Kretz’s bill would allow cities, counties to opt out of costly land-use planning

Legislation would allow counties more say on local development

At a time when counties statewide are financially strapped and working to free up land for economic development and job creation, Rep. Joel Kretz introduced House Bill 1094. As written, the legislation would allow county legislative authorities to withdraw from voluntary planning under the state's onerous Growth Management Act (GMA).

“Counties would still be able to work under the GMA if they so choose, but my legislation would allow them the option to say 'no thanks' to the directives in the act. The county may have a better plan, so why should they have to live under the thumb of Olympia?” asked Kretz, R-Wauconda. “What I hear all the time is that the costs associated with the plans and the subsequent interference in local decisions by environmental groups, needs to be addressed. My bill lets the people living in the area make land-use decisions, not the folks in Olympia.”

The Growth Management Act (GMA) is the comprehensive land-use planning framework for county and city governments in Washington. Enacted in 1990 and 1991, the GMA establishes numerous requirements for local governments obligated by mandate or choice to fully plan under the GMA, and a reduced number of directives for all other counties and cities.

House Bill 1094 received public hearings on Jan. 19 and 21.

“I think people in the Seventh District would be shocked at what the folks at Futurewise think we should be doing in growth and land-use planning,” Kretz said. “According to the group's testimony on the bill, they have this idea that local land development decisions outside of the GMA in Entiat or Brewster are going to impact mass transit options. I think they need to understand that the only mass transit in most of our part of the state is a trailer full of cattle.”

Kretz added that what folks in Seattle want in terms of land-use planning doesn't always translate to a workable model in rural and agricultural parts of Washington.

Residents who would like to comment on this legislation can e-mail Kretz at joel.kretz@leg.wa.gov or contact his office at (360) 786-7988.

For more information, contact Bobbi Cussins, Public Information Officer: (360) 786-7252

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov