The Growth Management Act (GMA) is the state's comprehensive land use planning framework for counties and cities. The GMA establishes land use designation and environmental protection requirements for all Washington counties and cities, and a significantly wider array of planning duties for the 29 counties and the cities within that are obligated by population-based criteria or choice to satisfy all planning requirements of the GMA.
The GMA directs jurisdictions that fully plan under the GMA to adopt internally consistent comprehensive land use plans that are generalized, coordinated land use policy statements of the governing body. Comprehensive plans must include specific planning elements, each of which is a subset of a comprehensive plan. Planning jurisdictions must implement comprehensive plans through locally adopted development regulations that conform to the plan.
The GMA also establishes 14 goals in a non-prioritized list to guide the development of comprehensive plans and development regulations of counties and cities that plan under the GMA. Examples include urban growth, housing, and economic development.
Comprehensive plans must include a housing element that ensures the vitality and character of established residential neighborhoods. The housing element must include the following:
The housing goal guiding the development of comprehensive plans and development regulations is updated to provide that jurisdictions plan for and accommodate, rather than encourage the availability of, affordable housing.
The housing element of the comprehensive plan is updated to require jurisdictions to do the following:
Cities may not prohibit emergency housing, permanent supportive housing, or emergency shelters in multifamily, commercial, mixed use, or form-based zones where short-term rentals are allowed.
Definitions of "emergency housing," "emergency shelter," and "moderate-income household" are added.