Leaping Through Loopholes in Washington's Growth Management Act

Despite laws meant to protect open space and limit sprawl development, developers in Washington have found a legal way to get major housing projects approved in Washington.

In the first of a two-part series, Crosscut and InvestigateWest delve into how a tiny provision in the state's laws have enabled developments that undercut efforts to manage growth.

"The Growth Management Act - passed in 1990 to rein in runaway development that chokes roads, spurs water pollution and carpets the countryside in concrete - is only one of a number of environmental and land-use laws to be undercut by a feature of Washington law that gives developers unusually favorable treatment compared to most other states.

Known as "vesting" and dating back more than half a century, the legal provision means that if a developer learns a new law is coming that would restrict building, he or she can draw up preliminary plans for a subdivision, file the paperwork with the county - and avoid the new, more restrictive rules. Even if construction doesn't start for years."

Full Story: Odd provision in state law severely undercuts growth management

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 2012

Thinking about Grad School?

You need the essential resource for prospective planning students
Starting at $24.95

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00