House approves Chambers’ bill to add counties to state’s Voluntary Stewardship Program

The state House voted 92-3 to approve a bill Saturday by Rep. Kelly Chambers that would open the window for counties to join the Voluntary Stewardship Program under the state's Growth Management Act.

“The Voluntary Stewardship Program was created in 2011. It allows participating counties to develop local work plans that use voluntary and incentive-based tools as an alternative to regulation to protect critical areas and agricultural lands,” said Chambers, R-Puyallup. “The opportunity for counties to be involved in the program closed in 2012 after 27 counties chose to participate. Pierce County and several other counties have expressed an interest in joining it, so we are re-opening the window for expanded participation.”

Under House Bill 1421, the date for counties to join the program is changed from January 2012 to July 1, 2024.

“This is an alternative program for protecting critical areas. Landowners and farmers want to be proactive and have opportunities to manage the land, but prefer an option rather than a mandate. To date, the program has been successful and has fostered cooperation between landowners and regulators,” Chambers added. “With this success, it makes sense to expand the window for other counties to participate, if they so choose.”

The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications