The Washington legislature passed House Bill 2152 and Governor Gregoire signed it into law on March 29. 2152 will extend approvals for short plats and subdivisions located inside city limits for up to nine years. This follows a similar effort from the 2010 legislative session with the passage of Senate Bill 6544 that extended final plats and subdivisions from five to seven years. In addition, several jurisdictions throughout Washington specifically tailored their own approval extensions to suit local needs. Senate Bill 6544 did carry with it a sunset of December 31, 2014.
Under 2152 those projects that had preliminary approval on or before December 31, 2007, within limits of a city and are not subject to the Shoreline Management Act have up to nine years to submit for final plat. Politics played into not extending this provision to counties directly. Of course, counties do have the authority to extend plat on their own and may elect to do so consistent with 2152.
The sunset provided for under 6544 was also modified by 2152. If a preliminary plat is approved by the local government on or before December 31, 2014 the final plat must be submitted to the local government within seven years. But if you get your approval one day later on January 1, 2015 you are back to only having five years to your final plat approval.
The policy reasoning behind extending approval for projects is clear. And Washington state is not alone in extending approvals. California and many jurisdictions throughout Oregon have adopted similar measures to those of Washington and its local municipalities. The intent is to preserve property value and create local stimulus by allowing projects with approvals to proceed forward rather than requiring the additional cost and time expense for re-reviewing a project.
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