Coupeville wins relieve from GMA

The Legislature passed a bill Friday that will give the town of Coupeville some relief from the Growth Management Act.

The bill, passed unanimously by the House of Representatives, writes in an amendment to the Growth Management Act that allows Coupeville to restrict zoning densities within town limits as long as it protects the physical, historic or cultural integrity of Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

“We’re thrilled,” said Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard. “It gives us more flexibility in protecting the historic character of the town.”

The bill’s original sponsor, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, echoed Conard’s sentiments. She guided the bill through the Senate earlier in the session.

“I think this is going to make a real difference in the quality of life in Coupeville,” Haugen said.

The town had been in a dilemma for years in trying to meet the goals of the Growth Management Act while trying to maintain its role within Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve.

Adopted in 1998, one of the goals of the Growth Management Act is to divert growth into cities and towns where services already exist. Because of this, the town officials have been hard pressed to meet the goals of the legislation and the reserve.

Coupeville is the only town in the state to fall completely within the boundaries of a National Historical Reserve.

Town officials and officials from Ebey’s Landing approached Haugen about a year ago to develop legislation.

Haugen sponsored legislation last February. It cleared the Senate about a week later.

The bill now heads to Gov. Locke’s office for his signature.

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