The High Cost of Smart Growth

Washington instituted a Growth Management Act in the 1980s to help the state grow smarter. But recent studies show that the GMA has made housing increasingly unaffordable.
November 1, 2008, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Nearly 20 years after its inception, Washington's Growth Management Act (GMA) is a dismal failure. Instead of reducing sprawl by limiting development to designated urban areas, as the Legislature intended, we have subdivisions from Arlington to Tumwater housing people who work in King County. Instead of affordable housing resulting from a more intensive use of land, a median-income family cannot afford a median-priced home anywhere in King County. In Seattle, GMAbased growth regulations have added 45 percent -- about $200,000 -- to the cost of a median-priced home."

"Despite these and other unintended consequences, we have yet to recognize the problems created by the GMA. Rather than change course, our planners and politicians -- at the behest of the organized environmental community -- are ordering more of the same. How did we get here?"

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Published on Tuesday, October 21, 2008 in Washington CEO
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