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BIAW’s middle housing and permit reforms bills signed into law

May 8, 2023

A group of members and staff joined Governor Jay Inslee today in Seattle as he signed two BIAW priority bills, middle housing and permit reform, into law.

BIAW President Gary Wray and legislative director Josie Cummings joined the event. Master Builders of King and Snohomish County First Vice President Trevor Johnson, MBAKS State Government Affairs Manager Dylan Sluder and MBAKS contract lobbyist Alex Hur participated as well.

Middle housing and permit reform priorities for housing

E2SHB 1110 increases middle housing in areas traditionally dedicated to single-family detached housing in many areas across Washington. The bill requires certain cities planning under the Growth Management Act to allow minimum development densities and address middle housing in their development regulations.

Middle housing expands homeownership opportunities

Passing the middle housing law means builders will be able to build up to six units per lot in areas traditionally limited to single-family structures to create more opportunities for home ownership. Cities with populations lower than 25,000 don’t have to allow more density unless their population increases past that threshold.

The bill also requires the state Department of Commerce to provide technical assistance and to develop model ordinances for local governments to consider. They must also establish a process for cities to seek approval of alternative local actions, according to the bill report.

Addressing permit delays speeds homebuilding, lowers costs

With permit delays currently adding as much as $31,000 to the cost of a new home, BIAW made permit reform a top priority.

2SSB 5290 addressed our concerns in a variety of ways. The bill requires local governments to exempt project permits for interior remodels from site plan review if they don’t add new sleeping quarters or require upgraded fire access or fire suppression.

It also holds local governments accountable for meeting permit timelines, adds new reporting requirements and requires local governments to refund portions of permit fees paid if they don’t issue final decisions within the established time period.

Watch for future blog posts with more details on these bills.

Read more about the bills the governor signed into law on his blog.

**Cover photo courtesy of Gov. Jay Inslee’s blog**

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