Gov. Inslee signs 10 housing bills into law in WA’s ‘year of housing’
May 8, 2023, 3:37 PM | Updated: 4:38 pm
(MyNorthwest file photo)
Gov. Jay Inslee signed 10 housing bills Monday into law, including ones that will expand accessory dwelling units and multi-family housing in more neighborhoods while alleviating specific development regulations.
“This session, our Legislature needed to go big so people can go home,” Inslee said during the signings. “And our Legislature, I’m happy to say, has gone big this year so people can go home. Congratulations to the state of Washington. I’m signing some great bills here today.”
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One of the bills Inslee signed was House Bill 1474, a bill that will add a $100 fee to all home purchases moving forward to aid communities hurt by past racist covenants, as Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck claimed the impact of past racist policies are still being felt today despite being outlawed in 1968. Racist housing covenants were designed to keep ethnic and religious minorities out of certain neighborhoods through down payments and closing costs.
“Through the signing today, we are continuing to break down structural racism that is hurting our BIPOC communities for decades,” Trevor Johnson, CEO of Blackwood Builders Group, said.
The governor claimed many of the bills signed will help boost the supply of housing at a time when prices are soaring, including House Bill 1337, which makes it possible to permit and construct more accessory dwelling units.
“This is one way we can expand a large amount of affordable housing,” Inslee said. “We need to house our growing population.”
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House Bill 1110 works alongside HB 1337, as it will require cities to allow more housing types, including duplexes and triplexes, alongside accessory dwelling units in residential areas often nestled among single-family homes. The Department of Commerce will provide cities with technical assistance to implement new middle housing requirements, develop a model middle housing ordinance and establish a process for the department to approve alternative local actions.
“This is one of the most important and impactful pieces of housing legislation that the state has passed in recent years,” Inslee said.
The Washington Department of Commerce estimated the state will need about 1 million more homes in the next 20 years, according to The Seattle Times.