  • Increase housing capacity near transit.
  • Ensure housing affordability near transit while offering flexibility to local jurisdictions for implementation.
  • Support community-led equitable transit-oriented development.
  • Balance rapid implementation with local government flexibility.
  • Reduce barriers to construction of new housing.
  • Ensure compliance statewide.

Securing Funding for Multi-Modal Transportation 

In 2023, Futurewise helped pass HB 1181 to add a climate element to the Growth Management Act. This year, legislators must allocate funding for healthy, equitable, and environmentally-friendly transportation options like more bike lanes and improved public transit.

Preventing Sprawl in Rural Lands 

Rural communities across Washington are facing the pressure to increase development on farmland and wildlife habitat. Unmitigated growth threatens our local food systems, overdraws limited water resources, and reduces valuable wildlife habitat, including the riparian ecosystems that sustain our local salmon runs.

Futurewise is expecting legislation to drop that would weaken state Growth Management Act (GMA), and threatens to increase urban development in rural areas. There are a few bills already introduced that we’re concerned about:

  1. SB 5834 would allow counties to add farmland to the urban growth area, threatening conversion to subdevelopments
  2. HB 1133 and HB 2126 would allow development of detached ADUs in rural areas (see this blog post for more info)

We’re also anticipating legislation to be introduced that would extend water and sewer service outside of the urban growth area, raising costs for rate payers and increasing suburban sprawl.

Housing Affordability 

We’re thrilled to support our partners at Washington Low Income Housing Alliance in their advocacy to pass legislation for rent stabilization in Washington. We know that our fight for housing affordability must prioritize building more homes for people to live in AND making sure that people can afford to stay in their homes.

Meet Brooke Frickleton, Deputy Legal Director!

  Futurewise is thrilled to welcome Brooke Frickleton to our team as our new Deputy Legal Director! Brooke will be working with our long-time staff attorney, Director of Planning & Law Tim Trohimovich, on the upcoming comprehensive plan updates. Tell … Continue reading

Kate Brunette
April 22, 2024

March 2024 Executive Director Note – The Seattle Comprehensive Plan Needs Your Help

I have a rule at Futurewise: don’t focus on Seattle. There are so many great places across the state where important planning decisions are being made. Many of those places and decisions get too little attention from the media and … Continue reading

Marcella Buser
April 1, 2024