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Bill aims to promote ‘transit-oriented’ housing in Washington

The bill would prohibit local jurisdictions from limiting housing developments to single-family homes and requiring on-site parking for apartments in those zones.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Cities and counties would not be able to limit housing developments to single-family homes under a proposal at the Washington state legislature.

It’s an attempt to promote development known as “transit-oriented” housing, said bill sponsors.

In addition to allowing multi-family housing within walking distance to major transit stops and stations, House Bill 5466 would also prohibit local jurisdictions from requiring on-site parking for apartments in those zones.

”We don't have a parking crisis in Washington, we have a housing crisis,” said Paul DelVecchio, President of Portland-based Ethos Development.

He just opened an apartment in Tacoma, the Analog, that is considered transit-oriented.

He thinks the legislation will result in more developments like the Analog.

”It’s light on parking. There's a 115-unit building with six on-site parking spaces, which I think if you were building a building 10 or 20 years ago, that wouldn't be palatable for investment,” said DelVecchio.

The bill passed out of the Senate and the bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. Marko Liias, (D) Mukilteo, said he is confident the bill will become law.

"We’re not telling every city how to exactly plan every station area. We’re setting some broad targets that say we want to maximize the value of these investments and make sure as many people as possible can live and work next to that high-capacity transit,” said Liias.

Developers who build in transit zones and include affordable apartments would be eligible for grants as would those who include space for child care in their complexes.

The bill has bipartisan support. Sen. Chris Gildon, a Republican from Puyallup, is one of the sponsors.

”We’ve made huge investments in our mass transit and it only makes sense we maximize that,” said Gildon.

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