S-1794.1  _______________________________________________


                    SUBSTITUTE SENATE BILL 5107



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senate Committee on State & Local Government (originally sponsored by Senators T. Sheldon, Honeyford, Hargrove and Rasmussen)



Authorizing rural counties to use alternative methods to achieve planning goals.

    AN ACT Relating to rural county planning goals under the growth management act; and adding a new section to chapter 36.70A RCW.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  A new section is added to chapter 36.70A RCW to read as follows:

    (1)(a) A rural county that is otherwise subject to the requirements of RCW 36.70A.040, after reaching an agreement with its cities to consider a proposal to implement this section, may develop a proposal for alternative methods of achieving the planning goals established by RCW 36.70A.020.  Such alternative methods shall not take the place of any requirement in this chapter unless a written alternative methods agreement has first been executed pursuant to this section.

    (b) The authority provided by this subsection may not be used to change the authority of a growth management hearings board to hear and determine petitions related to (b)(i), (ii), and (iii) of this subsection or to modify substantive requirements of this chapter, including but not limited to:

    (i) Requirements for the designation and protection of critical areas or for the designation and conservation of natural resource lands under RCW 36.70A.060(2), 36.70A.170, and 36.70A.172;

    (ii) The requirement to establish a process for the siting of essential public facilities pursuant to RCW 36.70A.200; or

    (iii) The requirement to adopt a capital facilities plan element pursuant to RCW 36.70A.070(3).

    (c) Before adopting any alternative methods of achieving the planning goals established by RCW 36.70A.020, and before adopting any development regulations to implement those alternative methods, a rural county shall provide an opportunity for public participation consistent with RCW 36.70A.035 and 36.70A.140.  An ordinance or resolution proposing or adopting an alternative methods agreement and a copy of the proposed and adopted alternative methods agreement must be submitted to the department in the same manner as provided in RCW 36.70A.106 for submittal of proposed and adopted comprehensive plans and development regulations.

    (2) For purposes of this section, "rural county" means a county with a population density of less than one hundred persons per square mile as determined by the office of financial management and published each year by the department for the period July 1st to June 30th.  "Alternative methods agreement" means a written agreement, reflecting all aspects of this section, that has been executed by the county and at least sixty percent of the cities in the county, so long as those cities represent a total of seventy-five percent or more of the population within incorporated areas of the county.

    (3) The alternative methods agreement adopted pursuant to this section shall be consistent with achieving the goals of RCW 36.70A.020 and shall ensure that adequate public facilities and services are provided concurrent with development.  The agreement must provide:

    (a) A long-term vision for the countywide region;

    (b) Alternative methods for achieving the goals of RCW 36.70A.020;

    (c) A plan for amending, if needed, countywide planning policies adopted pursuant to RCW 36.70A.210;

    (d) Consistency and coordination among local governments, including special purpose districts;

    (e) A strategy for addressing other issues, as appropriate, to meet local, regional, and statewide needs; and

    (f) Performance-based monitoring that provides for periodic reviews and adjustments, if needed, to achieve the goals of RCW 36.70A.020.

    (4) The alternative methods agreement adopted pursuant to this section may substitute for all or part of the comprehensive plan required under RCW 36.70A.040, subject to the limitations in this section.  The alternative methods agreement shall be implemented through the adoption of development regulations that are consistent with the agreement and the goals of RCW 36.70A.020.

    (5) A rural county that chooses to use an alternative methods agreement shall submit a report to the department on the results of its performance-based monitoring, pursuant to subsection (3)(f) of this section, at least every five years, beginning with the date the alternative methods agreement is executed.


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