The housing element of Tumwater’s new comprehensive plan will require the most work among other portions of the plan as city staff would have to consider new state legislations, Planning Manager Brad Medrud told the city’s Planning Commission Tuesday, August 22.
Medrud was briefing the commission about the scope of the housing element in preparation for a work session in September to review the current housing element.
The Growth Management Act and the Revised Code of Washington require the housing element to cover several inclusions.
The housing element studies the city’s existing housing stock and explores how to best provide affordable housing for people across all economic segments. The city’s housing stock assessment would need to include emergency housing and permanent supportive housing, as well as identify the capacity of available land for housing development.
The document would include a statement of its goals, policies, and mandatory provisions for the development of housing, particularly for moderate-density housing this time around.
Provisions would need to consider low-income households, the role of accessory dwelling units, and housing location in relation to place of work, while also documenting programs and actions to meet the city’s goals.
Medrud highlighted that there are new state legislations regarding accessory dwelling units and the conversion of existing commercial or office spaces into residential uses. The latter legislation allows developers to increase the permissible density of a property by 50% over the upper limit, which could impact city services, as well as how the city staff assesses the city’s housing capacity.
The housing element would also need to address other barriers, such as gaps in funding and limitations of existing regulations. There are also requirements to identify and revise policies and regulations that lead to racially disparate outcomes and displacement.
According to Medrud, city staff are currently conducting a gap analysis of the current housing element and will have it ready by September.
The city is updating elements of the comprehensive plan as required by the Growth Management Act every ten years. Tumwater is required to complete the update before June 2025.