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SEATTLE-In a move praised by builders and environmentalists alike, King County has approved rules designed to streamline its permitting process and encourage growth in urban areas.

The regulatory reform ordinance simplifies the permitting process for projects that pose little environmental risk in both the rural and urban areas. It also encourages development within the county’s Urban Growth Area.

More specifically, the law:

– Increases to 20 the number of dwelling units that may be constructed in the urban growth area without requiring SEPA review, the current threshold of eight (8) dwelling units will remain in the rural area;

– Eliminates administrative appeals for certain kinds of permits involving little administrative discretion;

– Increases to $250, the fee to appeal land use decisions to the hearing examiner, the current fee is $125;

– Clarifies that sensitive area review is not required for minor development proposals that do not impact surrounding sensitive areas; and

– Simplifies the process for filing a notice on title for sensitive areas.

Randy Bannecker of the Better Cities Coalition says, “This will increase the efficient use of buildable land and reduce development costs, while keeping environmental regulations in place.” Sam Anderson, executive officer for the Master Builders Association also notes, “When public officials get rid of unnecessary regulations on the building industry, future homeowners in King County are brought closer to the dream of owning their first home.”

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