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Repealing GMA? Might Washington follow Florida’s lead?

Posted by Jay Derr
Northwest Land Matters

Posted 1/23/2013

originally written October 11, 2011

The Florida State Legislature repealed its growth management legislation last spring. While Florida’s repeal still permits local jurisdictions to implement growth management planning tools by their own choice, there are no longer state mandates (nor state oversight) in Florida to do so. Economic development and jobs were the key reasons articulated for the repeal.

Washington’s Growth Management Act was adopted largely following Florida’s model. Does this mean Washington might follow suit? At least for this next legislative session, where dollars, instead of growth policy are likely to be the major (if not sole) focus of the debate in Olympia, repeal or even significant overhaul of Washington’s Growth Management Act is not likely. However, cries for regulatory reform (including repeated requests from the Governor’s office for new ideas) could spawn suggestions that Washington consider following Florida’s lead once again—if not in this session, in the near future.

Perhaps at a minimum, those implementing the Growth Management Act in Washington might be well-advised to pay a bit more attention to the Economic Development Goal in the GMA and give local governments more ability to make (or change) land use decisions when deemed appropriate to promote economic development and job growth.

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