Next year, the Washington State Legislature will reconvene with the opportunity to help ensure affordable housing, climate-resilient communities, and environmental justice for Washingtonians today and for our people. children tomorrow. They should take it.
How? ‘Or’ What? By providing long-needed updates to Washington’s Growth Management Act (GMA). The GMA sets the conditions under which Washington limits sprawl, manages growth, and protects farmland and wilderness. It has been doing a good job for us for 30 years.
But despite a growing affordability crisis, GMA does not require communities to plan housing for all who live in their communities. A proposed update would help secure housing for everyone while protecting us from gentrification and displacement.
Despite an increasingly deadly climate emergency, GMA is not requiring communities to plan for climate change. Another update would help reduce reliance on fossil fuels, build critical resilience infrastructure, and set responsible standards for transportation emissions. A proposed environmental justice bill would help ensure that every resident of our state has equal access to parks, healthy food and housing.
In the face of growing challenges, Washington looks forward to making the necessary changes to the GMA to help communities better prepare for what lies ahead. We must act now.
Rian Watt, Seattle, Former Seattle City Planning Commissioner