King County executive wants greener development
Seattle Times staff reporter
Comprehensive PlanFor more information about King County Executive Ron Sims' proposed 2008 Comprehensive Plan, and the complete text, see www.metrokc.gov/permits/codes/CompPlan/
King County Executive Ron Sims plans to introduce legislation that would allow the county to reject or modify development projects because of their effect on global warming.
If the proposal is passed by the Metropolitan King County Council, county land-use officials believe King County would be the first jurisdiction in the nation to take that step.
Sims, who has made climate change a top issue during his third term, said Wednesday he will introduce legislation in May that would consider greenhouse-gas emissions as part of the environmental-review process.
King County already requires developers to answer questions about their projects' likely effects on climate, but approval of the projects doesn't depend on those answers.
Sims said ordinances implementing his proposed 2008 Comprehensive Plan also would offer "carbon credits" to developers who transfer their rural development rights to urban areas.
Because that would reduce sprawl — and thus climate-altering carbon emissions — such a transfer could offset a project's emissions that otherwise could jeopardize county approval, he said.
The details still are being worked out, Sims said: "We want to make sure it's market-defensible, it's legally defensible and it's based on the science."
He called his proposed carbon credits "a cap-and-trade scheme at a local level" that mirrors newly created national and international markets that trade carbon credits.
Sims unveiled his proposed comprehensive land-use plan, which is updated every four years.
The plan seeks to reduce the number of homes that can be built in rural areas by one-fourth by encouraging the market-based transfer of development rights to urban areas.
Developers would be required to obtain development rights under some circumstances and would be given greater bonuses in other cases for obtaining them.
Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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