It is official, the 2010 legislative session is underway. The first day of session was welcomed by a gloomy downpour of rain, which pretty closely matches the general attitude of folks walking the legislative halls. That aside, the legislative campus is buzzing with activity once again.
The first hearing of major interests is the House Local Government and Housing Committee hearing, which you can watch live on TVW.
There are a few important pieces of legislation being heard today in the committee but the most interesting is Rep. Nelson's House Bill 2412.
House Bill 2412 will ban Fully Contained Communities in Western Washington. Fully Contained Communities (FCCs) are new developments outside of the Urban Growth Area. Examples of them include DuPont and Cascadia in Pierce County and Redmond Ridge in King County. As you will recall there was quite a fight around FCC's in Snohomish County last year.
As expected the developers and business interests are testifying against this legislation, while TCC and our friend's at Futurewise stand to support it.
I will be speaking in favor of the bill because fully contained communities create more sprawl and lead to increased emissions in the transportation sector. Also new FCCs require large transportation infrastructure dollars to support, because they are built outside of existing UGAs. At a time when city and county streets are crumbling and sidewalks across the state are in disrepair, it is fiscally irresponsible to spend public infrastructure dollars to build new roads leading to new sprawling developments.
One interesting thing to watch on this committee this year is now the Republican Minority leader of the House, Richard DeBolt, is serving on the committee which could drastically change the dynamics.
The issue of FCCs is not likely to go away over the next two months of session or in the years ahead.