Bill would effectively ban single-family zoning in Washington state

Feb 17, 2020, 9:22 AM

A bill moving through Olympia looks to restrict single-family zoning across Washington state’s large cities.

Did Seattle’s upzoning measure not go far enough?

The measure — sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Mona Das — would enact a statewide ban on any zoning that restricts construction of multi-family housing. It would be limited to cities with populations over 15,000.

The bill would represent tectonic changes for many of the state’s largest cities, including Seattle, which is roughly 70 percent single-family zoned. That number was addressed slightly by 2019’s Mandatory Housing Affordability legislation, but Das’s bill would represent a far more sweeping shift.

The measure wouldn’t require cities to build multi-family housing. Rather, it would simply allow duplexes, triplexes, apartment buildings, and more in neighborhoods previously limited to single-family homes.

“The time to act is now to create more housing options in traditionally single-family zones,” the legislation reads. “The exclusion of missing middle housing is rooted in inequity as a way to keep some families out of certain neighborhoods.”

Between 80 to 90 cities in Washington state would have their zoning laws change under Das’s proposal. It would take effect on July 1, 2020, and would “supercede, preempt, and invalidate” any existing zoning restrictions in qualifying cities.

Using other cities’ solutions won’t fix Seattle’s housing problems

Opponents to the bill have voiced displeasure that it doesn’t weigh feedback from cities that would be affected most.

“State mandates are strongly opposed since it cuts out the feedback and input from the local community,” stated a coalition of Washington cities and local leaders, including Renton, Lake Stevens, Fife, and more.

In order to get passed out of the state Senate, the bill has until the end of the early-2020 legislative session Wednesday evening.

Oregon became the first state to fully ban single-family zoning in 2019, limited to cities with over 10,000 people. Minneapolis enacted its own ban in late 2018.

Local News

Suspect in REI bike theft - Police said the suspect admitted to stealing the bike, and he was arres...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Man suspected of stealing bike from REI worth $2,400 arrested in Bellevue

A man suspected of stealing a bike worth $2,400 was arrested by Bellevue police on Tuesday.
15 hours ago
Flood Insurance...
Ted Buehner

Washington rainy season is in a month, are you ready with flood insurance?

After an all-time record dry summer, it may be hard to believe that the Washington flood season is just around the corner.
15 hours ago
Ted Buehner

When will the smoke end? Improved air quality on the way to western Washington

It was another weekend with hazy skies due to wildfire smoke, with some areas of western Washington being “unhealthy for sensitive groups”
15 hours ago
Pete Buttigieg...
Bill Kaczaraba

Transportation Secretary Buttigieg coming to Seattle this week

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will visit Seattle and Wenatchee this week, the Transportation Department announced Monday.
15 hours ago
L.B. Gilbert

Man airlifted with burns covering 80% of his body after propane explosion at Olympia marina

An explosion at the Olympia Marina happened around 6:42 p.m. Sunday, which damaged several boats and sent one person to the hospital.
15 hours ago
Seattle Mariners including Jesse Winker, left; Ty France, third from right; Logan Gilbert, second f...
Tim Booth, Associated Press

Mariners end two decades of misery returning to postseason

Baseball is fun again in the Pacific Northwest in a way that it hasn’t been in more than two decades. The longest postseason drought in the four major professional sports ended Friday night when the Mariners earned a long-coveted spot in the Major League Baseball playoffs.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Bill would effectively ban single-family zoning in Washington state