OLYMPIA – On Thursday, April 11, the Legislature passed House Bill 1849, to simplify lease terms for first-class unplatted tidelands and shorelands managed by the Department of Natural Resources.
Current law limits leasing of first-class unplatted tidelands to 10 years, with the option to renew for terms of five years. The legislation would expand the maximum length of these lands to 55 years.
Prior to this legislation, the shorter lease agreements made it difficult for lessees, such as marinas and piers, to complete necessary habitat restoration and improvements. Funding for improvements is also difficult to attain as many funders require longer term leases.
“This better allows our small businesses to secure financing for these vital environmental improvements,” said bill sponsor Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow.
There are approximately 50 leases statewide subject to five year leasing limitations, including eight leases located in Friday Harbor, as well as La Conner, Mt. Vernon, Gig Harbor.
The bill now heads to Gov. Inslee’s desk to be signed into law.
The legislative session is set to adjourn on April 28.