Growth Management Act. The Growth Management Act (GMA) is the comprehensive land use planning framework for counties and cities in Washington. The GMA establishes land-use designation and environmental protection requirements for all Washington counties and cities. The GMA also establishes a significantly wider array of planning duties for 28 counties, and the cities within those counties, that are obligated to satisfy all planning requirements of the GMA. These jurisdictions are sometimes said to be fully planning under the GMA.
The GMA directs fully planning jurisdictions to adopt internally consistent comprehensive land use plans. Comprehensive plans are implemented through locally adopted development regulations, and both the plans and the local regulations are subject to review and revision requirements prescribed in the GMA. Comprehensive plans must be reviewed and, if necessary, revised every ten years to ensure that it complies with the GMA. When developing their comprehensive plans, counties and cities must consider various goals set forth in statute.
A city or town located in a fully planning county may opt out of a full review and revision of its comprehensive plan update if they meet the following criteria:
Commerce shall review the population growth rate for a city or town participating in the partial review at least three years prior to when the update is due and notify cities or towns of their eligibility.
A city or town that opts out of a full review and revision of its comprehensive plan must update its critical areas regulations and its capital facilities element and its transportation element as part of its scheduled update.
PRO: This is a proposal vetted by the GMA task force this interim. For context, this bill applies to 24 cities that contain less than one tenth of one percent of the state's population—about 6500 people. This helps calibrate the planning requirements to the size and regional needs of a jurisdiction. It alleviates the burden on small cities for administrative paperwork but still requires those cities to complete things like their critical areas ordinances and capital facilities plan. This bill contains trigger language that if a city's population or growth rate changes significantly, they are required to complete the full review and revision of their comprehensive plan.