Seattle’s new Mayor does not seem to be a fertile source of pro-housing legislation, having campaigned on skepticism about changing single family zones. But instead of struggling for dimes, we can pick up dollar bills at the state level. The bills are SB 5670 and HB 1782, and as explained by local treasure Dan Bertolet, would legalize:
Up to sixplexes on all residential lots within a half-mile of a major transit stop in cities with populations of 20,000 or more.
Up to fourplexes on all residential lots elsewhere in cities of 20,000 or more.
Duplexes on all residential lots in cities with populations of at least 10,000.
There are also substantial limits on parking minima, and some anti-displacement measures. Cities could skip these prescriptions and instead adopt city-wide density minima, but they would have to show this did not have disparate impacts — no putting all the growth in the “urban renewal” sectors and leaving the upscale places untouched.
Cities implementing these rules would be exempt from SEPA lawsuits — a legal innovation that would be usefully extended to non-auto transportation projects, renewable energy, and transmission lines.
This is huge. The bills are sponsored by 10 Senators and 29 Representatives, all Democrats and from all over the State. If any of these are your legislators, be sure to thank them. If not, a short letter to your representatives expressing your support sends an important message that constituents care.