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Just say YES! to permit reform

January 23, 2023

It’s a big week for permit reform! A top priority for the BIAW Government Affairs team, permit reform takes the spotlight this week in the state Legislature.

Permit reform through consolidation

Two companion bills would make major strides in reducing permit backlogs in Washington. Companion bills are identical bills introduced both in the House and the Senate,

The average permit approval timeline in Washington state is 6.5 months, adding $31,375 to price of a new home.

These bills (SB 5290/HB 1296):

  • Exempt interior remodels from site plan reviews if the project doesn’t alter the original footprint of the structure, saving time and money for the homeowner and the builder.
  • Establish a consolidated permit review grant program for local governments to issue final decisions on residential permit applications within specific timeframes.
  • Create a grant program to support local governments in transitioning from paper permit filing systems to software systems capable of handing digital permit applications.
  • Require the Dept. of Commerce to study creating a statewide license and permitting software system to streamline local systems.

Sign in to support permit reform

The Senate Local Government, Land Use and Tribal Affairs Committee hears SB 5290 at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24.  BIAW contract lobbyist Bill Stauffacher will testify on the association’s behalf.

Sign in PRO 

Watch the hearing on TVW:


The House Local Government Committee will also hear the companion bill to SB 5290, HB 1296, this week at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 25.  BIAW Legislative Director Josie Cummings will testify in support.

Sign in PRO 

Watch the hearing on TVW:


Several others bills affect permitting and land use this week. Be sure to visit our Legislative Action Center for more information!

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