Senate gives green light to affordable housing

Bills promote speedier permits, transit-oriented development, but success is not a done deal

Note: The following e-newsletter was sent to Sen. Chris Gildon’s subscribers March 20, 2023. To subscribe to Sen. Gildon’s e-newsletters, click here.

Costs imposed by government add $127,968 to the price of a typical new home in Washington state. Something worth considering, as the Legislature considers ways to increase the availability of affordable housing.


Dear friends and neighbors,

For years, the Legislature has been talking about promoting affordable housing. This year, we may have some success.

Two bills already passed the Senate that would reduce the cost of housing statewide. Both measures would help address the urgent need to develop more housing that working families can afford. I am proud to have been a part of this bipartisan effort, as a member of the Senate Housing Committee.

Increased Density Near Transit- Senate Bill 5466 would allow higher density near major transit stops. While this is part of the solution, I also believe we need to allow some additional development outside the already dense urban areas and will continue working to make that happen.

Speedier permitsSenate Bill 5290 builds on an idea I picked up from Florida. It gives government an incentive to process building permits on time. It sets strict timelines to process building permits and gives local governments specific supports to help process them on time. It also requires local government to pay a “late fee” if they miss their deadlines.  Permits delays are one of the biggest factors driving up the price of new construction. This will provide more certainty for builders and the potential homeowners they serve.

I introduced a key precursor measure and was delighted to see the idea reflected in the final bill. This bill passed the Senate 49-0 and now is under consideration in the House. If you missed my earlier video on this subject, you can see it by clicking here.

Warning signs in the House

Unfortunately, the success we have had so far this session is not a done deal. Two efforts under way in the final weeks of the session could negate current progress.

A rent control proposal died earlier in session and advocates in the House want to amend the rent control bill onto the transit-oriented development bill. Rent control is a hugely controversial topic. Tying rent control to the transit-oriented development bill would surely kill both and we cannot let that happen.

The other danger is a bill that came to us from the House which adds climate change as a required planning element to the Growth Management Act. HB 1181 would overwhelm our state’s land-use planning law with a myriad of political goals, from “environmental justice” to vehicle trip reduction efforts. Lawsuits from third-party organizations would bring development to a standstill. Any good we might do with speedier permits would be lost in the morass of litigation.

Greetings to the Daffodil Court

It was my honor to welcome the Pierce County Daffodil Festival and Royal Court in the Senate Tuesday. This is the signature festival for the communities of Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner and Orting, and this is one of the most pleasurable duties for those of us who represent this area. This year we celebrate the 90th anniversary of this community tradition, so central to our communities and the lives of our young people. The young ladies of the court are community ambassadors and role models for our youth. They are among the top academic and athletic students in their schools, and they provide hundreds of hours for community service each year.

Thanks for reading — it is an honor serving you!


Sen. Chris Gildon, 25th Legislative District

Deputy Leader, Senate Republican Caucus



Contact me!

PHONE: (360) 786-7648


MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. Box 40425/ Olympia, WA  98504


NOTE: Written communications are subject to disclosure under the Washington Public Records Act.