Press Releases

Press Releases

Washington Supreme Court to Receive Appeal of Court Decision on King County Adult Beverage Ordinance

The Washington State Court of Appeals, Division I just overturned previous decisions by the Growth Management Hearings Board, which in recent years twice unanimously ruled that King County violated the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and the Growth Management Act (GMA), when it adopted a broad array of zoning and other land use regulatory changes known as the Adult Beverage Ordinance in December 2019. The Board invalidated the Ordinance which would have allowed alcoholic beverage sale businesses — wine bars, taverns, and event centers — to locate on farmland and in rural areas throughout King County.

Sound Transit Board of Directors Approves Updated ST3 Plan for November Ballot

June 23, 2016

SEATTLE (June 23, 2016) – Futurewise is pleased that the Sound Transit Board unanimously voted to approve an updated ST3 plan this afternoon and to move forward with the ballot measure this November. The Puget Sound Region expected to grow by over a million residents in the next 30 years – so the challenge of providing transportation options for the efficient movement of people and goods is more important than ever.

“Given the expected rate of population growth, we are excited that we will have a November ballot measure that will expand light rail across our region,” says Christopher Wierzbicki, Interim Executive Director of Futurewise. “We are extremely pleased that Sound Transit understands the importance of not just light rail, but the positive impacts it can have by providing a framework for equitable transit oriented development and affordable housing. We see the ST3 plan as a game changer in providing transportation and affordable housing at the same time, a leadership direction that other regions will want to follow.”

“The equitable transit-oriented development strategy in this plan is innovative and forward looking. This strategy will increase access to Sound Transit facilities, reduce displacement, and allow for mixed income integrated communities,” says board member and Seattle City Councilmember Rob Johnson.

“Sound Transit 3 is a historic opportunity to ease our housing affordability crisis. The action taken by the Board today ensures equitable, affordable homes near rapid transit,” said Board Member and King County Council Chair Joe McDermott. “This effort will help to ensure we are getting the highest and best use of land around transit — and public dollars.”

“I’m happy that the Sound Transit Board made clear commitments to implement policies and practices that serve as best practices across the nation to support cost-effective affordable housing development on… transit-related land,” said Marty Kooistra, Executive Director of the Housing Development Consortium.

“As our region grows and our demographics change, we must build infrastructure that serves everyone—and community-led, equitable transit-oriented development give transit-dependent communities along the light rail important opportunities to thrive in place,” said Ellicott Dandy of One America.

Futurewise strongly believes that the ST3 plan put before voters is fair and shows the value our region puts on transit and housing. By prioritizing affordable housing, the region can assist highly cost-burdened households by providing access to efficient and reliable high-capacity transit. We commend the Board on their leadership in developing such a strong plan. In providing the region with transportation choices, we will be able to serve the over one million new residents this region expects in the next 30 years. Futurewise worked hard in Olympia to pass a transportation package that included ST3, and we are excited to see the work come to fruition.

We would like to thank the Board for their leadership to incorporate transit-oriented development and affordable housing into the plan and working with Futurewise and our partners to get this right.

Christopher Wierzbicki
Futurewise Interim Executive Director

Futurewise Releases Seattle Health and Equity Assessment Report

June 27, 2016

Report examines trends which reveal inequities in the city 

SEATTLE (June 27, 2016) – Futurewise is pleased to release their City of Seattle Health and Equity Assessment, which is a data-based analysis of some of the most important determinants of equity and opportunity in Seattle. The report shows differences in access to economic, social and environmental benefits and assets based on location and community characteristics. While the City as a whole may be thriving, certain populations and certain neighborhoods do not enjoy the prosperity and opportunity of others.

“When we look at Seattle through the lens of health and equity, we are better able to address systemic land- use related and other resource access disparities,” says Christopher Wierzbicki, Interim Director of Futurewise. “As the City moves forward with a bold new comprehensive strategy for housing affordability and expanding investment in local and regional transportation systems, our analysis shows how important planning and prioritization of investments is needed to change the future of our city for the better and for all residents.”

The objective of the Health and Equity Assessment is to present information about the health and equity conditions in the City of Seattle and to provide priority policy recommendations to improve those conditions in the city. Health and equity is determined by many factors, including access to community assets like quality schools, parks, housing, health facilities and transit. Identifying these disparities will help set goals that will reduce or eliminate them, and help guide policy development, investments and programs to meet those goals.

In Seattle, for example, persons of color, low income households and English language learners are less likely to live close to a park or recreational facility than other Seattle residents and are also less likely to have easy access to healthy food. Additionally, there are wide disparities in educational attainment for different populations, significant housing cost burdens, and transportation modes.

About Futurewise
Futurewise is a non-profit organization that works throughout Washington State to create livable, equitable communities, protect our working farmlands, forests, and waterways, and ensure a better quality of life for present and future generations. We work with communities to implement effective land use planning and policies that prevent waste and stop sprawl, provide efficient transportation choices, create affordable housing and strong local businesses, and ensure healthy natural systems.

Christopher Wierzbicki
206.343.068 X122 (office)
206.769-6611 (cell)

Press Release: Gov. Inslee Signs HB 1220

Governor Jay Inslee signed HB 1220, an update to the GMA, which will ensure that cities are planning for housing affordable to people at all income levels, that cities redress the impacts from historic racist housing policies, and that cities allow homeless housing and shelters in zones where other types of housing and lodging is permitted.

New Research Finds that HB 2160 (Transit-Oriented Development) Could Increase Development Capacity in Central Puget Sound by 1.8 Billion Square Feet

New research released today by Futurewise analyzed the impact of HB 2160 (sponsored by Rep. Julia Reed D-Seattle and Rep. Jake Fey D-Tacoma) to increase transit-oriented development in Washington, 􀏐inding that if passed, HB 2160 would increase the potential development capacity around transit stations signi􀏐icantly more than expected.

Washington State Legislature Passes HB 1110 to Legalize Middle Housing

The Washington State Legislature has passed HB 1110, bipartisan legislation to
legalize middle housing across the state. HB 1110 responds to the statewide housing crisis by increasing the amount of housing that is legal to build in cities and towns.

Washington State Legislature Passes HB 1181 to add Climate Planning to the Growth Management Act

The Washington State Legislature has passed HB 1181, a bill that integrates planning for climate change with planning for housing, transportation, and environmental justice. First introduced in 2020, HB was sponsored by Rep. Davina Duerr in the House and Sen. Liz Lovelett in the Senate, and was request legislation for Governor Inslee in 2023.

Shaping Spokane Together housing affordability coalition launches

On Wednesday, March 22nd, at 5:30 PM at The Hive Library (2904 E Sprague Ave, Spokane, WA 99202), the Shaping Spokane Together housing coalition launched their campaign for new housing affordability policies in Spokane. The SST coalition, led by Futurewise, was first convened over a year ago to identify shared community priorities for housing action in Spokane.

Washington State Senate Passes SB 5042 to close the Growth Management Act Sprawl Loophole

SB 5042 is a bill to close a loophole in the Growth Management Act that currently allows for growth in rural landscapes that does not comply with the GMA. The loophole undermines the intent of the GMA by allowing counties to subvert the Growth Management Hearing Board appeals process to build sprawling developments that gobble up farmlands, forests, and critical habitats, put a financial strain on jurisdictions to provide adequate infrastructure, facilities, and services to new developments.

Press Release: King County Adult Beverage Ordinance Invalidated by Growth Management Hearings Board

The Growth Management Hearings Board unanimously ruled that King County violated the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and the Growth Management Act (GMA) when it adopted a broad array of zoning and other land use regulatory changes known as the Adult Beverage Ordinance. The Adult Beverage Ordinance, sponsored by former King County District 3 Councilmember Kathy Lambert, would have allowed alcoholic beverage sales businesses to locate on farmland and rural areas throughout King County.

Budget Proviso for Climate Planning Joins Clean Fuels Standard, Cap & Trade as Washington Leads Nation in Climate Legislation

2021 was a big year for climate legislation in Washington, as a budget proviso to lay the groundwork for climate planning in comprehensive plan updates, joins passage of the clean fuels standard and cap and trade in landmark climate legislation.