Southgate residents, we have an opportunity right now to close the vesting loophole in Washington state. This is the central issue to the new housing developments over on the east side of our neighborhood in Glenrose. The State House of Representatives is considering hearings on two bills, HB 2234 and HB 2245, that would amend the Growth Management Act to stop vesting when there is an appeal before the Hearings Board.
As you remember, Southgate was party to the lawsuit against the County Commissioners for illegally expanding the Urban Growth Area (UGA) and allowing higher density development to sprawl into formerly rural land. We won that appeal, but the loophole in the current law allows developers to “vest” projects under whatever rules are in place at the time of the application, even if the land use change that allowed the new zoning is being appealed.
Since the developers could “vest” when the County illegally expanded the Urban Growth Area, they are still allowed to build their subdivisions in Glenrose (and other areas around Spokane) even though the UGA expansion was overturned and the zoning has been returned to rural. Basically we end up with suburban growth in rural areas and we as taxpayers get to pay for the expanded infrastructure, maintenance, and emergency services to support the unneeded growth.
For more on vesting and the problem it poses read this detailed article from INVW.org.
I encourage our neighbors to write to Rep. Dean Takko (chair of the House Local Government Committee) as well as our local state representatives Timm Ormsby and Marcus Riccelli in support of hearing the two bills mentioned above so that we can close the loophole and stop the unneeded sprawl of future development around the edges of Spokane’s Urban Growth Area. Reps. Ormsby and Riccelli are sponsors of bill HB2245, bill HB 2234 is being sponsored by Rep. Jon Fitzgibbon. For good measure you can contact our district reps as well: Kevin Parker and Jeff Holy.
During the UGA appeal it was messages from Spokane citizens that persuaded Governor Inslee to allow the State Department of Commerce and Department of Transportation to join the appeal UGA expansion. We need that kind of support again to encourage the legislature close this development loophole permanently and have development move forward as it should under the state’s Growth Management Act.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.