What is the impact of House Bill (HB) 1110?
You might not be aware but something big is happening in Olympia right now.
The state of Washington has reached a critical point where we are losing essential workers over the Housing crisis. The state Department of Commerce estimates we need to build over 1 million homes in the next 20 years to catch up and keep up with our population growth!
To that effect, a bunch of housing bills are being debated and voted at the House right now. We think that at least 7 or 8 bills will pass.
The flagship piece is House Bill (HB) 1110, blowing away the “Single Family Residential” for “Residential Use”. This is huge!
What does that mean?
Under House Bill (HB) 1110, cities with a population of 25,000 to 75,000 MUST authorize at least:
(this population range includes many cities around Seattle, and it goes crescendo for cities with a population of more than 75,000.)
- 2 units per lot
- 4 units per lot if at least one unit is affordable housing; and
- 4 units per lot within one-half mile walking distance of a major transit stop.
Take Redmond as an example.
After the bill, a single-family home on a lot, could turn into two townhomes.
House Bill (HB) 1110 promotes affordable housing
One of the primary reasons for the new single-family zoning in WA is to promote affordable housing.By allowing for the construction of smaller multi-unit buildings, the law increases the supply of housing, which helps to lower the cost of housing in the affected areas. This is particularly important in cities like Seattle and Tacoma, where the cost of housing has skyrocketed in recent years. The new law also promotes the development of more diverse types of housing, including affordable rental units.
Another Bill which is likely to pass will ease the builders’ liability in Condos construction.
Less Apartments and more Condo Buildings in a near future? Yes!
Anyone who knows me knows that I wish for more condominiums and less Apartment buildings. Current regulations are very coercive with a lot of liability rules, leaving condo builders exposed to an almost certain lawsuit on every condo project they would build. As a result, we have seen mostly construction of Apartment buildings/leasing centers in Seattle and on the Eastside. This HB, if passed, will give them the opportunity to cure any potential defect before a possible lawsuit. Hopefully that will initiate the construction of more Condos i.e. more affordable housing especially for first time homebuyers and small families.
Another expected Bill: 2SSB 5290 would, between other things, press the cities to meet the deadlines and simplify the permitting process by excluding interior alterations from site plan review.
This is only a few of the main changes expected and much needed.
Similar legislation has failed to pass in recent years. But the state of Washington has reached a critical point where we are losing essential workers over the Missing Middle Housing.
While the new single-family zoning in WA has many benefits, it is not without its challenges and concerns.
Some homeowners and neighborhood groups have expressed concerns about the impact of new multi-unit buildings on their property values, quality of life, and the character of their neighborhoods.
To address these concerns, the new law includes several provisions to protect homeowners and tenants. For example, the law requires that new multi-unit buildings be designed to fit in with the neighborhood’s character and that they be subject to a public design review process. Additionally, the law requires that at least one of the units in new multi-unit buildings be designated as affordable housing, to help ensure that the new housing is accessible to a range of income levels.
Overall, the new single-family zoning in WA is a good thing for the state. By promoting affordable housing, reducing sprawl, promoting inclusivity and diversity, and encouraging smart growth, the law has the potential to create more livable, sustainable, and equitable communities.
It is still a long road but things are moving and all the actors are working (and have been working for years) together to make it happen. Let’s move it!
As I said it is only an extract of what’s happening to address the Middle Missing Housing. If you want more details and insights, reach out to me!