Senate Committee Releases Omnibus Housing Bill

April 4, 2022

The Senate omnibus housing bill includes resources for housing that will benefit cities but also contains problematic preemption policy.

The Senate Housing Finance and Policy Committee last week released an omnibus housing bill that contains $50 million in general fund spending for new and existing programs.

The bill, SF 3994, authored by Sen. Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake), committee chair, was amended by the committee and advanced to the Senate Finance Committee for considerdation on April 4.

Good news and bad news

While the bill includes important resources for new and existing programs that support homeownership, Article 2 of the bill also includes preemption language that cities have long opposed regarding planned unit development limitations and material design standards.

The bill also includes the removal of current statutory authority allowing cities to control private rents via ordinance if approved by residents in a general election.

Provisions in the bill

The bill includes several items of interest to cities.

Funding provisions would:

  • Provide a one-time increase in funding of $10 million for the Workforce Homeownership Program, which assists cities, tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, and cooperatives with grants to increase the supply of owner-occupied multi-family or single-family housing.
  • Allocate $35 million for a new Homeownership Investment Grants program, which would provide resources to community development financial institutions to support efforts that increase the supply of affordable owner-occupied homes, financing, acquisition, and rehabilitation of affordable owner-occupied homes, and efforts to increase access to homeownership for communities of color.

Policy provisions would:

  • Prohibit a city from conditioning approval of a building permit, subdivision development, or planned unit development (PUD) on the use of specific materials, design, or other aesthetic conditions that aren’t required in the State Building Code.
  • Repeal the exception to rent control that allows local units of government to control rents if approved by voters in an election. The repeal would be retroactive from Nov. 1, 2021.
  • Prohibit a city from requiring a PUD agreement in lieu of a proposed residential development if the development complies with existing zoning ordinances.
  • Require PUD agreements be made available to the public at least seven days prior to city review of the agreement

Continue seeking state-local partnership

League staff will continue to work with Sen. Draheim and members of the committee to voice our support for an increased state-local partnership in housing and caution against broad preemptions that do not guarantee affordability.

Read about the House omnibus housing bill

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