Letter: Updates to the state Growth Management Act needed


It’s the time of the year when we consider what we’re thankful for. At the top of my list is that I get to live on beautiful Whidbey Island. We’re lucky to have stunning views, nearby hikes, abundant wildlife, and locally grown food.

Our rural lifestyle has been preserved in part because of Washington state’s Growth Management Act, which has protected open spaces and prevented sprawl for the past 30 years.

However, I’m also troubled by how our community is becoming increasingly unaffordable and exclusive, especially to other young people like me. I feel like we bought the last affordable home here, while others face high rents or have to move elsewhere.

Just in the past month, two families with young kids in our neighborhood had to move because their landlords had other plans for the properties. It’s hard to make a community when some neighbors don’t know if they’ll still be there next month.

During its upcoming session, the state Legislature has an opportunity to enact important updates to the Growth Management Act, to ensure we’re planning for affordable housing and climate change, while continuing to limit sprawl. I support these changes to bring affordable housing to Whidbey, and to every community across the state.

A statewide approach means that every place is contributing to — and benefiting from — affordable housing.

We have a brief window in which to make positive changes to the Growth Management Act before Washington’s cities and counties embark on their next comprehensive plan updates, which will lock in policy for the next decade.

As a resident of South Whidbey, I encourage our legislators to support and champion these important updates to the Growth Management Act to preserve and improve the livability of our community for all residents.

Jill Eikenhorst