Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Housing, Community Development & Veterans Committee

HB 1377

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning affordable housing development on religious organization property.

Sponsors: Representatives Walen, Barkis, Jenkin, Harris, Springer, Macri, Wylie, Ryu, Reeves, Robinson, Griffey, Appleton, Bergquist, Jinkins, Tharinger, Slatter, Kloba, Doglio, Goodman, Leavitt, Ormsby and Santos.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Requires certain cities engaged in comprehensive planning to allow an increased density bonus for certain affordable housing development on property owned or controlled by a religious organization.

Hearing Date: 2/1/19

Staff: Cassie Jones (786-7303).


Planning enabling statutes allow cities and counties, at their option, to adopt comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, and other official controls regulating land uses within their boundaries. Such regulations may generally include: the location and the use of buildings, structures, and land for residence, industry, trade, and other purposes; the height, construction, and design of buildings and structures; the size of yards, open spaces, lots, and tracts; the density of population; the set-back of buildings; the subdivision and development of land; and adoption of standard building codes and fire regulations. These regulations must form parts of a comprehensive plan which must prepare for the physical and generally advantageous development of the city or county and be designed to encourage the most appropriate uses of land.

Other cities and counties are required, or have elected, to adopt comprehensive plans under the Growth Management Act (GMA). The GMA establishes land use designation and environmental protection requirements for all Washington counties and cities, and a significantly wider array of planning duties for the counties and the cities within that are obligated to satisfy all planning requirements of the GMA. The GMA directs planning jurisdictions (i.e., jurisdictions that fully plan under the GMA) to adopt internally consistent comprehensive land use plans that are generalized, coordinated land use policy statements of the governing body. Comprehensive plans are implemented through locally-adopted development regulations.

Generally, a density bonus is a zoning tool used by cities and counties in which they allow a developer to build more housing units, taller buildings, or more floor space than normally allowed, in exchange for provision of a defined public benefit, such as a specified number or percentage of affordable housing units. Any city or county that is fully planning under the GMA may enact or expand an affordable housing incentive program that may include density bonuses in the urban growth area.

Summary of Bill:

A city planning under certain planning enabling statutes, or a city or county fully planning under the GMA with a population of greater than 125,000, must allow an increased density bonus consistent with local needs for any affordable housing development, including any existing development that is preserved or modified, of any single-family or multifamily residence located on real property owned or controlled by a religious organization if the affordable housing development:

The religious organization developing the qualifying affordable housing must pay all fees, mitigation costs, and other charges required and should work with local transit agencies to ensure appropriate transit services are provided to the affordable housing development.

"Affordable housing development" means a proposed or existing structure in which one hundred percent of all single-family or multifamily residential dwelling units within the development are set aside for or are occupied by low-income households at a sales price or rent amount that may not exceed thirty percent of the income limit for the low-income housing unit.

An affordable housing development created by a religious institution within a city or county fully planning under the GMA must be located within an urban growth area or a limited area of more intensive rural development.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Requested on January 21, 2019.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.