House passes bill to help job creation in rural counties

Olympia, WA - 2/8/02 - Legislation that would amend the Growth Management Act and help stimulate job retention and small-business development in rural communities cleared the state House of Representatives Wednesday.

House Bill 1395, co-sponsored by Rep. Jim Buck, would allow a small-scale
employer to set up shop on a formerly occupied business site as long as the
new business is compatible with adjacent land uses and blends with the area
s rural character. The bill also would allow small businesses to expand
their existing premises if they abide by the same conditions.

"The Growth Management Act focused on curtailing sprawl in the state s
fast-growing urban areas, and the needs and unique circumstances of rural
communities and rural businesses weren't t taken into account," said Buck,
R-Joyce. "Expansion by existing businesses in small towns has been stymied
by the rules, and we've lost opportunities to attract new business investment.

"Small, independent businesses are the economic backbone of rural counties,
and this refinement of the GMA will benefit both new and expanding
businesses," he said. "We believe the bill will help protect existing jobs,
and by making rural areas more appealing to potential employers, bring new
job opportunities to the Peninsula and other areas of rural Washington."

The bill passed the House 97-0 and will now be considered by the Senate.

For more information, contact Rep. Jim Buck/(360) 786-7916

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