State of Washington
65th Legislature
2017 2nd Special Session
By Senator Short
Read first time 06/16/17. Referred to Committee on Local Government.
AN ACT Relating to the economic development element of the growth management act; amending RCW 36.70A.070; and adding a new section to chapter 36.70A RCW.
Sec. 1.  RCW 36.70A.070 and 2017 c 331 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
The comprehensive plan of a county or city that is required or chooses to plan under RCW 36.70A.040 shall consist of a map or maps, and descriptive text covering objectives, principles, and standards used to develop the comprehensive plan. The plan shall be an internally consistent document and all elements shall be consistent with the future land use map. A comprehensive plan shall be adopted and amended with public participation as provided in RCW 36.70A.140. Each comprehensive plan shall include a plan, scheme, or design for each of the following:
(1) A land use element designating the proposed general distribution and general location and extent of the uses of land, where appropriate, for agriculture, timber production, housing, commerce, industry, recreation, open spaces, general aviation airports, public utilities, public facilities, and other land uses. The land use element shall include population densities, building intensities, and estimates of future population growth. The land use element shall provide for protection of the quality and quantity of groundwater used for public water supplies. Wherever possible, the land use element should consider utilizing urban planning approaches that promote physical activity. Where applicable, the land use element shall review drainage, flooding, and storm water run-off in the area and nearby jurisdictions and provide guidance for corrective actions to mitigate or cleanse those discharges that pollute waters of the state, including Puget Sound or waters entering Puget Sound.
(2) A housing element ensuring the vitality and character of established residential neighborhoods that: (a) Includes an inventory and analysis of existing and projected housing needs that identifies the number of housing units necessary to manage projected growth; (b) includes a statement of goals, policies, objectives, and mandatory provisions for the preservation, improvement, and development of housing, including single-family residences; (c) identifies sufficient land for housing, including, but not limited to, government-assisted housing, housing for low-income families, manufactured housing, multifamily housing, and group homes and foster care facilities; and (d) makes adequate provisions for existing and projected needs of all economic segments of the community.
(3) A capital facilities plan element consisting of: (a) An inventory of existing capital facilities owned by public entities, showing the locations and capacities of the capital facilities; (b) a forecast of the future needs for such capital facilities; (c) the proposed locations and capacities of expanded or new capital facilities; (d) at least a six-year plan that will finance such capital facilities within projected funding capacities and clearly identifies sources of public money for such purposes; and (e) a requirement to reassess the land use element if probable funding falls short of meeting existing needs and to ensure that the land use element, capital facilities plan element, and financing plan within the capital facilities plan element are coordinated and consistent. Park and recreation facilities shall be included in the capital facilities plan element.
(4) A utilities element consisting of the general location, proposed location, and capacity of all existing and proposed utilities, including, but not limited to, electrical lines, telecommunication lines, and natural gas lines.
(5) Rural element. Counties shall include a rural element including lands that are not designated for urban growth, agriculture, forest, or mineral resources. The following provisions shall apply to the rural element:
(a) Growth management act goals and local circumstances. Because circumstances vary from county to county, in establishing patterns of rural densities and uses, a county may consider local circumstances, but shall develop a written record explaining how the rural element harmonizes the planning goals in RCW 36.70A.020 and meets the requirements of this chapter.
(b) Rural development. The rural element shall permit rural development, forestry, and agriculture in rural areas. The rural element shall provide for a variety of rural densities, uses, essential public facilities, and rural governmental services needed to serve the permitted densities and uses. To achieve a variety of rural densities and uses, counties may provide for clustering, density transfer, design guidelines, conservation easements, and other innovative techniques that will accommodate appropriate rural economic advancement, densities, and uses that are not characterized by urban growth and that are consistent with rural character.
(c) Measures governing rural development. The rural element shall include measures that apply to rural development and protect the rural character of the area, as established by the county, by:
(i) Containing or otherwise controlling rural development;
(ii) Assuring visual compatibility of rural development with the surrounding rural area;
(iii) Reducing the inappropriate conversion of undeveloped land into sprawling, low-density development in the rural area;
(iv) Protecting critical areas, as provided in RCW 36.70A.060, and surface water and groundwater resources; and
(v) Protecting against conflicts with the use of agricultural, forest, and mineral resource lands designated under RCW 36.70A.170.
(d) Limited areas of more intensive rural development. Subject to the requirements of this subsection and except as otherwise specifically provided in this subsection (5)(d), the rural element may allow for limited areas of more intensive rural development, including necessary public facilities and public services to serve the limited area as follows:
(i) Rural development consisting of the infill, development, or redevelopment of existing commercial, industrial, residential, or mixed-use areas, whether characterized as shoreline development, villages, hamlets, rural activity centers, or crossroads developments.
(A) A commercial, industrial, residential, shoreline, or mixed-use area are subject to the requirements of (d)(iv) of this subsection, but are not subject to the requirements of (c)(ii) and (iii) of this subsection.
(B) Any development or redevelopment other than an industrial area or an industrial use within a mixed-use area or an industrial area under this subsection (5)(d)(i) must be principally designed to serve the existing and projected rural population.
(C) Any development or redevelopment in terms of building size, scale, use, or intensity shall be consistent with the character of the existing areas. Development and redevelopment may include changes in use from vacant land or a previously existing use so long as the new use conforms to the requirements of this subsection (5);
(ii) The intensification of development on lots containing, or new development of, small-scale recreational or tourist uses, including commercial facilities to serve those recreational or tourist uses, that rely on a rural location and setting, but that do not include new residential development. A small-scale recreation or tourist use is not required to be principally designed to serve the existing and projected rural population. Public services and public facilities shall be limited to those necessary to serve the recreation or tourist use and shall be provided in a manner that does not permit low-density sprawl;
(iii) The intensification of development on lots containing isolated nonresidential uses or new development of isolated cottage industries and isolated small-scale businesses that are not principally designed to serve the existing and projected rural population and nonresidential uses, but do provide job opportunities for rural residents. Rural counties may allow the expansion of small-scale businesses as long as those small-scale businesses conform with the rural character of the area as defined by the local government according to RCW 36.70A.030(15). Rural counties may also allow new small-scale businesses to utilize a site previously occupied by an existing business as long as the new small-scale business conforms to the rural character of the area as defined by the local government according to RCW 36.70A.030(15). Public services and public facilities shall be limited to those necessary to serve the isolated nonresidential use and shall be provided in a manner that does not permit low-density sprawl;
(iv) A county shall adopt measures to minimize and contain the existing areas or uses of more intensive rural development, as appropriate, authorized under this subsection. Lands included in such existing areas or uses shall not extend beyond the logical outer boundary of the existing area or use, thereby allowing a new pattern of low-density sprawl. Existing areas are those that are clearly identifiable and contained and where there is a logical boundary delineated predominately by the built environment, but that may also include undeveloped lands if limited as provided in this subsection. The county shall establish the logical outer boundary of an area of more intensive rural development. In establishing the logical outer boundary, the county shall address (A) the need to preserve the character of existing natural neighborhoods and communities, (B) physical boundaries, such as bodies of water, streets and highways, and land forms and contours, (C) the prevention of abnormally irregular boundaries, and (D) the ability to provide public facilities and public services in a manner that does not permit low-density sprawl;
(v) For purposes of (d) of this subsection, an existing area or existing use is one that was in existence:
(A) On July 1, 1990, in a county that was initially required to plan under all of the provisions of this chapter;
(B) On the date the county adopted a resolution under RCW 36.70A.040(2), in a county that is planning under all of the provisions of this chapter under RCW 36.70A.040(2); or
(C) On the date the office of financial management certifies the county's population as provided in RCW 36.70A.040(5), in a county that is planning under all of the provisions of this chapter pursuant to RCW 36.70A.040(5).
(e) Exception. This subsection shall not be interpreted to permit in the rural area a major industrial development or a master planned resort unless otherwise specifically permitted under RCW 36.70A.360 and 36.70A.365.
(6) A transportation element that implements, and is consistent with, the land use element.
(a) The transportation element shall include the following subelements:
(i) Land use assumptions used in estimating travel;
(ii) Estimated traffic impacts to state-owned transportation facilities resulting from land use assumptions to assist the department of transportation in monitoring the performance of state facilities, to plan improvements for the facilities, and to assess the impact of land-use decisions on state-owned transportation facilities;
(iii) Facilities and services needs, including:
(A) An inventory of air, water, and ground transportation facilities and services, including transit alignments and general aviation airport facilities, to define existing capital facilities and travel levels as a basis for future planning. This inventory must include state-owned transportation facilities within the city or county's jurisdictional boundaries;
(B) Level of service standards for all locally owned arterials and transit routes to serve as a gauge to judge performance of the system. These standards should be regionally coordinated;
(C) For state-owned transportation facilities, level of service standards for highways, as prescribed in chapters 47.06 and 47.80 RCW, to gauge the performance of the system. The purposes of reflecting level of service standards for state highways in the local comprehensive plan are to monitor the performance of the system, to evaluate improvement strategies, and to facilitate coordination between the county's or city's six-year street, road, or transit program and the office of financial management's ten-year investment program. The concurrency requirements of (b) of this subsection do not apply to transportation facilities and services of statewide significance except for counties consisting of islands whose only connection to the mainland are state highways or ferry routes. In these island counties, state highways and ferry route capacity must be a factor in meeting the concurrency requirements in (b) of this subsection;
(D) Specific actions and requirements for bringing into compliance locally owned transportation facilities or services that are below an established level of service standard;
(E) Forecasts of traffic for at least ten years based on the adopted land use plan to provide information on the location, timing, and capacity needs of future growth;
(F) Identification of state and local system needs to meet current and future demands. Identified needs on state-owned transportation facilities must be consistent with the statewide multimodal transportation plan required under chapter 47.06 RCW;
(iv) Finance, including:
(A) An analysis of funding capability to judge needs against probable funding resources;
(B) A multiyear financing plan based on the needs identified in the comprehensive plan, the appropriate parts of which shall serve as the basis for the six-year street, road, or transit program required by RCW 35.77.010 for cities, RCW 36.81.121 for counties, and RCW 35.58.2795 for public transportation systems. The multiyear financing plan should be coordinated with the ten-year investment program developed by the office of financial management as required by RCW 47.05.030;
(C) If probable funding falls short of meeting identified needs, a discussion of how additional funding will be raised, or how land use assumptions will be reassessed to ensure that level of service standards will be met;
(v) Intergovernmental coordination efforts, including an assessment of the impacts of the transportation plan and land use assumptions on the transportation systems of adjacent jurisdictions;
(vi) Demand-management strategies;
(vii) Pedestrian and bicycle component to include collaborative efforts to identify and designate planned improvements for pedestrian and bicycle facilities and corridors that address and encourage enhanced community access and promote healthy lifestyles.
(b) After adoption of the comprehensive plan by jurisdictions required to plan or who choose to plan under RCW 36.70A.040, local jurisdictions must adopt and enforce ordinances which prohibit development approval if the development causes the level of service on a locally owned transportation facility to decline below the standards adopted in the transportation element of the comprehensive plan, unless transportation improvements or strategies to accommodate the impacts of development are made concurrent with the development. These strategies may include increased public transportation service, ride-sharing programs, demand management, and other transportation systems management strategies. For the purposes of this subsection (6), "concurrent with the development" means that improvements or strategies are in place at the time of development, or that a financial commitment is in place to complete the improvements or strategies within six years. If the collection of impact fees is delayed under RCW 82.02.050(3), the six-year period required by this subsection (6)(b) must begin after full payment of all impact fees is due to the county or city.
(c) The transportation element described in this subsection (6), the six-year plans required by RCW 35.77.010 for cities, RCW 36.81.121 for counties, and RCW 35.58.2795 for public transportation systems, and the ten-year investment program required by RCW 47.05.030 for the state, must be consistent.
(7) An economic development element establishing local goals, policies, objectives, and provisions for economic growth and vitality and a high quality of life. The element may include the provisions in ((section 3 of this act)) section 2 of this act. A city that has chosen to be a residential community is exempt from the economic development element requirement of this subsection.
(8) A park and recreation element that implements, and is consistent with, the capital facilities plan element as it relates to park and recreation facilities. The element shall include: (a) Estimates of park and recreation demand for at least a ten-year period; (b) an evaluation of facilities and service needs; and (c) an evaluation of intergovernmental coordination opportunities to provide regional approaches for meeting park and recreational demand.
(9) It is the intent that new or amended elements required after January 1, 2002, be adopted concurrent with the scheduled update provided in RCW 36.70A.130. Requirements to incorporate any such new or amended elements shall be null and void until funds sufficient to cover applicable local government costs are appropriated and distributed by the state at least two years before local government must update comprehensive plans as required in RCW 36.70A.130.
NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  A new section is added to chapter 36.70A RCW to read as follows:
(1) The economic development element required by RCW 36.70A.070(7) may include the following:
(a) A summary of the local economy, such as population, employment, payroll, sectors, businesses, sales, and other information as appropriate;
(b) A summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the local economy, which may include the commercial, industrial, manufacturing, natural resource, and other locally significant economic sectors and supporting factors such as land use, transportation, utilities, education, workforce, housing, and natural/cultural resources;
(c) An identification of policies, programs, and projects to foster economic growth and development and to address future needs;
(d) Policies to promote increases in family, individual, and business incomes;
(e) An examination of whether sites planned for economic development have adequate public facilities and services, and, as appropriate, a plan for any needed public facilities and services;
(f) Policies to encourage access to education and training for family wage jobs; and
(g) Policies and opportunities to address economic development including existing industries and businesses, value added manufacturing of locally produced natural resources, and the use of locally produced energy and other natural resources.
(2) Each county and city planning under this chapter is encouraged to adopt comprehensive plans and development regulations that promote economic development in urban and rural areas, and evaluate economic performance in the jurisdiction in the time since the most recent update to the comprehensive plan. Each county and city planning under this chapter may make findings regarding the economic condition of the jurisdiction. If there is stagnation or economic deterioration during the period of time since the most recent update to the comprehensive plan, the comprehensive plan and development regulations may be modified to increase economic development opportunities.
(3)(a) Until December 31, 2034, counties with a population of less than seventy-five thousand as of January 1, 2014, as determined by the office of financial management and published on April 1, 2016, that are planning under this chapter, and the cities within those counties, may identify policies, programs, and development opportunities to address the potential for economic deterioration and to seize economic development opportunities that may deviate from prescriptive interpretations of this chapter.
(b) Any city or county that seizes economic development opportunities that deviate from the prescriptive interpretations of this chapter, as permitted under subsection (3)(a) of this section, must submit a report to the department of commerce within one year of approving such policy, program, or development opportunity. Each report must identify the economic development opportunity and the ways in which that economic development opportunity deviates from the prescriptive interpretations of this chapter.
(c) Beginning on October 1, 2022, and every five years after until October 1, 2032, the department of commerce must submit a report to the relevant environmental and local government committees of the legislature, in compliance with RCW 43.01.036. Each report must include a list of jurisdictions that have reported economic development opportunities under (b) of this subsection, as well as a summary list of the economic development opportunities for each jurisdiction. Each report must also include findings regarding the ways in which economic development opportunities have deviated from the prescriptive interpretations of this chapter.
(4) For purposes of this section, economic deterioration is exemplified by, but not limited to, any combination of the following performance outcomes:
(a) Incomes that are at least ten thousand dollars less than the statewide median household income for the same year as established by the office of financial management;
(b) A decrease in the county's household median income during any year within the prior eight years;
(c) The inability of the jurisdiction to add new full-time jobs in sufficient quantities to provide for population increases;
(d) Decreases or stagnation of economic start-ups during multiple years within the prior eight years;
(e) Unemployment rates that are higher than the national and statewide averages over multiple years within the prior eight years; and
(f) Decreases or stagnation in the issuance of commercial building permits during multiple years.
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