Lowry uses veto pen to save growth management process

OLYMPIA - Gov. Mike Lowry tonight vetoed two sections (3 and 5) of a controversial bill that would have weakened the state's Growth Management Act.

Senate Bill 6637 will expedite the court review of Growth Hearings Board actions in certain cases, but also sought to allow the continuation of local ordinances in cases where the boards' decisions are being appealed. The local regulations would become the default rule even if they have been found to substantially interfere with fulfilling the goals of the act.

"While well intentioned, this section simply provides an incentive for local governments to continue to remain out of compliance with legitimate board orders," Lowry said. "I applaud the legislature's attempt to find a compromise in the polar viewpoints about the boards' authority, but these sections are not the answers."

Lowry also vetoed a section of the bill that would have directed the boards not to prioritize, balance or rank the goals of the act. This provision could have prevented the boards from ensuring that the goals have their intended effect. Such a limitation would have reduced the boards to a purely procedural role, making the Growth Hearings Boards irrelevant.

To work on these issues, Lowry has asked the Land Use Study Commission to make recommendations to the 1997 legislature and to the governor proposing how to clarify and simplify the existing provisions of the law. Such recommendations should propose how to establish greater certainty in local growth planning and should also encourage local planning and actions to comply with the requirements and goals of the act.


For more information, contact the Governor's Communications Office at 360-753-6790.