Over at Seattle Transit Blog this morning I posted about recent regulatory reform legislation that is substantially limited by state imposed growth limits.
Unfortunately, there isn’t anything the City Council can do to get out from under the rules that limit rolling back redundant process and regulation imposed by the state; that would take legislation in Olympia.
Here’s my idea. It’s probably an axe rather than a scalpel, but I think this could get the job done. Can we put this on the “to do” list for the 2013 legislative session?
Infill development — Categorical exemptions from chapter.
(1) In order to accommodate infill development and thereby realize the goals and policies of comprehensive plans adopted according to chapter 36.70A RCW, a city or county planning under RCW 36.70A.040 is authorized by this section to establish categorical exemptions from the requirements of this chapter. An exemption adopted under this section applies even if it differs from the categorical exemptions adopted by rule of the department under RCW 43.21C.110(1)(a). An exemption may be adopted by a city or county under this section if it meets the following criteria:
(a) It categorically exempts government action related to development proposed to fill in an urban growth area, designated according to RCW 36.70A.110, where
current density and intensity of use in the area is lower than called for in the goals and policies of the applicable comprehensive plan and the development is either:
(i) Residential development;
(ii) Mixed-use development; or
(iii) Commercial development
up to sixty-five thousand square feet, excluding retail development; (b) It does not exempt government action related to development that is inconsistent with the applicable comprehensive plan or would exceed the density or intensity of use called for in the goals and policies of the applicable comprehensive plan;
c b) The local government considers the specific probable adverse environmental impacts of the proposed action and determines that these specific impacts are adequately addressed by the development regulations or other applicable requirements of the comprehensive plan, subarea plan element of the comprehensive plan, planned action ordinance, or other local, state, or federal rules or laws; and
d c)(i) The city or county’s applicable comprehensive plan was previously subjected to environmental analysis through an environmental impact statement under the requirements of this chapter prior to adoption; or
(ii) The city or county has prepared an environmental impact statement that considers the proposed use or density and intensity of use in the area proposed for an exemption under this section.
(2) Any categorical exemption adopted by a city or county under this section shall be subject to the rules of the department adopted according to RCW 43.21C.110(1)(a) that provide exceptions to the use of categorical exemptions adopted by the department.