With the closing of the 2017 legislative session on July 20th - after three overtime sessions - it's clear that the people of Washington lost out to the power of special interests on a number of fronts.
On June 21, 2017, Okanogan County Superior Court Judge Christopher Culp denied motions by Okanogan County to dismiss Futurewise and the Methow Valley Citizens Council appeals of the Okanogan County comprehensive plan and zoning regulations. If granted, these motions would have ended the appeals.
If someone tells you the Growth Management Act is responsible for a housing shortage, do not believe them. According to just issued Census data, Washington State ranked sixth in the number of total building permits issued in 2016 - see a very short article from Planetizen here.
The next four years of Seattle's City Council and Mayor's Office will have a lot to contend with as our region continues to grow, especially in terms of housing and transportation. Come join us and other local groups to make your voice heard and learn where the candidates stand on the land-use issues that impact the daily lives Seattleites.
As the federal administration is considering turning their backs on climate science with the potential pull-out of the Paris Climate Accord, Futurewise is recognizing that the impacts of climate disruption are very real, particularly as they relate to vulnerable communities. Click here to learn more about our Climate Challenges and Resilient Voices project.
Futurewise was recently awarded funding through the Columbia River Keeper to develop a Tri-Cities program that supports progressive land use policy and addresses stormwater pollution prevention.
Despite years of work on behalf of Futurewise and the Puyallup Watershed Initiative partners, and thousands of dollars of investment, the Pierce County Council is ready to scrap protections for local farms. This piece from King 5 tells the story.
Believe it or not, I started out my career by determining how to best pave over farmland to make room for new big box retail stores. This was New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the late 1990’s, and the “birthplace of the mall” was riding a wave of commercial sprawl that was eating up soybean and corn fields far outside the urban core. I was an engineer-in-training, tasked with figuring out how big of a hole needed to be dug in the ground in order to contain all the runoff generated from the endless acres of asphalt parking.
On March 13th, Futurewise joined Seattle for Everyone coalition partners and neighborhood activists in support of housing affordability at the public hearing on the Downtown/South Lake Union Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) rezone.
Doug Trumm of The Urbanist takes a look at Futurewise’s Spring Breakfast and Livable Community Awards, featuring keynote speaker Dwayne Marsh of the Center for Social Inclusion and awardees Kittitas County, the City of Bellevue, Beacon Food Forest, Roosevelt Neighborhood Association, King Conservation District, and Yesler Community Collaborative—six groups that have excelled in community-building to advance equity and environmental causes. Check out the article!
On March 2, 2017, Futurewise hosted our annual spring fundraising event - which this year was a breakfast hosted at the Westin hotel in downtown Seattle. We were please to host 350 guests, and honor a number of partners with a Livable Communities Award (see the previous blog post for details on the awardees).
Each year, Futurewise presents its Livable Communities Awards to programs and projects that are helping to make Washington State a better place for all. This year's awards will be given out at our Spring Breakfast this Thursday, March 2 (register here), but here's a sneak peak of our dedicated and diverse group of awardees!
Read at The Columbian »
Futurewise works closely with legislators and partners every year during the legislative session to protect and enhance Washington State’s growth management laws. This year, our legislative agenda covers a wide range of urban livability and natural resource protection issues.
Seattle for Everyone's broad coalition of affordable housing developers and advocates, for-profit developers and businesses, labor and social justice advocates, environmentalists and urbanists joined neighbors from across Seattle and U District residents to support a more affordable and inclusive city at the Seattle City Council public hearing on the U District upzone.
The work is just beginning! Together we can make Sound Transit 3 a successful investment - not just in transit - but for how the region tackles land-use and regional transportation that will combat the impacts of climate change. In the next few days we'll be posting more about how our region can leverage this incredible opportunity.
On November 16th, the Seattle City Council will hold a public hearing on the University District re-zoning. Take a look at our action alert, and this FAQ on the what the re-zone means for the University District as well as for affordable housing overall in Seattle.
Read at The Inlander »
On October 23rd, Chuck Wolfe, environmental attorney and author of the forthcoming book "Seeing the Better City" joined Futurewise for a walking tour of the Kendall Yards and West Central neighborhoods in Spokane - and area poised for rapid urban change as a result of the redevelopment of the former Kendall Yards brownfield (see this link for some history of the site).
Futurewise’s Director of Planning and Law, Tim Trohimovich, was invited to speak at the Washington Section of the American Water Resources Association’s Annual State Conference on October 26, 2016. Tim’s presentation documented that the water levels in wells in Washington State are going down, that overdevelopment in rural areas and on farmland is causing the wells of rural residents and farmers to go dry, and that rapidly increasing permit-exempt wells are threatening the water fish need for their survival. Tim explained solutions that address these serious water problems and that comply with the Washington State Supreme Court’s landmark Whatcom County decision that Futurewise and its local partners won on October 6, 2016. The Whatcom County decision was widely discussed at the conference.
Futurewise participated in "scenario planning" with other state-wide transportation partners to determine how the Washington State Transportation Plan (WTP) could be updated to deal with an uncertain future. In accordance with the graphical image shown here, WSDOT determined that two factors in the future with the highest level of uncertainty and the highest level of importance were "technological change" and "natural disasters and climate change." The four teams involved in the planning exercise discussed the opportunities and challenges resulting from four scenarios:
Read at Get Whatcom Planning »
Read at Naiads Blog »
On October 6, 2016, the Washington State Supreme Court concluded that Whatcom County's "comprehensive plan does not protect water availability because it allows permit-exempt appropriations to impede minimum flows." This decision builds on Futurewise's 2011 win in the Kittitas County decision.
The Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) is a comprehensive strategy for addressing Seattle’s housing affordability crisis. HALA contains 65 recommendations aimed at increasing the city’s supply of both affordable and market-rate housing, increasing protections for vulnerable tenants and homeowners, and creating streamlined processes to reduce the time and cost of housing development.
Beginning this September, Futurewise is leading community outreach for the Seattle for Everyone coalition.
Read at Auburn Reporter »