Washington State Legislature Votes To Increase “Middle Housing”

(TheConservativeTimes.org) – A million homes within the next two decades, that’s how much Washington State needs to increase housing supply to keep up with an ever growing population. Washington state Senate addressed the need for “middle housing” by passing House Bill 1110 on Tuesday, April 11 with a 35-14 bipartisan vote.

The primary aim of House Bill 1110 is to increase “middle housing” in areas that are commonly single family detached housing. The increase in density will provide more options for families with a wider range of income levels.

Over recent years many states have stepped in to change zoning regulations within cities and override smaller municipalities that are typically zoned for single-family homes. Often proposed legislation, such as House Bill 1110 in Washington, is met with strong feelings from both proponents and detractors.

“We simply don’t have enough housing in this state,” says Senator Yasmin Trudeau, D-Tacoma. “This problem affects every city in every county across the state and it’s a bigger problem than any city or county has been able to tackle so far.”

Supporters, such as Governor Jay Inslee, say soaring home prices and rising homelessness is the critical driver in the push to increase housing supply within Washington state.

Detractors of HB 1110 argue it won’t do enough to increase affordable housing and would instead be a boon to big developers pushing into smaller communities, preferring to keep planning and development decisions handled locally.

Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, said “I support the local communities being able to determine what their community looks like without the state of Washington coming down with a hammer telling them they must do this.”

Evidence of successful outcomes after removing regulation barriers are touted in the city of Kirkland where median housing prices have come down and development has increased since adopting updated regulations in 2020.

Amendments made before the final vote by the Washington State Senate have softened the impacts in smaller communities that are typically quiet suburban neighborhoods with single family homes.

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