UPDATED Goodbye Houghton Community Council? HB 1812 Returns

UPDATE 1/6/2012 12:30PM HB 1812 has been removed from the House Committee on Local Government's agenda.

Last year's controversial House Bill 1812, which was crafted to eliminate the Houghton Community Council, is scheduled for a vote out of the House Committee on Local Government this Tuesday without a public hearing. In 2011, the Bill titled, "Changing provisions relating to community municipal corporations" caused a public outcry from supporters of the only two remaining community municipal corporations in the state (Houghton and East Bellevue) when it was learned that the legislature tried to quietly eliminate the two elected bodies. Local citizens from Kirkland started a petition drive and testified before the legislature in Olympia in support of the Houghton Community Council and were successful in stopping the action in 2011. Now House Bill 1812 is scheduled for "possible executive session" on Tuesday, January 10, 2012.

The agenda for the House Committee on Local Government for next Tuesday schedules HB 1812 for an executive session without a public hearing:

Washington State House Committee on Local Government - 01/10/12 12:00 pm

REVISED on 1/5/2012 at 3:51 PM

Public Hearing:

  1. HB 2152 - Clarifying timelines associated with plats.
  2. HB 2162 - Addressing appeal and permit procedures under the shoreline management act.
  3. HB 2201 - Addressing the use and governance of hearing examiners. (If measure is referred to committee.)

Possible Executive Session: HB 1812 - Changing provisions relating to community municipal corporations. (If measure is referred to committee.)

This old Entering Houghton sign now hangs on the wall at City Hall.

The Houghton Community Council (HCC) is an elected body which was created by the state over 40 years ago as part of the merger between the two cities of Kirkland and Houghton. Houghton was granted a say over land use issues within its boundaries. By design, the HCC exists as long as the people of Houghton continue to vote to keep it.

Today, the HCC is viewed by detractors as an impediment to the Kirkland City Council on land use issues and a roadblock for implementing the Growth Management Act since the HCC, in essence, has veto power on issues under their jurisdiction.

Some supporters of the HCC view it as a form of checks and balances to the progressive land use actions of Kirkland City Council. Like the Kirkland City Council, the HCC has regular meetings and works in conjunction with the Planning Department.

House Bill 1812 is sponsored by Representatives KirbyKagi and Moeller.