New Guidance for Housing Planning

HB 1923 Building Urban Residential Capacity Grants

This program is no longer accepting applications. An overview of the program with an amended list of activities is available here. Awards have been made to 66 cities for code changes, housing action plans and sub-area plans. Get the list here.

Housing Memo Available

The Department of Commerce has released its Housing Memo: Issues Affecting Housing Availability and Affordability to the public. The memo addresses barriers to housing production and affordability in Washington, and provides tools aimed at assisting local governments in improving housing affordability. The memo was requested by the 2017 Legislature’s E2SSB 5254 as part of an update to the Buildable Lands program, and is relevant to cities and counties statewide.

GMA Requirements for Planning for Housing

Cities and counties planning under the Growth Management Act (GMA) must include a housing element in their comprehensive plans. The GMA housing goal calls for promoting a variety of residential densities and housing types, encouraging the availability of affordable housing for all economic segments of the population, and preservation of existing housing stock. Countywide planning policies are to consider the need for affordable housing – identified as a regional issue. Counties and cities develop a housing element that meets the requirements of RCW 36.70A.070(2).

The GMA also set standards such that certain classes of housing and residents are to be treated equally. This includes housing for the disabled (RCW 36.70A.410), family daycare providers RCW (36.70A.450) and manufactured housing (RCW 35.21.684).


Growth Management Act Housing Goal – RCW 36.70A.020
Growth Management Act Housing Element – RCW 36.70A.070(2) and WAC 365-196-410
Affordable Housing Incentive Programs – RCW 36.70A.540

EZ View Web Site on Housing Affordability
Housing Element Guidebook 2018 Update

Multi-Unit Housing Tax Exemption (MFTE)