House Bill 1220 dictates that cities plan for their share of the region’s growth. HRB Public Policy Specialist Maggie Rich explains what this means for Bainbridge Island.

In 2021, the Washington State Legislature passed House Bill 1220. This legislation made substantial changes to the housing elements of the state’s Growth Management Act. The act, first established in 1990, is a series of statutes that regulates how cities like Bainbridge Island plan for growth. If you have attended any recent community workshops for the Winslow Subarea Plan or Comprehensive Plan Updates, you may have heard city officials refer to HB 1220 and how the city must update its policies to comply with this new state law.

House Bill 1220 requires jurisdictions like Bainbridge Island to “plan for and accommodate housing affordable to all economic segments of the population.” This planning takes place in the context of a city’s comprehensive and other subarea planning processes. Prior to this law, cities were still required to plan for their allocated amount of population growth by making appropriate changes to their housing and land-use policies. Now, with this new requirement, cities must also demonstrate that their land-use policies will allow for housing across the income spectrum. Said plainly, this law aims to ensure that cities are not only planning for market-rate housing but specifically for affordable housing.

Importantly, cities are not expected to directly provide this spectrum of housing themselves. Their role is to remove barriers to the development of affordable housing through changes to their zoning and land-use policies.

So, how much growth is Bainbridge planning for and how much of it must be affordable? With regional planning processes underway, our county-wide planning body adopted its final allocation numbers for Kitsap cities in June 2023:

As a provider of permanently affordable housing on Bainbridge Island, Housing Resources Bainbridge will continue to serve as an advocate of land-use policies that make it easier to build affordable housing in our community.