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State lawmaker wants to limit a county's power to veto housing developments

Casey Harlow / HPR

The housing committee chairs for the state house and senate hosted a webinar Thursday, outlining proposals for this legislative session.

During the event, senate housing chair Stanley Chang emphasized home construction needs to keep up with the growing resident demand.

To assist in housing production, Chang introduced a number of bills that would streamline development projects, allow for upzoning, and implement requirements for county production.

Chang also introduced Senate Bills 2500 and 3263.

"This would really focus on the discretion of the counties only to a very limited category of exception, which would be specific adverse impact to public health and safety," he said.

"And so for example, you wouldn't be able to disapprove a land use request under something as nebulous as the character of the district or the characteristics of the residents of this new project."

Chang says he anticipates resistance, but the ideas are worth discussing.

Other measures Chang proposed for this session also include allowing accessory dwelling units to be sold separately from a main residence, creating state homebuyer programs, and exempting developments on state land near rail stations from county zoning and density restrictions.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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