For decades, Washington has been a bright spot for farmland preservation. Nationally, Washington is in the top two states for our policy response to protect agriculture and our success in preventing farmland conversion. However, recent trends and court decisions threaten our family farms and local food systems.
Futurewise is moving! After 15 years we are saying goodbye to our long-time Seattle office space at 816 2nd Ave. By September 1, we will be fully moved into a coworking space in the 1201 3rd Ave building. It’s a bit of a return to our roots at Office Nomads (RIP). As part of the move, we have been cleaning out 30+ years of old files. We’ve found some amazing gems of Futurewise history tucked away around the office like this 1993 report.
On July 5 2023, the Seattle City Council passed Council Bill 120591 and Council Bill 120581, two pieces of legislation that will remove barriers to affordable housing production in Seattle by streamlining the permitting process for new construction.
At Futurewise our work comes in cycles. That’s true in individual years. We kick off the year with the state legislative session. Then we prepare for the Livable Communities Spring Celebration, our big fundraiser for the year. Summer is a time for long-range planning, strategy development, and travel around the state. Of course, many individual projects are on different schedules, but this annual cycle has profoundly shaped life at Futurewise since I started in 2019.
Wow, we’re already halfway through 2023. Now that we’ve officially reached the summer solstice, we wanted to give some short updates on what Futurewise staff are up to around the state.
This past legislative session, Futurewise organized with thousands of you to pass HB 1110 to legalize middle housing types like duplexes and courtyard apartments in neighborhoods across Washington. This is transformational legislation that only passed because of the hard work of people like you. To celebrate its passage, we've rounded up a few different summaries of our collective work on this bill.
Futurewise has appealed a new zoning regulation in Pierce County that would allow shared housing developments and modify the density bonuses in the Residential Resource zones in the Parkland, Spanaway, and Midland subarea. This zoning amendment would allow large shared housing developments, including those for people experiencing chronic homelessness, to be constructed in isolated, environmentally sensitive areas, far away from the resources and services necessary to adequately support our most vulnerable neighbors.
We are winning!! It feels good to say that and savor the moment.
Wow wow folks, we made it! And unlike 2022’s nail biter, this session was relatively smooth sailing to the finish line. We’re so grateful to have had you on our team for the past four months, and even more thrilled to be celebrating some BIG victories with you this year.
Well, we are finally here. Yesterday was Sine Die, which means it is the last day of the 2023 legislative session. A monumental moment indeed! We have some final things you can do to wrap this all up. Read on for updates as well as some upcoming things you can take action on.
After 13 weeks of emails, calls, late nights, early mornings, ups and downs, we are at the FINAL week of the 2023 legislative session! This past week had the last major cutoff before Sine Die (the last day of session) so we have some updates as well as some upcoming things you can take action on.
Great news: the Washington Department of Commerce this month adopted new rules determining that farmland of statewide importance soils are now considered to have long-term commercial significance for the designation of agricultural land of long-term commercial significance. This literally increases the farmland eligible to be the GMA protected agricultural lands of long-term commercial significance by 8,968,484 acres. That is over 8 times the land eligible before this change!
Wow, a lot has happened! HB1181, our climate planning in the GMA bill, passed the Senate floor last Friday! A huge thank you to everyone who has taken action, as well as Senator Lovelett and Representative Duerr for their leadership. Next steps are getting the House to concur with the amendments, and that will likely happen at the end of this week.
Futurewise supports inclusionary zoning. We’ve heard some confusion about this recently and wanted to take the opportunity to clarify our position.
We had a busy week and it’s getting busier! This Tuesday, April 4th, is the Fiscal cutoff! We need our bills to make it through, which is where you come in.
In 2020, Futurewise and our local partner, Friends of Grays Harbor, filed an appeal to the Shoreline Hearings Board of the Grays Harbor County Shoreline Master Program. Now three years and many hearings later, we’re taking that case all the way to the State Supreme Court. We’re especially thrilled to share that the Quinault Indian Nation has submitted an amicus curie brief in support of our appeal.
Well, another round of cutoffs is here and we need you to take action. This week, our bills need to be voted out of their respective Policy Committees by this Wednesday, March 29th. Specifically, we need HB 1181 and SB 5466 to be voted on! HB 1110 is in a good position and will need action later. Our bills are still in a good spot!
Since 2019, Futurewise has been working with our local partners, Friends of Sammamish Valley on the King County Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries Ordinance.
Wow, what a busy week! We had hearings on all of our bills, TWO more scheduled for vote in committees, and daylight savings started. Things are moving much quicker now that we are only a week and a half away from the next round of cutoffs. The good news, all of our bills are in a great spot.
Join Futurewise for our 2023 Livable Communities Spring Celebration! Join us for an evening on the farm to celebrate our collective work to protect Washington's farms, forests and wildlife habitat from sprawl and to advance equitable, just and climate resilient communities. Enjoy good food and good company with Futurewise!
I want to start off by saying thank you. Because of your continual action, all our bills are alive and passed the March 8th cutoff! This is a monumental victory! We can dive in more later. As has been the theme the entire session, things are happening fast! Our three bills already have new hearings this week, which means we have actions for you to take. Check it out:
We are now in the second half of the 2023 legislative session! Last Wednesday, March 8th, was the last day for bills to get a floor vote in their respective chamber and to be voted out. It is a critical period in session, where 90% of bills have died by the time this cutoff takes place, and it dictates how the rest of session will go.
We are truly in the Floor Vote Frenzy. Things are happening fast! Votes can happen at any minute, lasting for hours, and as of writing this, we are still pushing to get our bills past the March 8th cut off. We do have some good news with good momentum, and an action you can take. Check it out:
We got some great news this week! Our bills are in a good position before the first major cutoff that is coming up. We are now in the Floor Vote Frenzy! We have just a few actions for you — check them out:
On Wednesday, February 8, Futurewise made their way to Olympia for the For Our Future lobby day! Thank you to all our volunteers who joined us! It was exciting to be in the thick of things in Olympia, making sure our lawmakers are voting #ForOurFuture and meeting so many of you in person! It was an eventful day; here’s a recap!
Thanks to all of you for the work you’ve done so far! We are feeling good about where we are because of you. This week, we’ve been preparing for our first major cutoff that is coming up soon! We have just a few actions for you before a busy next week. Check it out:
What a week! From a successful lobby day to some big milestones, we are feeling good. However, the countdown is on! We’re just a few weeks away from the deadline to pass our priority bills out of their house of origin. We got some actions for you to ensure we keep moving forward. Check it out:
Can you believe we are already in February? Session is going by fast for us here, and this upcoming week is going to be action packed! Check it out:
Another Sunday is here, and that means another set of actions! We have good momentum going thanks to you and all the actions you’ve taken, so thank you! Let’s keep it up; here is what is coming up this week!
Y’all. This is Flash in a @FuturewiseWA board meeting. She is a housing, land use, climate, energy, equity, and justice dog support system. pic.twitter.com/uL6E5SMwJ5
What a week it has been for us and we’re only entering week 3 of the legislative session! 😅 First off, We just want to say a big THANK YOU for showing up this week. We had three hearings on the same day and we showed up and showed out! With 1,303 & 1,218 PRO sign-ins for our climate bills HB 1181/SB 5203, and 1,785 PRO sign-ins for our housing bill, we sent a clear message to our representatives. Thank you!
Our first week is done which means it is time for our first action alert of the 2023 legislative session! We have a very big day next Tuesday, January 17th, with three hearings scheduled on the same day for our priority bills for housing and climate.
Alright everybody — it’s official! The 2023 Washington legislative session starts tomorrow, and Futurewise is here to be your voice and your steward through the process.
Planning Climate Resilient Neighborhoods Needs to Be Washington State’s Next Climate Policy Priority
Futurewise Celebrates the Affordable Housing Design Review Exemption in Seattle (CB 1204646)
December Week of Action-- which events can you attend?
It has been over two years now since our country was rocked by the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by Minneapolis police. The Black Lives Matter protests that swept the nation in the following months spurred many advocacy organizations, including Futurewise, to issue solidarity statements. Two years later, what has our solidarity accomplished? How have we followed through on our commitments?
On Tuesday November 15th, Futurewise hosted their campaign kick-off for the 2023 legislative session. We want to thank every volunteer, partner, and ally who joined us! We also want to thank Representative Davina Duerr, Anna Fahey of Sightline, our very own Bryce Yadon for giving an insight to what we will be focused on this upcoming year. The work we have planned is going to take a team effort. If you weren’t able to make it, no worries; here is a quick recap.
We want to introduce everyone to our new State Organizer, Marcella Buser! In doing so, we asked Marcella some great questions to learn more about her.
Another month has come and gone, and as someone who loves data, I always looked forward to regularly scheduled data releases in August and September. For many years, these new data releases were opportunities to see how the communities and movements I belonged to were making measurable improvements in the world around us – more people riding transit, more affordable homes being built, fewer acres of farmland lost – all the things we push for here at futurewise. But sometimes, new data breaks your heart.
After 2+ years of pandemic and zoom meetings, this summer has been a great opportunity to travel around the state and visit local partners and supporters to experience the issues we are working on firsthand. From Port Angeles to Okanogan County, I’m grateful to all the wonderful folks that have hosted and guided me on my recent visits and I’m looking forward to more this fall.
You may have heard about Seattle and its comprehensive plan wondering what it is and what it has to do with you. Futurewise is here to give a quick background, our own comments, and what you can do. Warning: it’s wonky! We’re here to break it down for you.
Updated June 2023: Victory before the Growth Management Hearings Board!
WA Can't Wait 2022 Legislative Session Wrap-Up In the blink of an eye, the 2022 WA Legislative Session has come and gone. Despite the devastating, 11th hour death of HB1099, our bill with Rep Davina Duerr to add climate change planning to the GMA, this was still one of Futurewise’s most successful legislative sessions of all time.
Futurewise is excited to host Jerusalem Demsas and Heidi Groover for a Housing Power Hour in a few weeks! Join us on Tuesday, April 5th at 5 PM for a debrief on the 2022 legislative session and a preview of what’s next for housing and zoning for Washington.
Futurewise Final Legislative Update: HB 1099 Dies With Minutes to Go It is with profound disappointment that I write you with the news that HB 1099, our landmark bill to add climate change to the GMA, died yesterday with minutes to go before the legislative session ended.
HB 1099 is built on consensus supported by housing advocates, environmental justice groups, unions, local governments, state agencies, tribes, and more.We have collaborated for a year and a half on this legislation for a shared vision of responsible, just, and sustainable climate planning in Washington.Now it’s time to make that vision a reality before some of our largest and fastest-growing communities undergo their 2024 comprehensive plan updates.Below is our Fix HB1099 Coalition Support letter, calling on the Washington Legislature to reincorporate critical VMT and GHG emissions reduction requirements in HB1099, which were removed by an amendment passed in the Senate Ways and Means Committee. We have until Thursday, March 10th to #FixHB1099. To date, the letter has been signed by:
We’ve never been this close to victory… With just days left in the 2022 legislative session, I’m excited to share that we are on the verge of victory for all of our priority bills. First, let’s celebrate what we’ve accomplished together:
Cities and counties across Washington are ready to plan for our climate reality and for a more resilient future.
Week 8 Legislative Update: Down to the wireWe are in the final stretch. Within days, our priority legislation will be up for votes on the Senate and House floors. By Friday, we’ll know if we have passed our bills.
Week 7 Legislative Update: Halfway there We’re officially in the second half of this year’s legislative session and I’m very happy to share that all three of our priority bills (HB 1099, SB 5042 and HB 1769) are all still alive and kicking after this week’s cutoff date. Wahoo!
Love is in the air – that is, love for our climate, our farms and our future!
The statewide Missing Middle Housing bill (HB 1782) is still alive! Thanks to tireless advocacy by people like you, this bill to allow duplexes (Image 1), triplexes, and fourplexes throughout Washington's cities is still moving forward.
We’re reaching the halfway point of the 2022 legislative session, which is why I’m so pleased to share that we’re ahead of schedule to add climate to the GMA and close the GMA sprawl loophole. This week’s update is short and sweet – read on for status updates!
We’ve got a pretty short update this week and here’s why: another one of our priority bills, SB 5042, passed out of the Senate! 🎉🎉🎉
It’s official: HB 1099, our climate update to the GMA, officially passed out of the House of Representatives! Let’s take a moment to celebrate. 🎉🎉🎉
The Washington state legislature convened this week for the start of the 2022 legislative session. As a reminder, the 2022 session is what’s called a “short” session, meaning we have just 60 days to pass our priority legislation. Things are already moving quickly, so read on for how you can help keep the momentum going.
Here is our most up-to-date list of articles and op-eds written about our 2022 WA Can't Wait Campaign:
Today marks the first day of the 2022 legislative session and Futurewise is here to win. We’re here to finish what we started in 2021, as well as highlight some new priorities for you to follow. It’s a short session this year – just 60 days – so there’s no time to waste. Read on for what we’re working on and how you can get involved.
The Growth Management Hearings Board rules in favor of Futurewise and Friends of Sammamish Valley's appeal of the King County wineries, breweries and distilleries ordinance.
For the past 30 years, Futurewise has successfully protected farmland in Washington state by containing growth through the implementation of the Growth Management Act. For the last two years we’ve suggested the City of Pasco not encroach farms, but to instead focus growth in the existing urban growth area by encouraging the development of diverse, affordable housing options. In August, we were forced to appeal the expansion of the City of Pasco’s Urban Growth Area, because it would pave over almost 3,000 acres of valuable farmland.
Get on board to shape Washington's future Futurewise is Washington’s only non-profit that works statewide on land use issues. Our work crosses the urban/rural divide—we encourage growth in cities to create healthy, affordable, low-carbon communities and we protect our state’s precious natural habitat, farmland and rural communities from urban sprawl.
During the week of December 6th, advocates across the state will take action to contact their legislators, urging them to update our state's Growth Management Act to meet today's biggest challenges. By pledging to join our WA Can't Wait Week of Action, you will receive daily emails during the week of December 6th with easy advocacy actions to contact your legislators about our three WA Can't Wait priorities, as well as access to the week's virtual events.
The 2022 legislative session ended on March 10th. Below you can find a timeline for each of our legislative priorities, and where they ended up when the clock struck midnight on the 10th.
Futurewise recently settled our appeal of the Pierce County Centers and Corridors comprehensive plan update and we're proud to share that the county addressed all of our concerns!
This article was originally published in The Urbanist
This article was originally published in The Urbanist.
This article was originally published in The Urbanist
It’s a very special year for Futurewise. This year marks Tim Trohimovich’s 20th anniversary with us! Tim serves as Futurewise’s Director of Planning and Law and is our in-house legal counsel.
Shoreline Master Programs
Futurewise is currently nominating cities and counties in Washington for complete streets award funding from the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB). Qualified cities and counties can download our 2021 nomination form here.
Along with our partners, we are excited to announce the launch of King County for Everyone (KC4E), a broad coalition network of organizations and individuals working to build a future where everyone, regardless of income level or background, has access to a safe, stable, and affordable home. KC4E represents the regional evolution of the work by Seattle for Everyone to push for access to more housing in every income group, subsidy and support for affordable housing, and equitable development strategies. This expanded approach recognizes that local and regional housing affordability and equity issues are inextricably connected.
At Futurewise, we believe that everyone deserves to live in dignified, safe, and affordable housing, that we must do everything we can to protect our communities and environment from the worst impacts of climate change, and that in doing all of this work we must be centering the voices and experiences of frontline communities. These crises are interconnected and are having real and profound impacts on Washingtonians right now- so this legislative session we sought to pass bold and comprehensive policy that would get at their roots. That’s why we launched our Washington Can’t Wait Campaign this past September to pass updates to our state’s Growth Management Act that would address some of the biggest crises facing our state. Here’s how it went:
We’re officially past the opposite chamber deadline for legislation to pass: here’s what we’ve accomplished together.
You know that part of the superhero movie, toward the end when it seems like the heroes are outnumbered and outgunned? We know that our heroes will win in the end, but at that moment, it’s not clear how.
It’s official: both HB 1099 and HB 1220 have cleared the next hurdle in their journey to the governor’s desk, passing out of the Senate Housing and Local Government Committee last week. Now both bills are in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, where they’ll need another YES vote before heading to the Senate floor.
After wrapping up our second Week of Action, we’re back to the grind to make sure HB 1099 and HB 1220 make it out of committee this week. Here’s the scoop:
It’s official: we’re halfway through the legislative session. Only 44 days left to pass our Washington Can’t Wait campaign priorities. With that in mind, let’s dive right in!
We’ve got some very, very good news to share. Drumroll please….
Welcome to Week 8! We’re pressing up against a deadline – March 9th – to get all three Futurewise bills (SB 5042, HB 1099, and HB 1220) passed out of their house of origin. This week's legislative update is focused on what you can do to get these bills passed.
We’re in week 7 of the legislative session and we're calling on all of our supporters to help us make sure that SB 5042, Futurewise's GMA vesting bill, and HB 1099, Futurewise's climate GMA bill, keep moving! Can you take two quick actions to keep these bills alive?
Welcome to the sixth legislative update from Futurewise’s Washington Can’t Wait Campaign!
We’re back with another legislative update! The first thing to note: we’re just one week away from our first major legislative deadline. February 15th marks the cutoff for bills to be passed out of a policy committee in order to continue to be considered by legislators. Good news for Futurewise supporters: two out of three priority bills are already out of committee, and we expect the third to be voted out this week. With that in mind, this week’s update will be pretty short and sweet!
Welcome to our weekly legislative update. The session continues to move along at an often unpredictable pace, and we will continue to do our best to keep you informed on where our priority legislation sits in the process.
Welcome to our third week of session!
Session is officially in swing! Here at Futurewise, we’re keeping all our supporters in the loop about top land-use priorities, as well as other important legislation that we think you should know about.
Welcome to our first legislative update for the Washington Can’t Wait Campaign and Futurewise's other legislative priorities! Stay tuned for a new post every Monday to get information on our priorities as our various bills move through the legislature and any relevant calls to action that you can take to support these priorities.
Washington Can't Wait Campaign supporters from across the state have been writing and submitting incredible op-eds and letters to the editor in support of updating the Growth Management Act to address climate change, housing affordability, and environmental justice. Below you will find a list of all submissions that have been published to date. This page will continue to be updated throughout the 2021 legislative session as our volunteer writers continue their incredible work. Interested in writing a piece to submit to your local paper? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for resources and support to get started!
Washington State Supreme Court decides not to review Futurewise win to protect farmland in Ferry County
If there is anything that the wildfires this summer have taught us, it is that climate change has arrived at our doorstep in Washington and we are running out of time to take substantive action on an issue that is having disproportionate impacts on our communities. No matter your race, class, creed, or political party, we all have a stake in ensuring that Washington is a healthy, sustainable, and equitable place to live for this and all future generations.
If there is anything that the wildfires this summer have taught is, it is that climate change has arrived at our doorstep in Washington and we are running out of time to take substantive action.
Futurewise is launching our Washington Can’t Wait Campaign to fight for action on climate change, environmental justice and affordable housing by passing the biggest changes to the Growth Management Act in three decades. Please join us for our Campaign Kickoff on Thursday, September 24 from 5:30 to 6:30. RSVP here.
Originally published at The Urbanist
Watch a virtual panel discussion with emerging leaders from Olympia, Port Angeles and Pasco. We're talking about housing affordability, farmland protection and what big cities can learn from their smaller neighbors.
Futurewise stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and protesters across America rising up to fight police brutality and demand health, safety, and freedom for the Black community. As our country confronts the racial injustice and violence of our law enforcement and criminal justice systems, we urge our elected officials to respond to the urgent demands of the families whose loved ones have been taken from them and of the protesters who have taken to the streets.
Growth Management Hearings Board concludes that the King County Wineries, Breweries, and Distilleries Ordinance violates state laws to protect the environment On March 26, 2020, the Growth Management Hearings Board (Board) granted Futurewise’s and the Friends of the Sammamish Valley’s dispositive motion. The Board agreed the King County Wineries, Breweries, and Distilleries Ordinance violated the Washington State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
Originally published in The Urbanist
We’re back with another Futurewise dispatch! This week we’re featuring our Livable Communities program, with Tiernan Martin, Livable Communities Manager, and Cameron Steinback, Livable Communities Coordinator. We talk about the challenges of community engagement during a pandemic and what we’re learning from equity focused planners across the country.
Futurewise Executive Director Alex Brennan joined national transit leaders for a moderated discussion about how the Covid-19 crisis is impacting transit and mobility.
Here in Washington, we're entering our third week of the governor's Stay Home, Stay Healthy order to prevent the spread of coronavirus in our communities. While everyone is stuck at home, we're going to be sharing weekly dispatches from our staff and partners around the state. First up, Alison Cable, our Tri-Cities Program Manager.
Check out our 30th anniversary retrospective of the Growth Management Act and Futurewise's victories.
Futurewise and Zero Waste Washington are jointly seeking a part-time Full Charge Bookeeper to support the great work of both our organizations.
The Story Behind HB 2427, the GMA Climate Goal Bill
Last week we were thrilled to share that the Washington State House of Representatives is leading on climate by passing HB 2427, a new bill that would add a climate goal to the GMA and require our state’s largest counties and the cities in those counites to plan for climate change. Now it’s time for the Senate to take up the bill. Ask your senator to vote YES on HB 2427 to act on climate.
On 30th Anniversary of Growth Management Act, Washington State Could Become One of the First to Require Local Planning for Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
We are now 3 weeks into this year’s short legislative session. At this point, most of the bills we are tracking have gotten a hearing and we are a week away from crucial decisions about which bills make it out of their policymaking committees. This is a great time to reach out to legislators.
Join the Futurewise team as one of our Livable Communities Coordinators!
The 2020 legislative session kicked off on Monday! We have a short session -- just 60 days -- to accomplish some big goals. Below we're sharing our top priorities along with some bills to watch.
Last year, Futurewise was excited to support HB 1923, a bill out of the state legislature that encouraged more housing options across Washington state and provided planning dollars to municipalities who committed to changing development regulations or adopting housing action plans. Here’s an overview of what’s included in HB 1923.
Wonkabout Washington is back after a brief hiatus and we’re wrapping up the year with an exceptionally wonky topic that has broad impacts for land use law and tenant rights regulations across Washington. That’s right, we’re talking this month about takings law!
Together we can be bold. We're at a critical moment in our state’s history. Our aquatic ecosystems are at the breaking point, reflected in the dire straits of our local salmon runs and resident orcas. Greenhouse gas emissions have started rising again, leaving us far off track for meeting the targets we know are essential to protect our planet’s future. Housing prices having skyrocketed, with thousands living on the streets, and homeownership out of reach for a whole generation. And with the passage of I-976, our state is at risk of backsliding towards auto-dependent, sprawling growth that clogs our roads and pollutes our air.
Originally published in The Urbanist
Futurewise is excited to announce that Alex Brennan will be joining the organization as our new Executive Director!
Originally published in The Urbanist
For almost 30 years, Futurewise has worked to encourage sustainable natural and built environments by using the policy, advocacy and legal tools available through Washington State’s Growth Management Act (GMA). We have great appreciation for the GMA framework, however, we also recognize that Washington is a different place than it was in 1990 when the GMA was adopted. The work of managing growth needs to evolve and adapt over time, particularly as the impacts of climate change and the disparities between different segments of the population rapidly increase.
Dear Supporters of Futurewise, I’m writing to inform you that our Executive Director, Chris Wierzbicki, has resigned from Futurewise effective July 30th. Chris was offered a position as the Public Works Director for the City of Bainbridge Island (where he has lived for 12 years), and has decided to accept the offer for both personal and professional reasons. Chris has been a real asset for Futurewise since he joined in 2015, so it is with great sadness that I share this announcement, but I wish him well in his new endeavors, I know he will do well for the City.
Originally published in The Urbanist
Originally published in The Urbanist
We’re pleased to announce that HB 1923 passed both the House and Senate yesterday – the final version of the bill closely reflects the summary that we offered in our blog post of April 12th. Even though the bill has weaknesses – particularly the optional nature of the increased density provisions – the context and process that led to its passage offer much to be hopeful about.
While we wait for our priority bill, HB 1923 to make it out of the Senate after some minor language changes, here’s an update on the status of some of the other bills we have been supporting in Olympia in the last few weeks:
Originally published in The Urbanist
Benton County is the second fastest growing county in all of Washington state. As the County welcomes thousands of new residents each year, we as a community have a responsibility to plan wisely for growth. County residents want to protect existing wells and accommodate future development. That’s why Futurewise and Benton County are excited to announce a settlement agreement that will safeguard water resources, plan for improved state highway and transit service, and plan for adequate wildfire fighting capabilities within the County.
We have been working hard in Olympia over the last couple of weeks to shape HB 1923 into legislation that aligns our growth strategy goals and values: advancing equitable, affordable in-fill development in cities that offer access to opportunity and frequent transit service. The current iteration of the bill (which has changed since it’s last posting, available here), sits in the Senate Rules Committee, which we believe will vote to move the bill in the next day or two.
There’s only about five weeks remaining in the legislative session at this point, and we are continuing to track the twists and turns of our priority bills.
The update from Olympia today finds our priority bill, HB1923, in a precarious position. This past week the bill moved out of the House, and onto the Senate – but with a host of watered-down provisions, including the following: (for an overview of the last iteration of the bill - more or less - see our blog post from February 8th)
Next week, we’ll be celebrating community leaders from across Washington at our Spring Luncheon and Livable Communities Awards. Each year, Futurewise honors those who are working to make our state a more sustainable, equitable and vibrant place to live. This year’s awardees hail from all over Washington and are pioneering innovate approaches to planning, environmental education, community development and more.
Today we are throwing our support behind two very important bills, 2SHB 1923 and SB 5812, in the hopes they make progress this week.
On Tuesday, March 19th, Futurewise is welcoming activist scholar Dr. Lisa K. Bates, Ph.D. as our Keynote Speaker for the Spring Luncheon and Livable Communities Awards. Dr. Bates will be speaking on the topic “Housing Justice, not for ‘Just Us’”, a timely exploration of the false dichotomies that anchor the affordable housing debate and proposal for how we can advance equitable, effective affordable housing policy. In this month’s Wonkabout Washington, we’re giving you a preview of Dr. Bates’ work. If you’d like to meet her in person, join us at the Spring Luncheon and Livable Communities Awards, where The Urbanist will be receiving the Excellence in Smart Growth and Transportation Award. Tickets are sliding scale and available at Futurewise.org/luncheon.
Our work in Olympia slows just a bit this coming week, as cutoff for policy-focused bills just occurred. While at this point in time we can’t quite guarantee the status on each of the bills we’ve been tracking, here are some key updates and predictions:
Thanks for tuning in to this week for an update on Futurewise legislative actions. Next week will be the last week for committee hearings on policy-focused bills, meaning that all bills that aren’t moved out of committee by next Friday will be considered “dead”. The cutoff for bills with a fiscal impact is two weeks later, on March 1st.
Thanks for following us as we engage on the bills this session that resonate with (or against) our organizational values. Here are the bills up for testimony this coming week:
Thanks for keeping up with us as this fourth week of the 2019 legislative session is almost behind us. Coming up next week are a host of new bills and issues we will be testifying on:
In addition to the bills we reported on last week, we’re presently keeping our eye on a few more that are coming into focus:
Originally published in The Urbanist
The 2019 Washington State Legislative session opened with a host of land-use and growth management issues that we’re working to weigh in on. Here is a quick rundown of the issues we are focusing on this week:
Stay in-the-know with Futurewise! Sign up to get regular email updates about our legislative advocacy, legal work and community projects.
Monday is the first day of the 2019 Washington State legislative session, and Futurewise is preparing to engage on a host of important issues related to land-use and transportation. We have been carefully developing our priorities this year, as Democrats will be entering the 2019 session holding their strongest majority in recent years with a 16-vote margin (57-41) in the House and a 7-vote margin (28-21) in the Senate.
In 2018, Futurewise continued our work across Washington to advance livable communities while protecting our state’s most valuable natural resources. Here’s just a few of our top victories from the past year:
To our supporters,
Futurewise is hiring for two positions -- a Water Resources Project Coordinator and an Events and Communications Intern. Check out the job descriptions below for more information.
Many of our communities publicly owned land that is no longer a necessity; with our State’s desperate need for more affordable housing, it makes sense for jurisdictions to sell that excess land to below market rate for the production of income-restricted affordable homes and other public goods
On August 14, 2018, the Pierce County Council voted to double amount of working farmland county policy will conserve long-term. The recent Pierce County Fresh Look report concluded that “[t]here’s near-consensus support for protecting Pierce County’s best farmland and sustaining the economic viability of local agriculture.”
Wow, what a great night! We were thrilled to see over 100 people turn out to learn about Woody Guthrie and the Grand Coulee Dam, and listen to music from local artists Trentalange, Matt Tilghman-Havens, and Naomi Wachira.
Futurewise is serving on the Advisory Committee for the Ultra High-Speed Ground Transportation Study - a WSDOT effort to investigate intercity passenger transportation system traveling at speeds of 250 mph or more between Vancouver, BC and Portland, OR (with several possible stops in between). The committee includes a mix of local, state and international leadership, including legislators and representatives from the Governor's office, and the office of the BC Premier, and will be meeting over the course of the next year to provide guidance and feedback. While this concept has been around for at least a decade or more, the most recent effort was given new life by interest from the private sector, including Microsoft, who are participating in the study phase of the project funding.
The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is updating their recommendations for scientifically sound management of riparian ecosystems (rivers, streams and surrounding areas). Futurewise largely supports these changes and the attached comment letter outlines our suggestions for improving them further.
Futurewise has worked with City of Seattle staff for several years, providing input on policy regarding Accessory Dwelling Units. We're excited to
For over a year, Futurewise has been leading the outreach work for the Seattle for Everyone Coalition’s support of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA). Within the HALA are 65 distinct policy recommendations that work together to address the housing affordability crisis Seattle is facing.We know that people are happier when they are able to live close to jobs, schools, parks and other amenities; and that living in dense urban areas reduces our environmental footprint. That’s why we have pushed for key policy recommendations from the HALA that will help to increase our housing stock, reserve homes for our low-income neighbors as well as curb sprawl.Since its creation in 2015, Futurewise and Seattle for Everyone have worked to pass many of the HALA policy recommendations. Some of the key policy highlights that have passed to date include:
Last week, Outreach Coordinator Angela Compton traveled to Yakima with the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance (WLIHA) to facilitate a workshop on Storytelling for Advocacy at the 2018 Conference for Ending Homelessness.
Futurewise partnered with S4E and Welcoming West Seattle to host a panel discussion for Affordable Housing Week 2018. The discussion was held at Southwest Youth and Family Services in West Seattle and covered the topics of transit oriented development and affordable housing – specifically, the role that the City of Seattle and Sound Transit can play to help facilitate affordable housing around future light rail stations in West Seattle and across the City.
Futurewise is excited to announce that the Tacoma City Council voted unanimously to approve the Tacoma Mall Subarea Plan on Tuesday, May 15. The plan is an innovative example of smart urban growth, including increases in transportation access, implementation of affordable housing incentives, and promotion of resident and environment health by encouraging green infrastructure.
Futurewise is helping coordinate the 2018 Stormfest in Des Moines Beach Park. Stormfest is an interactive stormwater science festival that provides experiential field lesson to 6th grade students from the Highline School District.
On April 27th, the Sound Transit Board updated the agency transit oriented development (TOD) policies to implement equitable transit oriented development (eTOD) and adopted a plan that allows for land to be discounted for affordable housing. This is the culmination of 3 years of work, starting with the 2015 transportation package, to update and incorporate affordable housing requirements in the Sound Transit TOD policy. With the passage of ST3 in 2016, Futurewise went straight to work with Sound Transit and partner organizations to advocate with staff and Sound Transit Board members to shape the policy.
As part of our collaboration with the City of Algona and the Algona Public Awareness Action Coalition (APAC), Futurewise has kicked off Grow with Algona and we have gotten some great environmental stewardship projects literally in the ground! In just one day, Algona residents planted 22 Pacific dogwood trees all around Matchett Park in collaboration with City staff, as part of a tree planting effort we are leading. We carefully selected dogwoods for the high-water table in Algona and the maintenance and beauty requirements of the City.
The Mall Subarea Plan has the potential for transforming a critical Tacoma neighborhood into a model of positive urban growth, as well as implementing ground-breaking policies that could influence planning in other areas of the city. Futurewise supports the policies and goals as outlined in the city’s plan materials: investment in job growth; increases in transportation access; implementation of affordable housing incentives, and promotion of resident and environment health by encouraging a variety of green infrastructure. Click here for a link to the city's plan.
Imagine a policy that could help lower the cost of rent, relieve congestion, reduce our transportation emissions and air pollution, and also improve bicycle parking. By changing Seattle’s rules for off-street parking in new buildings, Futurewise and our community partners were able to achieve all of these goals. Legislation to update parking requirements in Seattle passed through Seattle City Council on April 2nd. This new legislation will:
On April 19, 2018, Futurewise filed an appeal of the Benton County Comprehensive Plan on the grounds that sprawling development is unsustainable in rural areas without adequate planning for drinking water. The county’s comprehensive plan assumes the high end of state population growth projections, or 6,794 more people in the rural area in the next 20 years. Water resource planning efforts in the lower Yakima River have made clear that water in Benton County is already allocated and flows in the river are too low for salmon and steelhead outmigration and rearing.
Futurewise is hiring in Tacoma!
StormFest is a unique 2-day, interactive, stormwater science focused educational festival for 6th grade students at Highline School District. Environmental Science Center is adapting the hands-on Drain Rangers curricula to create 5 different 25-minute innovative, in-field, experiential lessons focused on local water quality and stormwater solutions that meet Washington State Common Core and NGSS 6th grade standards. We are seeking individuals with varying levels of experience in environmental science (including watershed science), education (formal or informal) or working with children. For more information, click here.
A powerful new set of health and safety protections are coming to the renters of Kent, Washington. At its March 20 meeting, the Kent City Council voted unanimously to adopt the Rental Housing Inspection Ordinance before a packed audience. The ordinance establishes a proactive system for ensuring that rental housing owners maintain their properties and provide healthy and safe living environments to their tenants. The adoption of this ordinance by the Kent City Council culminates a year of hard work by Futurewise staff, our partners at Living Well Kent, and a diverse group of community stakeholders.
It was a short session this year, but a rather productive one. See some highlights below on the bills we worked to support and prevent this year.
With policy committee cutoff soon approaching on February 23rd, today it appears that we're achieving success with our legislative agenda.
These are the bills we see coming forward next week in Olympia:
Last night - Thursday, January 18th - the Washington State Legislature effectively overturned the State Supreme Court Hirst decision by passing SB 6091. See our press release on this issue here.
This was the first week of the 2018 Legislative Session, and we were hard at work reviewing and testifying on a number of bills. Here is a brief summary of some of the highlights:
We’re getting a new database at Futurewise specifically designed to help organizations like ours “engage and change the world.” And while we couldn’t be happier, it is an exacting and complicated process to convert our files to the new format. While this is happening, we’ve had to slow down some of our donor communications to be sure that our record-keeping doesn’t get confused between systems. If you’ve made a gift to Futurewise recently, we want to thank you for your contribution and your patience.
This week kicks off the 2018 Washington State Legislative Session, and Futurewise will be present in Olympia working to serve the people of our state by advocating for important land-use and environmental issues.
In spite of many challenges, 2017 has been a year of wins and progress for growth management across Washington. Take a a look at some of what your support has made happen:
Futurewise lost a great friend and supporter in September. We were saddened to learn from our Spokane office of the passing of Elizabeth Cocchiarella due to pancreatic cancer. She lived life fully, gave generously and anonymously – and in this season of thanksgiving, we celebrate her life with gratitude.
It was but a year ago that I sent a message out to all of you, lamenting what had transpired the night before on election day 2016. We were eating doughnuts in the conference room - comforting one another, and suggesting that maybe it wasn't as bad as it looked. Looking back, it seems we were quite naïve.
This October, Futurewise brought together state and local agency stakeholders for a day-long convening focused on the use of innovative financing and funding approaches for solving environmental challenges. Field experts from across the county – from Maryland, to Chicago to California – presented a wide range of financing approaches, including the use of public-private partnerships and credit trading, to advance the construction of green stormwater infrastructure, improve the resilience of forests against wildfires, and solve surface water quality issues. Futurewise will beworking with stakeholders over the coming year to identify and advocate for pilot projects here in the Northwest that take advantage of these tools – including how they may be used to improve land-use outcomes in urban and rural areas of Washington.
Are you a sharp, energetic self-starter with excellent communication and interpersonal skills? Do you know someone else who is? We're seeking the perfect fit for a new team member who will educate and engage the public on the benefits of environmental quality, working directly with community members, partner organizations and decision makers.
This October, Futurewise will be hosting a convening on innovative financing tools such as pay for success, credit trading, environmental impact bonds, and community-based public private partnerships - with the hopes of inspiring local governments and agencies to start thinking creatively about how to solve some of our region's most pressing environmental and infrastructure challenges.
The City of Pasco - one of the cities in the Tri-Cities region - was the 10th fastest growing city in Washington State last year. The city, as well as the region in general, is seeing a huge influx of residents from other parts of the state, as well as young families and retirees in search of reasonable home prices and fair weather. All that growth means that urban development is more likely to start spreading out - an easy prospect in an area surrounded by seemingly limitless development potential. However, the sprawl protections enabled through the state's Growth Management Act limit that potential, which means that cities and counties in the region need a proactive strategy for economically viable growth in the coming decades.
Read at A Rushed "Fix" of Hirst Ruling Won't Solve Water Woes »
Futurewise Executive Director, Chris Wierzbicki, and Darcy Nonemacher, Government Affairs Director for the Washington Environmental Council talk with Diane Horn of KEXP about the wrap up of the 2017 legislative session on this "Sustainability Segment." Click hereto listen.
Read at Seattle Times - Op-Ed - Implement Hirst decision to allocate state’s water rights cautiously and fairly »
Read at The Daily Tribune »
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.
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 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.
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.
Beginning this September, Futurewise is leading community outreach for the Seattle for Everyone coalition.
Read at Auburn Reporter »