Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.
• To bring the rules into conformance with legislative changes to the Growth Management Act that occurred in 2009 and 2010.
• To adopt rules guiding implementation of RCW 36.70A.540 Affordable housing incentive programs.
• To address a petition to the agency requesting
modifications to WAC 365-190-050 Agricultural resource
lands, 365-196-425 Rural Element and 365-196-405 Land use
Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending chapters 365-190 and 365-196 WAC.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 36.70A.050, 36.70A.190.
Adopted under notice filed as WSR 10-17-043 on August 11, 2010.
Changes Other than Editing from Proposed to Adopted Version: Minor, nonsubstantive changes were made to WAC 365-190-050 to address comments and improve clarity.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 1, Amended 10, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 3, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 2, Amended 10, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: November 1, 2010.
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 10-03-085, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10)
WAC 365-190-050 Agricultural resource lands. (1) In classifying and designating agricultural resource lands, counties must approach the effort as a county-wide or area-wide process. Counties and cities should not review resource lands designations solely on a parcel-by-parcel process. Counties and cities must have a program for the transfer or purchase of development rights prior to designating agricultural resource lands in urban growth areas. Cities are encouraged to coordinate their agricultural resource lands designations with their county and any adjacent jurisdictions.
(2) Once lands are designated, counties and cities planning under the act must adopt development regulations that assure the conservation of agricultural resource lands. Recommendations for those regulations are found in WAC 365-196-815.
(3) Lands should be considered for designation as agricultural resource lands based on three factors:
(a) The land is not already characterized by urban growth. To evaluate this factor, counties and cities should use the criteria contained in WAC 365-196-310.
(b) The land is used or capable of being used for agricultural production. This factor evaluates whether lands are well suited to agricultural use based primarily on their physical and geographic characteristics. Some agricultural operations are less dependent on soil quality than others, including some livestock production operations.
(i) Lands that are currently used for agricultural production and lands that are capable of such use must be evaluated for designation. The intent of a landowner to use land for agriculture or to cease such use is not the controlling factor in determining if land is used or capable of being used for agricultural production. Land enrolled in federal conservation reserve programs is recommended for designation based on previous agricultural use, management requirements, and potential for reuse as agricultural land.
(ii) In determining whether lands are used or capable of being used for agricultural production, counties and cities shall use the land-capability classification system of the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service as defined in relevant Field Office Technical Guides. These eight classes are incorporated by the United States Department of Agriculture into map units described in published soil surveys, and are based on the growing capacity, productivity and soil composition of the land.
(c) The land has long-term commercial significance for agriculture. In determining this factor, counties and cities should consider the following nonexclusive criteria, as applicable:
(i) The classification of prime and unique farmland soils as mapped by the Natural Resources Conservation Service;
(ii) The availability of public facilities, including roads used in transporting agricultural products;
(iii) Tax status, including whether lands are enrolled under the current use tax assessment under chapter 84.34 RCW and whether the optional public benefit rating system is used locally, and whether there is the ability to purchase or transfer land development rights;
(iv) The availability of public services;
(v) Relationship or proximity to urban growth areas ((
to markets and suppliers));
(vi) Predominant parcel size;
(vii) Land use settlement patterns and their compatibility with agricultural practices;
(viii) Intensity of nearby land uses;
(ix) History of land development permits issued nearby;
(x) Land values under alternative uses; and
(xi) Proximity to markets.
(4) When designating agricultural resource lands, counties and cities may consider food security issues, which may include providing local food supplies for food banks, schools and institutions, vocational training opportunities in agricultural operations, and preserving heritage or artisanal foods.
(5) When applying the criteria in subsection (3)(c) of
this section, the process should result in designating ((
least the minimum)) an amount of agricultural resource lands
(( needed)) sufficient to maintain and enhance the economic
viability (( for)) of the agricultural industry in the county
over the long term; and to retain supporting agricultural
businesses, such as processors, farm suppliers, and equipment
maintenance and repair facilities. (( Economic viability in
this context is that amount of designated agricultural
resource land needed to maintain the economic viability of the
agricultural sector in the county over the long term.))
(6) Counties and cities may further classify additional agricultural lands of local importance. Classifying additional agricultural lands of local importance should include, in addition to general public involvement, consultation with the board of the local conservation district and the local committee of the farm service agency. It may also be useful to consult with any existing local organizations marketing or using local produce, including the boards of local farmers markets, school districts, other large institutions, such as hospitals, correctional facilities, or existing food cooperatives.
These additional lands may include designated critical areas, such as bogs used to grow cranberries or farmed wetlands. Where these lands are also designated critical areas, counties and cities planning under the act must weigh the compatibility of adjacent land uses and development with the continuing need to protect the functions and values of critical areas and ecosystems.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. 10-03-085, § 365-190-050, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10. Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050. 91-07-041, § 365-190-050, filed 3/15/91, effective 4/15/91.]
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 10-03-085, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10)
WAC 365-196-030 Applicability. (1) Where these guidelines apply.
(a) This chapter applies to all counties and cities that are required to plan or choose to plan under RCW 36.70A.040.
(b) WAC 365-196-830 addressing protection of critical areas applies to all counties and cities, including those that do not fully plan under RCW 36.70A.040.
(c) As of May 1, 2009, the following counties and cities within them are not required to fully plan under RCW 36.70A.040: Adams, Asotin, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Wahkiakum, Skamania, and Whitman.
(2) Compliance with the procedural criteria is not a prerequisite for compliance with the act. This chapter makes recommendations for meeting the requirements of the act, it does not set a minimum list of actions or criteria that a county or city must take. Counties and cities can achieve compliance with the goals and requirements of the act by adopting other approaches.
(3) How the growth management hearings board((
these guidelines. The growth management hearings board(( s))
must determine, in cases brought before them, whether
comprehensive plans or development regulations are in
compliance with the goals and requirements of the act. When
doing so, board(( s)) must consider the procedural criteria
contained in this chapter, but determination of compliance
must be based on the act itself.
(4) When a county or city should consider the procedural criteria. Counties and cities should consider these procedural criteria when amending or updating their comprehensive plans, development regulations or county-wide planning policies. Since adoption of the act, counties and cities and others have adopted a variety of agreements and frameworks to collaboratively address issues of local concern and their responsibilities under the act. The procedural criteria do not trigger an independent obligation to revisit those agreements. Any local land use planning agreements should, where possible, be construed as consistent with these procedural criteria. Changes to these procedural criteria do not trigger an obligation to review and update local plans and regulations to be consistent with these criteria.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. 10-03-085, § 365-196-030, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
(2) An appeal of a local comprehensive plan or
development regulation alleging a violation of the act must be
filed with the ((
appropriate)) growth management hearings
board (the board). The board must find compliance unless it
determines that the action by the state agency, county, or
city is clearly erroneous in view of the entire record before
the board and in light of the goals and requirements of the
act. To find an action clearly erroneous, the board must be
left with a firm and definite conclusion that a mistake was
(3) Although a county or city does not have to prove compliance, if challenged, it must provide to the hearings board an index of "the record" - all material used in taking the action which is the subject of the challenge. See WAC 242-02-520. This record should include the documents containing the factual basis for determining that the challenged action complies with the act. This information may be contained in the comprehensive plan or development regulations, in the findings of the adopting ordinance or resolution, or in accompanying background documents, such as staff reports.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. 10-03-085, § 365-196-040, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
(i) Is located west of the crest of the Cascade mountains; and
(ii) Has a mean annual flow of one thousand or more cubic feet per second as determined by the department of ecology.
(b) Subsection (1)(a) of this section does not apply to:
(i) Urban growth areas that are fully contained within a flood plain and lack adjacent buildable areas outside the flood plain;
(ii) Urban growth areas where expansions are precluded outside flood plains because:
(A) Urban governmental services cannot be physically provided to serve areas outside the flood plain; or
(B) Expansions outside the flood plain would require a river or estuary crossing to access the expansion; or
(iii) Urban growth area expansions where:
(A) Public facilities already exist within the flood plain and the expansion of an existing public facility is only possible on the land to be included in the urban growth area and located within the flood plain;
(B) Urban development already exists within a flood plain as of July 26, 2009, and is adjacent to, but outside of, the urban growth area, and the expansion of the urban growth area is necessary to include such urban development within the urban growth area; or
(C) The land is owned by a jurisdiction planning under this chapter or the rights to the development of the land have been permanently extinguished, and the following criteria are met:
(I) The permissible use of the land is limited to one of the following: Outdoor recreation; environmentally beneficial projects including, but not limited to, habitat enhancement or environmental restoration; storm water facilities; flood control facilities; or underground conveyances; and
(II) The development and use of such facilities or projects will not decrease flood storage, increase storm water runoff, discharge pollutants to fresh or salt waters during normal operations or floods, or increase hazards to people and property.
(c) Under (a)(i) of this subsection, "one hundred-year flood plain" means the same as "special flood hazard area" as set forth in WAC 173-158-040 as it exists on July 26, 2009.
(a) Each county planning under the act must designate an urban growth area or areas within which urban growth must be encouraged and outside of which growth can occur only if it is not urban in nature. Each county must designate an urban growth area in its comprehensive plan.
(b) Each city that is located in such a county shall be included within an urban growth area. An urban growth area may include more than a single city.
(c) An urban growth area may include territory that is located outside a city if such territory already is characterized by urban growth or is adjacent to territory already characterized by urban growth.
(d) Based upon the growth management planning population projection selected by the county from within the range provided by the office of financial management, and based on a county-wide employment forecast developed by the county at its discretion, the urban growth areas shall include areas and densities sufficient to permit the urban growth that is projected to occur in the county for the succeeding twenty-year period. Counties and cities may provide the office of financial management with information they deem relevant to prepare the population projections, and the office shall consider and comment on such information and review projections with cities and counties before they are adopted. Counties and cities may petition the office to revise projections they believe will not reflect actual population growth.
(e) The urban growth area may not exceed the areas necessary to accommodate the growth management planning projections, plus a reasonable land market supply factor, or market factor. In determining this market factor, counties and cities may consider local circumstances. Cities and counties have discretion in their comprehensive plans to make many choices about accommodating growth. Each urban growth area shall permit urban densities and shall include greenbelt and open space areas.
(f) Counties and cities should facilitate urban growth as follows:
(i) Urban growth should be located first in areas already characterized by urban growth that have existing public facilities and service capacities adequate to serve urban development.
(ii) Second, urban growth should be located in areas already characterized by urban growth that will be served by a combination of both existing public facilities and services and any additional needed public facilities and services that are provided by either public or private sources.
(iii) Third, urban growth should be located in the remaining portions of the urban growth area.
(g) In general, cities are the units of local government most appropriate to provide urban governmental services. In general, it is not appropriate that urban governmental services be extended to or expanded in rural areas except in those limited circumstances shown to be necessary to protect basic public health and safety and the environment and when such services are financially supportable at rural densities and do not permit urban development. Recommendations governing the extension of urban services into rural areas are found in WAC 365-196-425.
(h) Each county that designates urban growth areas must review, at least every ten years, its designated urban growth areas, and the densities permitted within both the incorporated and unincorporated portions of each urban growth area. This review should be conducted jointly with the affected cities. The purpose of the ten-year urban growth area review is to assess the capacity of the urban land to accommodate population growth projected for the succeeding twenty-year planning period. In conjunction with this review by the county, each city located within an urban growth area shall review the densities permitted within its boundaries, and the extent to which the urban growth occurring within the county has located within each city and the unincorporated portions of the urban growth areas.
(2))) (3) General procedure for designating urban
(a) The designation process shall include consultation by the county with each city located within its boundaries. The adoption, review and amendment of the urban growth area should reflect a cooperative effort among jurisdictions to accomplish the requirements of the act on a regional basis, consistent with the county-wide planning policies and, where applicable, multicounty planning policies.
(b) Each city shall propose the location of an urban growth area.
(c) The county shall attempt to reach agreement with each city on the location of an urban growth area within which the city is located.
(d) If an agreement is not reached with each city located within the urban growth area, the county shall justify in writing why it so designated an urban growth area.
(e) As growth occurs, most lands within the urban growth area should ultimately be provided with urban governmental services by cities, either directly or by contract. Other service providers are appropriate within urban growth areas for regional or county-wide services, or for isolated unincorporated pockets characterized by urban growth. Counties and cities should provide for development phasing within each urban growth area to ensure the orderly sequencing of development and that services are provided as growth occurs.
(f) Counties and cities should develop and evaluate urban growth area proposals with the purpose of accommodating projected urban growth through infill and redevelopment within existing municipal boundaries or urban areas. In some cases, expansion will be the logical response to projected urban growth.
(g) Counties, cities, and other municipalities, where appropriate, should negotiate interlocal agreements to coordinate land use management with the provision of adequate public facilities to the urban growth area. Such agreements should facilitate urban growth in a manner consistent with the cities' comprehensive plans and development regulations, and should facilitate a general transformation of governance over time, through annexation or incorporation, and transfer of nonregional public services to cities as the urban area develops.
(3))) (4) Recommendations for meeting requirements.
(a) Selecting and allocating county-wide growth forecasts. This process should involve at least the following:
(i) The total county-wide population is the sum of the population allocated to each city; the population allocated to any portion of the urban growth area associated with cities; the population allocated to any portion of the urban growth area not associated with a city; and the population growth that is expected outside of the urban growth area.
(ii) RCW 43.62.035 directs the office of financial management to provide a reasonable range of high, medium and low twenty-year population forecasts for each county in the state, with the medium forecast being most likely. Counties and cities must plan for a total county-wide population that falls within the office of financial management range.
(iii) Consideration of other population forecast data, trends, and implications. In selecting population forecasts, counties and cities may consider the following:
(A) Population forecasts from outside agencies, such as regional or metropolitan planning agencies, and service providers.
(B) Historical growth trends and factors which would cause those trends to change in the future.
(C) General implications, including:
(I) Public facilities and service implications. Counties and cities should carefully consider how to finance the necessary facilities and should establish a phasing plan to ensure that development occurs at urban densities; occurs in a contiguous and orderly manner; and is linked with provision of adequate public facilities. These considerations are particularly important when considering forecasts closer to the high end of the range. Jurisdictions considering a population forecast closer to the low end of the range should closely monitor development and population growth trends to ensure actual growth does not begin to exceed the planned capacity.
(II) Overall land supplies. Counties and cities facing immediate physical or other land supply limitations may consider these limitations in selecting a forecast. Counties and cities that identify potential longer term land supply limitations should consider the extent to which current forecast options would require increased densities or slower growth in the future.
(III) Implications of short term updates. The act requires that twenty-year growth forecasts and designated urban growth areas be updated at a minimum every ten years. Counties and cities should consider the likely timing of future updates, and the opportunities this provides for adjustments.
(D) Counties and cities are not required to adopt forecasts for annual growth rates within the twenty-year period, but may choose to for planning purposes. If used, annual growth projections may assume a consistent rate throughout the planning period, or may assume faster or slower than average growth in certain periods, as long as they result in total growth consistent with the twenty-year forecasts selected.
(iv) Selection of a county-wide employment forecast. Counties, in consultation with cities, should adopt a twenty-year county-wide employment forecast to be allocated among urban growth areas, cities, and the rural area. The following should be considered in this process:
(A) The county-wide population forecast, and the resulting ratio of forecast jobs to persons. This ratio should be compared to past levels locally and other regions, and to desired policy objectives; and
(B) Economic trends and forecasts produced by outside agencies or private sources.
(v) Projections for commercial and industrial land needs. When establishing an urban growth area, counties should designate sufficient commercial and industrial land. Although no office of financial management forecasts are available for industrial or commercial land needs, counties and cities should use a county-wide employment forecast, available data on the current and projected local and regional economies, and local demand for services driven by population growth. Counties and cities should consider establishing a county-wide estimate of commercial and industrial land needs to ensure consistency of local plans.
Counties and cities should consider the need for industrial lands in the economic development element of their comprehensive plan. Counties and cities should avoid conversion of areas set aside for industrial uses to other incompatible uses, to ensure the availability of suitable sites for industrial development.
(vi) Selection of community growth goals with respect to population, commercial and industrial development and residential development.
(vii) Selection of the densities the community seeks to achieve in relation to its growth goals. Inside the urban growth areas densities must be urban. Outside the urban growth areas, densities must be rural.
(b) General considerations for determining the need for urban growth areas expansions to accommodate projected population and employment growth.
(i) Estimation of the number of new persons and jobs to be accommodated based on the difference between the twenty-year forecast and current population and employment.
(ii) Estimation of the capacity of current cities and urban growth areas to accommodate additional population and employment over the twenty-year planning period. This should be based on a land capacity analysis, which may include the following:
(A) Identification of the amount of developable residential, commercial and industrial land, based on inventories of currently undeveloped or partially developed urban lands.
(B) Identification of the appropriate amount of greenbelt and open space to be preserved or created in connection with the overall growth pattern and consistent with any adopted levels of service. See WAC 365-196-335 for additional information.
(C) Identification of the amount of developable urban land needed for the public facilities, public services, and utilities necessary to support the likely level of development. See WAC 365-196-320 for additional information.
(D) Based on allowed land use development densities and intensities, a projection of the additional urban population and employment growth that may occur on the available residential, commercial and industrial land base. The projection should consider the portion of population and employment growth which may occur through redevelopment of previously developed urban areas during the twenty-year planning period.
(E) The land capacity analysis must be based on the assumption that growth will occur at urban densities inside the urban growth area. In formulating land capacity analyses, counties and cities should consider data on past development, as well as factors which may cause trends to change in the future. For counties and cities subject to RCW 36.70A.215, information from associated buildable lands reports should be considered. If past development patterns have not resulted in urban densities, or have not resulted in a pattern of desired development, counties and cities should use assumptions aligned with desired future development patterns. Counties and cities should then implement strategies to better align future development patterns with those desired.
(F) The land capacity analysis may also include a reasonable land market supply factor, also referred to as the "market factor." The purpose of the market factor is to account for the estimated percentage of developable acres contained within an urban growth area that, due to fluctuating market forces, is likely to remain undeveloped over the course of the twenty-year planning period. The market factor recognizes that not all developable land will be put to its maximum use because of owner preference, cost, stability, quality, and location. If establishing a market factor, counties and cities should establish an explicit market factor for the purposes of establishing the amount of needed land capacity. Counties and cities may consider local circumstances in determining an appropriate market factor. Counties and cities may also use a number derived from general information if local study data is not available.
(iii) An estimation of the additional growth capacity of rural and other lands outside of existing urban growth areas compared with future growth forecasted, and current urban and rural capacities.
(iv) If future growth forecasts exceed current capacities, counties and cities should first consider the potential of increasing capacity of existing urban areas through allowances for higher densities, or for additional provisions to encourage redevelopment. If counties and cities find that increasing the capacity of existing urban areas is not feasible or appropriate based on the evidence they examine, counties and cities may consider expansion of the urban growth area to meet the future growth forecast.
(c) Determining the appropriate locations of new or expanded urban growth area boundaries. This process should consider the following:
(i) Selection of appropriate densities. For all jurisdictions planning under the act, the urban growth area should represent the physical area where that jurisdiction's urban development vision can be realized over the next twenty years. The urban growth area should be based on densities which accommodate urban growth, served by adequate public facilities, discourage sprawl, and promote goals of the act. RCW 36.70A.110 requires that densities specified for land inside the urban growth area must be urban densities. See WAC 365-196-300 for recommendations on determining appropriate urban densities.
(ii) The county should attempt to define urban growth areas to accommodate the growth plans of the cities. Urban growth areas should be defined so as to facilitate the transformation of services and governance during the planning period. However, physical location or existing patterns of service make some unincorporated areas which are characterized by urban growth inappropriate for inclusion in any city's potential growth area.
(iii) Identifying the location of any new lands added to the urban growth area. Lands should be included in the urban growth area in the following priority order:
(A) Existing incorporated areas;
(B) Land that is already characterized by urban growth and has adequate public facilities and services;
(C) Land already characterized by urban growth, but requiring additional public facilities and urban services; and
(D) Lands adjacent to the above, but not meeting those criteria.
(iv) Designating industrial lands. Counties and cities should consult with local economic development organizations when identifying industrial lands to identify sites that are particularly well suited for industry, considering factors such as:
(A) Rail access;
(B) Highway access;
(C) Large parcel size;
(D) Location along major electrical transmission lines;
(E) Location along pipelines;
(F) Location near or adjacent to ports and commercial navigation routes;
(G) Availability of needed infrastructure; or
(H) Absence of surrounding incompatible uses.
(v) Consideration of resource lands issues. Urban growth areas should not be expanded into designated agricultural, forest or resource lands unless no other option is available. Prior to expansion of the urban growth area, counties and cities must first review the natural resource lands designation and conclude the lands no longer meet the designation criteria for resource lands of long-term commercial significance. Designated agricultural or forest resource lands may not be located inside the urban growth area unless a city or county has enacted a program authorizing transfer or purchase of development rights.
(vi) Consideration of critical areas issues. Although
critical areas exist within urban areas, counties and cities
should avoid expanding the urban growth areas into areas with
known critical areas extending over a large area. See RCW 36.70A.110(8) for legislative direction on expansion of urban
growth areas into the one hundred-year ((
plain of river segments that are located west of the crest of
the Cascade mountains and have a mean annual flow of one
thousand or more cubic feet per second.
(vii) If there is physically no land available into which a city might expand, it may need to revise its proposed urban densities or population levels in order to accommodate growth on its existing land base.
(d) Evaluating the feasibility of the overall growth plan. Counties and cities should perform a check on the feasibility of the overall plan to accommodate growth. If, as a result of this evaluation, the urban growth area appears to have been drawn too small or too large, the proposal should be adjusted accordingly. Counties and cities should evaluate:
(i) The anticipated ability to finance the public facilities, public services, and open space needed in the urban growth area over the planning period. When conducting a review of the urban growth areas, counties and cities should develop an analysis of the fiscal impact of alternative land use patterns that accommodate the growth anticipated over the succeeding twenty-year period. This provides the public and decision makers with an estimate of the fiscal consequences of various development patterns. This analysis could be done in conjunction with the analysis required under the State Environmental Policy Act.
(ii) The effect that confining urban growth within the areas defined is likely to have on the price of property and the impact thereof on the ability of residents of all economic strata to obtain housing they can afford.
(iii) Whether the level of population and economic growth contemplated can be achieved within the capacity of available land and water resources and without environmental degradation.
(iv) The extent to which the comprehensive plan of the county and of adjacent counties and cities will influence the area needed.
(e) County actions in adopting urban growth areas.
(i) A change to the urban growth area is an amendment to the comprehensive plan and requires, at a minimum, an amendment to the land use element. Counties and cities should also review and update the transportation, capital facilities, utilities, and housing elements to maintain consistency and show how any new areas added to the urban growth area will be provided with adequate public facilities. A modification of any portion of the urban growth area affects the overall urban growth area size and has county-wide implications. Because of the significant amount of resources needed to conduct a review of the urban growth area, and because some policy objectives require time to achieve, frequent, piecemeal expansion of the urban growth area should be avoided. Site-specific proposals to expand the urban growth area should be deferred until the next comprehensive review of the urban growth area.
(ii) Counties and cities that are required to participate in the buildable lands program must first have adopted and implemented reasonable measures as required by RCW 36.70A.215 before considering expansion of an urban growth area.
(iii) Consistent with county-wide planning policies, counties and cities consulting on the designation of urban growth areas should consider the following implementation steps:
(A) Establishment of agreements regarding land use regulations and the provision of services in that portion of the urban growth area outside of an existing city into which it is eventually expected to expand.
(B) Negotiation of agreements for appropriate allocation of financial burdens resulting from the transition of land from county to city jurisdiction.
(C) Provision for an ongoing collaborative process to assist in implementing county-wide planning policies, resolving regional issues, and adjusting growth boundaries.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. 10-03-085, § 365-196-310, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
(a) RCW 36.70A.115 requires counties and cities to ensure
that, taken collectively, comprehensive plans and development
regulations provide sufficient capacity of land suitable for
development within their jurisdictions to accommodate their
allocated housing and employment growth, including the
accommodation of, as appropriate, the medical, governmental,
educational, institutional, commercial, and industrial
facilities related to such growth, as adopted in the
applicable county-wide planning policies and consistent with
the twenty-year population forecast ((
for)) from the office of
financial management. To demonstrate this requirement is met,
counties and cities must conduct an evaluation of land
capacity sufficiency that is commonly referred to as a "land
(b) Counties and cities must, at minimum, complete a land capacity analysis that demonstrates sufficient land for development or redevelopment to meet their adopted growth allocation targets during the ten-year review of urban growth areas required by RCW 36.70A.130 (3)(a). See WAC 365-196-310 for guidance in estimating and providing sufficient land capacity.
(c) Counties and cities subject to RCW 36.70A.215 must determine land capacity sufficiency as part of the buildable lands reporting required at least every five years, and adopt and implement measures that are reasonably likely to increase the consistency between land capacity and growth allocations. See WAC 365-196-315 for guidance.
(d) Although it is not required, counties and cities may elect to conduct a land capacity analysis during the periodic review and update of comprehensive plans required under RCW 36.70A.130(1).
(e) A complete land capacity analysis is not required to be undertaken for every amendment to a comprehensive plan or development regulation outside of the act's required periodic reviews. However, when considering amendments to the comprehensive plan or development regulations which increase or decrease allowed densities, counties and cities should estimate the degree of increase or decrease in development capacity on lands subject to the amendments, and estimate if the capacity change may affect its ability to provide sufficient capacity of land suitable for development. If so, the county or city should complete a land capacity analysis.
(2) Recommendations for meeting requirement.
(a) Determining land capacity sufficiency. The land capacity analysis is a comparison between the collective effects of all development regulations operating on development and the assumed densities established in the land use element. In order to achieve sufficiency, the development regulations must allow at least the low end of the range of assumed densities established in the land use element. This assures a city or county can meet its obligation to accommodate the growth allocated through the county-wide population allocation process.
(b) Appropriate area for analysis. The focus of the analysis is on the county or city's ability to meet its obligation to accommodate the growth allocated through the county-wide population or employment allocation process. Providing sufficient land capacity for development does not require a county or city to achieve or evaluate sufficiency for every parcel of a future land use designation provided the area as a whole ensures sufficient land capacity for development.
(c) The land capacity analysis should evaluate what the development regulations allow, rather than what development has actually occurred. Many factors beyond the control of counties and cities will control the amount and pace of actual development, what density it is built at and what types and densities of development are financially viable for any set of economic conditions. Counties and cities need not ensure that particular types of development are financially feasible in the context of short term market conditions. Counties and cities should, however, consider available information on trends in local markets to inform its evaluation of sufficient land capacity for the twenty-year planning period.
(d) Development phasing. RCW 36.70A.115 does not create an obligation to ensure that all land in the urban growth area is available for development at the same time. When counties or cities establish mechanisms for development phasing, zoned densities in the short term may be established that are substantially lower than called for in the future land use designations. In these cases, a county or city ensures a sufficient land capacity suitable for development by implementing its development phasing policies to allow development to occur within the twenty-year planning period. Development phasing is described in greater detail in WAC 365-196-330.
(e) The department recommends the following means of implementing the requirements of RCW 36.70A.115.
(i) Periodic evaluation. Counties and cities ensure sufficient land capacity for development by comparing the achieved density of development that has been permitted in each zoning category to the assumed densities established in the land use element using existing permitting data. If existing permitting data shows that the densities approved are lower than assumed densities established in the land use element, counties and cities should review their development regulations to determine if regulatory barriers are preventing development at the densities as envisioned. This could occur as part of the seven-year review and update required in RCW 36.70A.130 (1)(a). It must occur at a minimum as part of the ten-year urban growth area review required in RCW 36.70A.130 (3)(a) and as part of the buildable lands review and evaluation program conducted under RCW 36.70A.215.
(ii) Flexible development standards. Counties and cities could ensure sufficient land capacity for development by establishing development regulations to allow development proposals that transfer development capacity from unbuildable portions of a development parcel to other portions of the development parcel so the underlying zoned density is still allowed. This may provide for flexibility in some dimensional standards provided development is consistent with state law and all impacts are mitigated.
(iii) Evaluation of development capacity impacts of proposed development regulation amendments. Counties and cities may also consider evaluation of whether proposed amendments to development regulations will have a significant impact on the ability of a county or city to provide sufficient capacity of land for development.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. 10-03-085, § 365-196-325, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
(a) Designation of the proposed general distribution and general location and extent of the uses of land, where appropriate, for agricultural, timber, and mineral production, for housing, commerce, industry, recreation, open spaces, public utilities, public facilities, general aviation airports, military bases, rural uses, and other land uses.
(b) Population densities, building intensities, and estimates of future population growth.
(c) Provisions for protection of the quality and quantity of ground water used for public water supplies.
(d) Wherever possible, consideration of urban planning approaches to promote physical activity.
(e) Where applicable, a review of drainage, flooding, and storm water runoff in the area covered by the plan and nearby jurisdictions, and 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) Recommendations for meeting requirements. The land use assumptions in the land use element form the basis for all growth-related planning functions in the comprehensive plan, including transportation, housing, capital facilities, and, for counties, the rural element. Preparing the land use element is an iterative process. Linking all plan elements to the land use assumptions in the land use element helps meet the act's requirement for internal consistency. The following steps are recommended in preparing the land use element:
(a) Counties and cities should integrate relevant county-wide planning policies and, where applicable, multicounty planning policies, into the local planning process, and ensure local goals and policies are consistent.
(b) Counties and cities should identify the existing general distribution and location of various land uses, the approximate acreage, and general range of density or intensity of existing uses.
(c) Counties and cities should ((
conduct an inventory of
vacant, partially used and underutilized land to determine))
estimate the extent to which existing buildings and housing,
together with development or redevelopment of vacant,
partially used and underutilized land, can support anticipated
growth over the planning period. (( Growth anticipated through
redevelopment of developed lands should also be considered. This information)) Redevelopment of fully built properties may
also be considered.
(i) Estimation of development or redevelopment capacity may include:
(A) Identification of individual properties or areas likely to convert because of market pressure or because they are built below allowed densities; or
(B) Use of an estimated percentage of area-wide growth during the planning period anticipated to occur through redevelopment, based on likely future trends for the local area or comparable jurisdictions; or
(C) Some combination of (c)(i)(A) and (B) of this subsection.
(ii) Estimates of development or redevelopment capacity
should be ((
provided through)) included in a land capacity
analysis as part of a county-wide process described in WAC 365-196-305 and 365-196-310 or, as applicable, WAC 365-196-315.
(d) Counties and cities should identify special characteristics and uses of the land which may influence land use or regulation. These may include:
(i) The location of agriculture, forest and mineral resource lands of long-term commercial significance.
(ii) The general location of any known critical areas that limit suitability of land for development.
(iii) Influences or threats to the quality and quantity of ground water used for public water supplies. These may be identified from information sources such as the following:
(A) Designated critical aquifer recharge areas that identify areas where potentially hazardous material use should be limited, or for direction on where managing development practices that influence the aquifer would be important;
(B) Watershed plans approved under chapter 90.82 RCW; ground water management plans approved under RCW 90.44.400; coordinated water system plans adopted under chapter 70.116 RCW; and watershed plans adopted under chapter 90.54 RCW as outlined in RCW 90.03.386.
(C) Instream flow rules prepared by the department of ecology and limitations and recommendations therein that may inform land use decisions.
(iv) Areas adjacent to general aviation airports where incompatible uses should be discouraged, as required by RCW 36.70A.510 and 36.70.547, with guidance in WAC 365-196-455.
(v) Areas adjacent to military bases where incompatible uses should be discouraged, as required by RCW 36.70A.530 with guidance in WAC 365-196-475.
(vi) Existing or potential open space corridors within and between urban growth areas as required by RCW 36.70A.160 for recreation, wildlife habitat, trails, and connection of critical areas as defined in RCW 36.70A.030. Counties and cities may consult WAC 365-196-335 for additional information.
(vii) Where applicable, sites that are particularly well suited for industry. Counties and cities should consult WAC 365-196-310 (3)(c)(iv) for information on industrial land uses. For counties, the process described in WAC 365-196-465 and 365-196-470 may be relevant for industrial areas outside of an urban growth area.
(viii) Other features that may be relevant to this information gathering process may include view corridors, brownfield sites, national scenic areas, historic districts, or other opportunity sites, or other special characteristics which may be useful to inform future land use decisions.
(e) Counties and cities must review drainage, flooding, and storm water runoff in the area or 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. Water quality information may be integrated from the following sources:
(i) Planning and regulatory requirements of municipal storm water general permits issued by the department of ecology that apply to the county or city.
(ii) Local waters listed under Washington state's water quality assessment and any water quality concerns associated with those waters.
(iii) Interjurisdictional plans, such as total maximum daily loads.
(f) Counties and cities must obtain twenty-year population allocations for their planning area as part of a county-wide process described in WAC 365-196-305(4) and 365-196-310. Using information from the housing needs analysis, identify the amount of land suitable for development at a variety of densities consistent with the number and type of residential units likely to be needed over the planning period. At a minimum, cities must plan for the population allocated to them, but may plan for additional population within incorporated areas.
(g) Counties and cities should estimate the level of commercial space, and industrial land needed using information from the economic development element, if available, or from other relevant economic development plans.
(h) Counties and cities should identify the general location and estimated quantity of land needed for public purposes such as utility corridors, landfills or solid waste transfer stations, sewage treatment facilities, storm water management facilities, recreation, schools, and other public uses. Counties and cities should consider corridors needed for transportation including automobile, rail, and trail use in and between planning areas, consistent with the transportation element and coordinate with adjacent jurisdictions for connectivity.
(i) Counties and cities should select land use designations and implement zoning. Select appropriate commercial, industrial, and residential densities and their distribution based on the total analysis of land features, population to be supported, implementation of regional planning strategies, and needed capital facilities.
(i) It is strongly recommended that a table be included showing the acreage in each land use designation, the acreage in each implementing zone, the approximate densities that are assumed, and how this meets the twenty-year population projection.
(ii) Counties and cities should prepare a future land use map including land use designations, municipal and urban growth area boundaries, and any other relevant features consistent with other elements of the comprehensive plan.
(j) Wherever possible, counties and cities should consider urban planning approaches that promote physical activity. Urban planning approaches that promote physical activity may include:
(i) Higher intensity residential or mixed-use land use designations to support walkable and diverse urban, town and neighborhood centers.
(ii) Transit-oriented districts around public transportation transfer facilities, rail stations, or higher intensity development along a corridor served by high quality transit service.
(iii) Policies for siting or colocating public facilities such as schools, parks, libraries, community centers and athletic centers to place them within walking or cycling distance of their users.
(iv) Policies supporting linear parks and shared-use paths, interconnected street networks or other urban forms supporting bicycle and pedestrian transportation.
(v) Policies supporting multimodal approaches to concurrency consistent with other elements of the plan.
(vi) Traditional or main street commercial corridors with street front buildings and limited parking and driveway interruption.
(vii) Opportunities for promoting physical activity through these and other policies should be sought in existing as well as newly developing areas. Regulatory or policy barriers to promoting physical activity for new or existing development should also be removed or lessened where feasible.
(k) Counties and cities may prepare an implementation strategy describing the steps needed to accomplish the vision and the densities and distributions identified in the land use element. Where greater intensity of development is proposed, the strategy may include a design scheme to encourage new development that is compatible with existing or desired community character.
(l) Counties and cities may prepare a schedule for the phasing of the planned development contemplated consistent with the availability of capital facilities as provided in the capital facilities element. WAC 365-196-330 provides additional information regarding development phasing.
(m) Counties and cities should reassess the land use element in light of:
(i) The projected capacity for financing the needed capital facilities over the planning period; and
(ii) An assessment of whether the planned densities and distribution of growth can be achieved within the capacity of available land and water resources and without environmental degradation.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. 10-03-085, § 365-196-405, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
(1) Developing a written record. When developing the rural element, a county may consider local circumstances in establishing patterns of rural densities and uses, but must develop a written record explaining how the rural element harmonizes the planning goals in the act and meets the requirements of the act. This record should document local circumstances the county considered and the historic patterns of development in the rural areas.
(2) Establishing a definition of rural character.
(a) The rural element shall include measures that apply to rural development and protect rural character. Counties must define rural character to guide the development of the rural element and the implementing development regulations.
(b) The act identifies rural character as patterns of land use and development that:
(i) Allow open space, the natural landscape, and vegetation to predominate over the built environment;
(ii) Foster traditional rural lifestyles, rural-based economies, and opportunities to both live and work in rural areas;
(iii) Provide visual landscapes that are traditionally found in rural areas and communities;
(iv) Are compatible with the use of land by wildlife and for fish and wildlife habitat;
(v) Reduce the inappropriate conversion of undeveloped land into sprawling, low-density development;
(vi) Generally do not require the extension of urban governmental services; and
(vii) Are consistent with protection of natural surface water flows and ground water and surface water recharge and discharge areas.
(c) Counties should adopt a locally appropriate definition of rural character. Rural areas are diverse in visual character and in density, across the state and across a particular county. Rural development may consist of a variety of densities and uses. It may, for example, include clustered residential development at levels consistent with the preservation of rural character. Counties should define rural development both in terms of its visual character and in terms of the density and intensity of uses. Defining rural development in this way allows the county to use its definition of rural development both in its future land use designations and in its development regulations governing rural development.
(3) Rural densities.
(a) The rural element should provide for a variety of densities that are consistent with the pattern of development established in its definition of rural character. The rural comprehensive plan designations should be shown on the future land use map. Rural densities are a range of densities that:
(i) Are compatible with the primary use of land for natural resource production;
(ii) Do not make intensive use of the land;
(iii) Allow open space, the natural landscape, and vegetation to predominate over the built environment;
(iv) Foster traditional rural lifestyles, rural-based economies, and opportunities to both live and work in rural areas;
(v) Provide visual landscapes that are traditionally found in rural areas and communities;
(vi) Are compatible with the use of the land by wildlife and for fish and wildlife habitat;
(vii) Reduce the inappropriate conversion of undeveloped land into sprawling, low-density development;
(viii) Generally do not require the extension of urban governmental services;
(ix) Are consistent with the protection of natural surface water flows and ground water and surface water recharge and discharge areas; and
(x) Do not create urban densities in rural areas or abrogate the county's responsibility to encourage new development in urban areas.
(b) Counties should perform a periodic analysis of development occurring in rural areas, to determine if patterns of rural development are protecting rural character and encouraging development in urban areas. This analysis should occur at least every ten years, along with the ten-year urban growth area review required in RCW 36.70A.130 (3)(a). The analysis may include the following:
(i) Patterns of development occurring in rural areas.
(ii) The percentage of new growth occurring in rural versus urban areas.
(iii) Patterns of rural comprehensive plan or zoning amendments.
(iv) Numbers of permits issued in rural areas.
(v) Numbers of new approved wells and septic systems.
(vi) Growth in traffic levels on rural roads.
(vii) Growth in public facilities and public services costs in rural areas.
(viii) Changes in rural land values and rural employment.
(ix) Potential build-out at the allowed rural densities.
(x) The degree to which the growth that is occurring in the rural areas is consistent with patterns of rural land use and development established in the rural element.
(4) Rural governmental services.
(a) Rural governmental services are those public facilities and services historically and typically delivered at intensities usually found in rural areas, and may include the following:
(i) Domestic water system;
(ii) Fire and police protection;
(iii) Transportation and public transportation; and
(iv) Public utilities, such as electrical, telecommunications and natural gas lines.
(b) Rural services do not include storm or sanitary sewers. Urban governmental services that pass through rural areas when connecting urban areas do not constitute an extension of urban services into a rural area provided those public services are not provided in the rural area. Sanitary sewer service may be provided only if it:
(i) Is necessary to protect basic public health and safety and the environment;
(ii) Is financially supportable at rural densities; and
(iii) Does not permit urban development.
(c) When establishing levels of service in the capital facilities and transportation element, each county should establish rural levels of service, for those rural services that are necessary for development, to determine if it is providing adequate public facilities. Counties are not required to use a single level of service for the entire rural area and may establish varying levels of service for public services in different rural areas. Where private purveyors or other public entities provide rural services, counties should coordinate with them to establish and document appropriate levels of service.
(d) Rural areas typically rely on natural systems to adequately manage storm water and typically rely on on-site sewage systems to treat wastewater. Development in rural areas also typically relies on individual wells, exempt wells or small water systems for water. Counties should ensure the densities it establishes in rural areas do not overwhelm the ability of natural systems to provide these services without compromising either public health or the vitality of the surrounding ecosystem.
(e) Rural road systems are not typically designed to handle large traffic volumes. Local conditions may influence varying levels of service for rural road system, and level of service standards for rural arterials should be set accordingly. Generally, level of service standards should reflect the expectation that high levels of local traffic and the associated road improvements are not usually associated with rural areas.
(f) Levels of public services decrease, and corresponding costs increase when demand is spread over a large area. This is especially true for public safety services and both school and public transportation services. Counties should provide clear expectations to the public about the availability of rural public services. Counties should ensure the densities it establishes in rural areas do not overwhelm the capacity of rural public services.
(5) Innovative zoning techniques.
(a) Innovative zoning techniques allow greater flexibility in rural development regulations to create forms of development that are more consistent with rural character than forms of development generated by conventional large-lot zoning. Innovative zoning techniques may allow forms of rural development that:
(i) Result in rural development that is more visually compatible with the surrounding rural areas;
(ii) Maximize the availability of rural land for either resource use or wildlife habitat;
(iii) Increase the operational compatibility of the rural development with use of the land for resource production;
(iv) Decrease the impact of the rural development on the surrounding ecosystem;
(v) Does not allow urban growth; and
(vi) Does not require the extension of urban governmental services.
(b) Rural clusters. One common form of innovative zoning technique is the rural cluster. A rural cluster can create smaller individual lots than would normally be allowed in exchange for open space that preserves a significant portion of the original parcel.
(i) When calculating the density of development for zoning purposes, counties should calculate density based on the number of dwelling units over the entire development parcel, rather than the size of the individual lots created.
(ii) The open space portion of the original parcel should be held by an easement, parcel or tract for open space or resource use. This should be held in perpetuity, without an expiration date.
(iii) If a county allows bonus densities in a rural cluster, the resulting density after applying the bonus must be a rural density.
(iv) Rural clusters may not create a pattern of development that relies on or requires urban governmental services. Counties should establish a limit on the size of the residential cluster so that a cluster does not constitute urban growth in a rural area. A very large project may create multiple smaller clusters that are separated from each other and use a different access point to avoid creating a pattern of development that would constitute urban growth.
(v) Development regulations governing rural clusters should include design criteria that preserve rural visual character.
(6) Limited areas of more intense rural development. The act allows counties to plan for isolated pockets of more intense development in the rural area. These are referred to in the act as limited areas of more intense rural development or LAMIRDs.
(a) LAMIRDs serve the following purposes:
(i) To recognize existing areas of more intense rural development and to minimize and contain these areas to prevent low density sprawl;
(ii) To allow for small-scale commercial uses that rely on a rural location;
(iii) To allow for small-scale economic development and employment consistent with rural character; and
(iv) To allow for redevelopment of existing industrial areas within rural areas.
(b) An existing area or existing use is one that was in existence on the date the county became subject to all of the provisions of the act:
(i) For a county initially required to fully plan under the act, on July 1, 1990.
(ii) For a county that chooses to fully plan under the act, on the date the county adopted the resolution under RCW 36.70A.040(2).
(iii) For a county that becomes subject to all of the requirements of the act under RCW 36.70A.040(5), on the date the office of financial management certifies the county's population.
(c) Counties may allow for more intensive uses in a LAMIRD than would otherwise be allowed in rural areas and may allow public facilities and services that are appropriate and necessary to serve LAMIRDs subject to the following requirements:
(i) Type 1 LAMIRDs - Isolated areas of existing more intense development. Within these areas, rural development consists of infill, development, or redevelopment of existing areas. These areas may include a variety of uses including commercial, industrial, residential, or mixed-use areas. These may be also characterized as shoreline development, villages, hamlets, rural activity centers, or crossroads developments.
(A) Development or redevelopment in LAMIRDS may be both allowed and encouraged provided it is consistent with the character of the existing LAMIRD in terms of building size, scale, use, and intensity. Counties may allow new uses of property within a LAMIRD, including development of vacant land.
(B) When establishing a Type I LAMIRD, counties must establish a logical outer boundary. The purpose of the logical outer boundary is to minimize and contain the areas of more intensive rural development to the existing areas. Uses, densities or intensities not normally allowed in a rural area may be allowed inside the logical outer boundary consistent with the existing character of the LAMIRD. Appropriate and necessary levels of public facilities and services not otherwise provided in rural areas may be provided inside the logical outer boundary.
(C) The logical outer boundary must be delineated primarily by the built environment as it existed on the date the county became subject to the planning requirements of the act.
(I) Some vacant land may be included within the logical outer boundary provided it is limited and does not create a significant amount of new development within the LAMIRD.
(II) Construction that defines the built environment may include above or below ground improvements. The built environment does not include patterns of vesting or preexisting zoning, nor does it include roads, clearing, grading, or the inclusion within a sewer or water service area if no physical improvements are in place. Although vested lots and structures built after the county became subject to the act's requirements should not be considered when identifying the built environment, they may be included within the logical outer boundary as infill.
(III) The logical outer boundary is not required to strictly follow parcel boundaries. If a large parcel contains an existing structure, a county may include part of the parcel in the LAMIRD boundary without including the entire parcel, to avoid a significant increase in the amount of development allowed within the LAMIRD.
(D) The fundamental purpose of the logical outer boundary is to minimize and contain the LAMIRD. Counties should favor the configuration that best minimizes and contains the LAMIRD to the area of existing development as of the date the county became subject to the planning requirements of the act. When evaluating alternative configurations of the logical outer boundary, counties should determine how much new growth will occur at build out and determine if this level of new growth is consistent with rural character and can be accommodated with the appropriate level of public facilities and public services. Counties should use the following criteria to evaluate various configurations when establishing the logical outer boundary:
(I) The need to preserve the character of existing natural neighborhoods and communities;
(II) Physical boundaries such as bodies of water, streets and highways, and land forms and contours;
(III) The prevention of abnormally irregular boundaries; and
(IV) The ability to provide public facilities and public services in a manner that does not permit low-density sprawl.
(E) Once a logical outer boundary has been adopted, counties may consider changes to the boundary in subsequent amendments. When doing so, the county must use the same criteria used when originally designating the boundary. Counties should avoid adding new undeveloped parcels as infill, especially if doing so would add to the capacity of the LAMIRD.
(ii) Type 2 LAMIRDs - Small-scale recreational uses. Counties may allow small-scale tourist or recreational uses in rural areas. Small-scale recreational or tourist uses rely on a rural location and setting and need not be principally designed to serve the existing and projected rural population.
(A) Counties may allow small-scale tourist or recreational uses through redevelopment of an existing site, intensification of an existing site, or new development on a previously undeveloped site, but not new residential development. Counties may allow public services and facilities that are limited to those necessary to serve the recreation or tourist uses and that do not permit low-density sprawl. Small-scale recreational or tourist uses may be added as accessory uses for resource-based industry. For accessory uses on agricultural lands of long-term commercial significance, see WAC 365-196-815.
(B) Counties are not required to designate Type 2 LAMIRDs on the future land use map and may allow them as a conditional use. If using a conditional use process, counties should include in their development regulations conditions that address all the statutory criteria for the location of a Type 2 LAMIRD. Conditions must assure that Type 2 LAMIRDs:
(I) Are isolated, both from urban areas and from each other. Conditions should include spacing criteria to avoid creating a pattern of strip development;
(II) Are small in scale;
(III) Are consistent with rural character;
(IV) Rely on a rural location or a natural setting;
(V) Do not include new residential development;
(VI) Do not require services and facilities beyond what is available in the rural area; and
(VII) Are operationally compatible with surrounding resource-based industries.
(iii) Type 3 LAMIRDs - Small-scale businesses and cottage industries. Counties may allow isolated small-scale businesses and cottage industries that are not principally designed to serve the existing and projected rural population and nonresidential uses, but do provide job opportunities for rural residents, through the intensification of development on existing lots or on undeveloped sites.
(A) Counties may allow the expansion of small-scale businesses in rural areas as long as those small-scale businesses are consistent with the rural character of the area as defined by the county in the rural element. Counties may also allow new small-scale businesses to use a site previously occupied by an existing business as long as the new small-scale business conforms to the rural character of the area. Any public services and public facilities provided to the cottage industry or small-scale business must 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.
(B) Counties are not required to designate Type 3 LAMIRDs on the future land use map and may allow them as a conditional use. If using a conditional use process, counties should include in their development regulations conditions that address all the statutory criteria for the location of a Type 3 LAMIRD. Conditions must assure that Type 3 LAMIRDs:
(I) Are isolated, both from urban areas and from each other. Conditions should include spacing criteria to avoid creating a pattern of strip development;
(II) Are small in scale;
(III) Are consistent with rural character;
(IV) Do not include new residential development;
(V) Do not require public services and facilities beyond what is available in the rural area; and
(VI) Are operationally compatible with surrounding resource-based industries.
(d) Major industrial developments and master planned resorts governed by other requirements. Counties may not use the provisions of RCW 36.70A.070 (5)(d)(iii) to permit a major industrial development or a master planned resort. These types of development must comply with the requirements of RCW 36.70A.360 through 36.70A.368. For more information about major industrial developments, see WAC 365-196-465. For more information about master planned resorts, see WAC 365-196-460.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. 10-03-085, § 365-196-425, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
(a) The act requires that the planning goals in RCW 36.70A.020 guide the development and adoption of comprehensive plans and development regulations. These goals include retaining open space; enhancing recreation opportunities; conserving fish and wildlife habitat; protecting the environment and enhancing the state's high quality of life, including air and water quality, and the availability of water.
(b) Jurisdictions are required to include the best available science in developing policies and development regulations to protect the functions and values of critical areas.
(c) Counties and cities are required to identify open space corridors within and between urban growth areas for multiple purposes, including those areas needed as critical habitat by wildlife.
(d) RCW 36.70A.070(1) requires counties and cities to provide for protection of the quality and quantity of ground water used for public water supplies in the land use element. Where applicable, the land use element must review drainage, flooding, and storm water runoff in the area and in nearby jurisdictions, and provide guidance to mitigate or cleanse those discharges that pollute waters of the state, including Puget Sound or waters entering Puget Sound.
(e) Because the critical areas regulations must be consistent with the comprehensive plan, each comprehensive plan should set forth the underlying policies for the jurisdiction's critical areas program.
(f) In pursuing the environmental protection and open space goals of the act, such policies should identify nonregulatory measures for protecting critical areas as well as regulatory approaches. Nonregulatory measures include but are not limited to: Incentives, public education, and public recognition, and could include innovative programs such as the purchase or transfer of development rights. When such policies are incorporated into the plan (either in a separate element or as a part of the land use element), the consistency of the regulations can be readily assessed.
(2) Requirements. Prior to the original development of comprehensive plans under the act, counties and cities were required to designate critical areas and adopt development regulations protecting them. Any previous designations and regulations must be reviewed in the comprehensive plan process to ensure consistency between previous designations and the comprehensive plan. Critical areas include the following areas and ecosystems:
(b) Areas of critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water;
(c) Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas;
(d) Frequently flooded areas; and
(e) Geologically hazardous areas.
(3) Recommendations for meeting requirements.
(a) In the initial period following adoption of the act, much of the analysis which was the basis for the comprehensive plan came later than the initial identification and regulation of critical areas. Upon the adoption of the initial comprehensive plans, such designations and regulations were to be reviewed and, where necessary, altered to achieve consistency with the comprehensive plan. Subsequently, jurisdictions updating local critical areas ordinances are required to include the best available science.
(b) The department has issued guidelines for the classification and designation of critical areas which are contained in chapter 365-190 WAC.
(c) Critical areas should be designated and protected wherever the applicable environmental conditions exist, whether within or outside of urban growth areas. Critical areas may overlap each other, and requirements to protect critical areas apply in addition to the requirements of the underlying zoning.
(d) The review of existing designations during the comprehensive plan adoption process should, in most cases, be limited to the question of consistency with the comprehensive plan, rather than a revisiting of the entire prior designation and regulation process. However, counties and cities must address the requirements to include the best available science in developing policies and development regulations to protect the functions and values of critical areas, and give special consideration to conservation or protection measures necessary to preserve or enhance anadromous fisheries. To the extent that new information is available or errors have been discovered, the review process should take this information into account.
(e) The department recommends that planning jurisdictions identify the policies by which decisions are made on when and how regulations will be used and when and how other means will be employed (purchases, development rights, etc.). See WAC 365-196-855.
(4) Avoiding impacts through appropriate land use designations.
(a) Many existing data sources can identify, in advance of the development review process, the likely presence of critical areas. When developing and reviewing the comprehensive plan and future land use designations, counties and cities should use available information to avoid directing new growth to areas with a high probability of conflicts between new development and protecting critical areas. Identifying areas with a high probability of critical areas conflicts can help identify lands that are likely to be unsuitable for development and help a county or city better provide sufficient capacity of land that is suitable for development as required by RCW 36.70A.115. Impacts to these areas could be minimized through measures such as green infrastructure planning, open space acquisition, open space zoning, and the purchase or transfer of development rights.
(b) When considering expanding the urban growth area,
counties and cities should avoid including lands that contain
large amounts of mapped critical areas. Counties and cities
should not designate new urban areas within the one
hundred-year flood plain unless no other alternatives exist,
and if included, impacts on the flood plain must be
, including the provisions in RCW 36.70A.110(8))).
RCW 36.70.110(8) prohibits expansion of the urban growth area
into the one hundred-year flood plain in some cases. See WAC 365-196-310.
(c) If critical areas are included in urban growth areas, they still must be designated and protected. See WAC 365-196-310.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. 10-03-085, § 365-196-485, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
(a) The term "essential public facilities" refers to public facilities that are typically difficult to site. Consistent with county-wide planning policies, counties and cities should create their own lists of "essential public facilities," to include at a minimum those set forth in RCW 36.70A.200.
(b) For the purposes of identifying facilities subject to the "essential public facilities" siting process, it is not necessary that the facilities be publicly owned.
(c) Essential public facilities include both new and existing facilities. It may include the expansion of existing essential public facilities or support activities and facilities necessary for an essential public facility.
(d) The following facilities and types of facilities are identified in RCW 36.70A.200 as essential public facilities:
(ii) State education facilities;
(iii) State or regional transportation facilities;
(iv) Transportation facilities of statewide significance as defined in RCW 47.06.140. These include:
(A) The interstate highway system;
(B) Interregional state principal arterials including ferry connections that serve statewide travel;
(C) Intercity passenger rail services;
(D) Intercity high-speed ground transportation;
(E) Major passenger intermodal terminals excluding all airport facilities and services;
(F) The freight railroad system;
(G) The Columbia/Snake navigable river system;
(H) Marine port facilities and services that are related solely to marine activities affecting international and interstate trade;
(I) High capacity transportation systems.
(v) Regional transit authority facilities as defined under RCW 81.112.020;
(vi) State and local correctional facilities;
(vi))) (vii) Solid waste handling facilities;
(vii))) (viii) In-patient facilities, including
substance abuse facilities;
(viii))) (ix) Mental health facilities;
(ix))) (x) Group homes;
(x))) (xi) Secure community transition facilities;
(xi))) (xii) Any facility on the state ten-year capital
plan maintained by the office of financial management.
(e) Essential public facility criteria apply to the facilities and not the operator. Cities and counties may not require applicants who operate essential public facilities to use an essential public facility siting process for projects that would otherwise be allowed by the development regulations. Applicants who operate essential public facilities may not use an essential public facility siting process to obtain approval for projects that are not essential public facilities.
(f) Regardless of whether it is a new, existing or an expansion or modification of an existing public facility, the major component in the identification of an essential public facility is whether it provides or is necessary to provide a public service and whether it is difficult to site.
(2) Criteria to determine if the facility is difficult to site. Any one or more of the following conditions is sufficient to make a facility difficult to site.
(a) The public facility needs a specific type of site of such as size, location, available public services, which there are few choices.
(b) The public facility needs to be located near another public facility or is an expansion of an essential public facility at an existing location.
(c) The public facility has, or is generally perceived by the public to have, significant adverse impacts that make it difficult to site.
(d) Use of the normal development review process would effectively preclude the siting of an essential public facility.
(e) Development regulations require the proposed facility to use an essential public facility siting process.
(3) Preclusion of essential public facilities.
(a) Cities and counties may not use their comprehensive plan or development regulations to preclude the siting of essential public facilities. Comprehensive plan provisions or development regulations preclude the siting of an essential public facility if their combined effects would make the siting of an essential public facility impossible or impracticable.
(i) Siting of an essential public facility is "impracticable" if it is incapable of being performed or accomplished by the means employed or at command.
(ii) Impracticability may also include restrictive zoning; comprehensive plan policies directing opposition to a regional decision; or the imposition of unreasonable conditions or requirements.
(iii) Limitations on essential public facilities such as capacity limits; internal staffing requirements; resident eligibility restrictions; internal security plan requirements; and provisions to demonstrate need may be considered preclusive in some circumstances.
(b) A local jurisdiction may not include criteria in its land use approval process which would allow the essential public facility to be denied, but may impose reasonable permitting requirements and require mitigation of the essential public facility's adverse effects.
(c) An essential public facility is not precluded simply because the comprehensive plan provisions would be too costly or time consuming to comply with.
(d) If the essential public facility and its location have been evaluated through a state or regional siting process, the county or city may not require the facility to go through the local siting process.
(e) Essential public facilities that are sited through a regional or state agency are distinct from those that are "sited by" a city or county or a private organization or individual. When a city or county is siting its own essential public facility, public or private, it is free to establish a nonpreclusive siting process with reasonable criteria.
(4) Comprehensive plan.
(i) Each comprehensive plan shall include a process for identifying and siting essential public facilities. This process must be consistent with and implement applicable county-wide planning policies.
(ii) No local comprehensive plan may preclude the siting of essential public facilities.
(b) Recommendations for meeting requirements:
(i) Identification of essential public facilities. When identifying essential public facilities, counties and cities should take a broad view of what constitutes a public facility, involving the full range of services to the public provided by the government, substantially funded by the government, contracted for by the government, or provided by private entities subject to public service obligations.
(ii) Agreements among jurisdictions should be sought to mitigate any disproportionate financial burden which may fall on the county or city which becomes the site of a facility of a statewide, regional, or county-wide nature.
(iii) Where essential public facilities may be provided by special districts, the plans under which those districts operate must be consistent with the comprehensive plan of the city or county. Counties and cities should adopt provisions for consultation to ensure that such districts exercise their powers in a way that does not conflict with the relevant comprehensive plan.
(c) The siting process should take into consideration the need for county-wide, regional, or statewide uniformity in connection with the kind of facility under review.
(5) Development regulations governing essential public facilities.
(a) Development regulations governing the siting of essential public facilities must be consistent with and implement the process set forth in the comprehensive plan.
(b) Except where county-wide planning policies have otherwise dictated siting choices, provision should be made for the possibility of siting each of the listed essential public facilities somewhere within each county's or city's planning area.
(c) Counties and cities should consider the criteria established in their comprehensive plan, in consultation with this section to determine if a project is an essential public facility. Counties and cities may also adopt criteria for identifying an essential public facility.
(d) If an essential public facility does not present siting difficulties and can be permitted through the normal development review process, project review should be through the normal development review process otherwise applicable to facilities of its type.
(e) If an essential public facility presents siting difficulties, the application should be reviewed using the essential public facility siting process.
(6) The essential public facility siting process.
(a) The siting process may not be used to deny the approval of the essential public facility. The purpose of the essential public facility siting process is to allow a county or city to impose reasonable conditions on an essential public facility necessary to mitigate the impacts of the project while ensuring that its development regulations do not preclude the siting of an essential public facility.
(b) The review process for siting essential public facilities should include a requirement for notice and an opportunity to comment to other interested counties and cities and the public.
(c) The permit process may include reasonable requirements such as a conditional use permit, but the process used must ensure a decision on the essential public facility is completed without unreasonable delay.
(d) The essential public facility siting process should identify what conditions are necessary to mitigate the impacts associated with the essential public facility. The combination of any existing development regulations and any new conditions may not render impossible or impracticable, the siting, development or operation of the essential public facility.
(e) Counties and cities should consider the extent to which design conditions can be used to make a facility compatible with its surroundings. Counties and cities may also consider provisions for amenities or incentives for neighborhoods in which facilities are sited. Any conditions imposed must be necessary to mitigate an identified impact of the essential public facility.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. 10-03-085, § 365-196-550, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
(1) Secure community transition facilities are essential public facilities.
(2) Counties and cities must either establish an essential public facility siting process, or amend their existing process to allow for the siting of secure community transition facilities, or be subject to preemption by the Washington state department of social and health services consistent with RCW 71.09.342.
(3) A failure to act before the September 1, 2002,
deadline does not constitute noncompliance for the purposes of
grants and loans, and does not subject a county or city to a
failure to act challenge to ((
a)) the growth management
(4) If a county or city does not adopt an essential public facility siting process or does not amend its existing process to allow for the siting of a secure community transition facility, then the Washington state department of social and health services may preempt local development regulations as necessary to site and operate a secure community transition facility under RCW 71.09.285 through 71.09.342. If the Washington state department of social and health services preempts local development regulations, the county or city may still participate in the siting process as provided in RCW 71.09.342.
(5) A local secure community transition facility siting process established by a city or county must be consistent with, and no more restrictive than, the siting process established in RCW 71.09.285 through 71.09.342. The Washington state department of social and health services has final authority to determine if a locally adopted siting process allows for the siting of secure community transition facilities in compliance with RCW 71.09.285.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. 10-03-085, § 365-196-570, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
(2) The shoreline master program shall be adopted pursuant to the procedures under chapter 90.58 RCW rather than the goals, policies, and procedures set forth in chapter 36.70A RCW for the adoption of a comprehensive plan or development regulations.
(3)(a) The policies, goals, and provisions of chapter 90.58 RCW and applicable guidelines shall be the sole basis for determining compliance of a shoreline master program with chapter 36.70A RCW except as the shoreline master program is required to comply with the internal consistency provisions of RCW 36.70A.070, 36.70A.040(4), 35.63.125, and 35A.63.105.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in (c) of this subsection, development regulations adopted under chapter 36.70A RCW to protect critical areas within shorelines of the state apply within shorelines of the state until the department of ecology approves one of the following: A comprehensive master program update, as defined under RCW 90.58.030; a segment of a master program relating to critical areas, as provided under RCW 90.58.090; or a new or amended master program approved by the department of ecology on or after March 1, 2002, as provided under RCW 90.58.080. The adoption or update of development regulations to protect critical areas under chapter 36.70A RCW prior to department of ecology approval of a master program update as provided in this subsection is not a comprehensive or segment update to the master program.
(c)(i) Until the department of ecology approves a master program or segment of a master program as provided in (b) of this subsection, a use or structure legally located within shorelines of the state that was established or vested on or before the effective date of the local government's development regulations to protect critical areas may continue as a conforming use and may be redeveloped or modified if:
(A) The redevelopment or modification is consistent with the local government's master program; and
(B) The local government determines that the proposed redevelopment or modification will result in no net loss of shoreline ecological functions. The local government may waive this requirement if the redevelopment or modification is consistent with the master program and the local government's development regulations to protect critical areas.
(ii) For purposes of (c) of this subsection, an agricultural activity that does not expand the area being used for the agricultural activity is not a redevelopment or modification. "Agricultural activity," as used in (c) of this subsection, has the same meaning as defined under RCW 90.58.065.
(d) Upon department of ecology approval of a shoreline master program or critical area segment of a shoreline master program, critical areas within shorelines of the state are protected under chapter 90.58 RCW and are not subject to the procedural and substantive requirements of chapter 36.70A RCW, except as provided in subsection (6) of this section. Nothing in chapter 321, Laws of 2003 or the act is intended to affect whether or to what extent agricultural activities, as defined under RCW 90.58.065, are subject to chapter 36.70A RCW.
(e) The provisions under RCW 36.70A.172 shall not apply to the adoption or subsequent amendment of a local government's shoreline master program and shall not be used to determine compliance of a local government's shoreline master program with chapter 90.58 RCW and applicable guidelines. Nothing in this section; however, is intended to limit or change the quality of information to be applied in protecting critical areas within shorelines of the state, as required under chapter 90.58 RCW and applicable guidelines.
(4) Shoreline master programs shall provide a level of protection to critical areas located within shorelines of the state that assures no net loss of shoreline ecological functions necessary to sustain shoreline natural resources as defined by department of ecology guidelines adopted pursuant to RCW 90.58.060.
(5) Shorelines of the state shall not be considered critical areas under chapter 36.70A RCW except to the extent that specific areas located within shorelines of the state qualify for critical area designation based on the definition of critical areas provided under RCW 36.70A.030(5) and have been designated as such by a local government pursuant to RCW 36.70A.060(2).
(6) If a local jurisdiction's master program does not include land necessary for buffers for critical areas that occur within shorelines of the state, as authorized under RCW 90.58.030 (2)(f), then the local jurisdiction shall continue to regulate those critical areas and their required buffers pursuant to RCW 36.70A.060(2).
(a) Counties and cities must periodically take legislative action to review and, if necessary, revise their comprehensive plans and development regulations to ensure the plan and regulations comply with the requirements of the act. This review and revision, required under RCW 36.70A.130(1), is referred to in this section as the periodic update.
(b) Deadlines for periodic update. Comprehensive plans and development regulations are subject to periodic update every seven years on a schedule established in RCW 36.70A.130(4).
(i) Deadlines for completion of periodic review are as follows:
|Update must be complete by December 1 of:||Affected counties and the cities within:|
||Clallam, Clark, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, Whatcom|
||Cowlitz, Island, Lewis, Mason, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania|
||Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Kittitas, Spokane, Yakima|
||Adams, Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grays Harbor, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pacific, Pend Orielle, Stevens, Wahkiakum, Walla Walla, Whitman|
(A) The eligibility of a county for the three-year extension does not affect the eligibility of the cities within the county.
(B) A county is eligible if it has a population of less than fifty thousand and a growth rate of less than seventeen percent.
(C) A city is eligible if it has a population of less than five thousand, and either a growth rate of less than seventeen percent or a total population growth of less than one hundred persons.
(D) Growth rates are measured using the ten-year period preceding the due date listed in RCW 36.70A.130(4).
(E) If a city or county qualifies for the extension on the statutory due date, they remain eligible for the entire three-year extension period, even if they no longer meet the criteria due to population growth.
(c) Taking legislative action.
(i) The periodic update must be accomplished through legislative action. Legislative action means the adoption of a resolution or ordinance following notice and a public hearing including, at a minimum, a finding that a review and evaluation has occurred and identifying the revisions made, or that a revision was not needed and the reasons therefore.
(ii) Legislative action includes two components. It includes a review of the comprehensive plan and development regulations and it includes the adoption of any amendments necessary to bring the comprehensive plan and development regulations into compliance with the requirements of the act.
(d) What must be reviewed.
(i) Counties and cities that plan under RCW 36.70A.040 must review and, if needed, revise their comprehensive plans and development regulations for compliance with the act. This includes the critical areas ordinance.
(ii) Counties and cities that do not plan under RCW 36.70A.040 must review and, if needed, revise their resource lands designations and their development regulations designating and protecting critical areas.
(e) The required scope of review. The purpose of the review is to determine if revisions are needed to bring the comprehensive plan and development regulation into compliance with the requirements of the act. The update process provides the method for bringing plans into compliance with the requirements of the act that have been added or changed since the last update and for responding to changes in land use and in population growth. This review is necessary so that comprehensive plans are not allowed to fall out of compliance with the act over time through inaction. This review must include at least the following:
(i) Consideration of the critical areas ordinance;
(ii) Analysis of the population allocated to a city or county from the most recent ten-year urban growth area review;
(iii) Review of mineral resource lands designations and mineral resource lands development regulations adopted pursuant to RCW 36.70A.040 and 36.70A.060; and
(iv) Changes to the act or other applicable laws since the last review that have not been addressed in the comprehensive plan and development regulations.
(2) Recommendations for meeting requirements.
(a) Public participation program.
(i) Counties and cities should establish a public participation program that includes a schedule for the periodic update and identifies when legislative action on the review and update component are proposed to occur. The public participation program should also inform the public of when to comment on proposed changes to the comprehensive plan and clearly identify the scope of the review. Notice of the update process should be broadly disseminated as required by RCW 36.70A.035.
(ii) Counties and cities may adjust the public participation program to best meet the intent of the requirement. RCW 36.70A.140 notes that errors in exact compliance with the established program and procedures shall not render the comprehensive land use plan or development regulations invalid if the spirit of the program and procedures is observed. For example, if an established public participation program included one public hearing on all actions having to do with the seven-year update process, the public participation program could be adjusted later to provide additional public hearings to accommodate strong public interest.
(b) Review of relevant statutes and local information and analysis of whether there is a need for revisions.
(i) Amendments to the act. Counties and cities should first review amendments to the act that have occurred since the initial adoption or previous periodic update, and determine if local amendments are needed to maintain compliance with the act. The department will maintain a comprehensive list of legislative amendments and a checklist to assist counties and cities with this review.
(ii) Review and analysis of relevant plans, regulations and information. Although existing comprehensive plans and development regulations are considered compliant, counties and cities should consider reviewing development and other activities that have occurred since adoption to determine if the comprehensive plans and development regulations remain consistent with, and implement, the act. This should include at least the following:
(A) Analysis of the population allocated to a city or county during the most recent ten-year urban growth area review;
(B) Consideration of critical areas and resource lands ordinances;
(C) Review of mineral resource lands designations and development regulations adopted pursuant to RCW 36.70A.040 and 36.70A.060;
(D) Capital facilities plans. Changes in anticipated circumstances and needs should be addressed by updating the ten-year transportation plan and six-year capital facilities elements. This includes a reassessment of the land use element if funding falls short;
(E) Land use element;
(F) Changes to comprehensive plans and development regulations in adjacent jurisdictions, special purpose districts, or state plans that create an inconsistency with the county or city's comprehensive plan or development regulations;
(G) Basic assumptions underlying key calculations and conclusions in the existing comprehensive plan. If recent data demonstrates that key existing assumptions are no longer appropriate for the remainder of the twenty-year plan, counties and cities should consider updating them as part of the seven-year periodic update, or the ten-year urban growth area update (see WAC 365-196-310). Counties and cities required to establish a review and evaluation program under RCW 36.70A.215, should use that information in this review (see WAC 365-196-315); and
(H) Inventories. Counties and cities should review required inventories and to determine if new data or analysis is needed. Table 2 contains summary of the inventories required in the act.
|Requirement||RCW Location||WAC Location|
|Inventory and analyze existing and projected housing needs, identifying the number of housing units necessary to manage project growth.|
|Inventory existing capital facilities owned by public entities, showing the locations and capacities of the capital facilities, and forecast future needs and proposed locations and capacities of expanded or new facilities.|
|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 and a basis for future planning. This inventory must include state-owned transportation facilities within the city's or county's jurisdictional boundaries.|
(i) Any legislative action that completes a portion of the review and update process, either in whole or in part, must state in its findings that it is part of the update process.
(ii) Any public hearings on legislative actions that are, either in whole or in part, legislative actions completing the update must state in the notice of hearing that the actions considered are part of the update process.
(iii) At the end of the review and update process, counties and cities should take legislative action declaring the update process complete, either as a separate legislative action, or as a part of the final legislative action that occurs as part of the update process. This action should reference all prior legislative actions occurring as part of the update process.
(d) Submit notice of completion to the department. When adopted, counties and cities should transmit the notice of adoption to the department, consistent with RCW 36.70A.106. RCW 36.70A.130 requires compliance with the review and update requirement as a condition of eligibility for state grant and loan programs. The department tracks compliance with this requirement for agencies managing these grant and loan programs. Providing notice of completion to the department will help maintain access to these grant and loan programs.
(3) Relationship to other review and amendment requirements in the act.
(a) Relationship to the comprehensive plan amendment process. Cities and counties may amend the comprehensive plan no more often than once per year, as required in RCW 36.70A.130(2), and referred to as the docket. If a city or county conducts a comprehensive plan docket cycle in the year in which the review of the comprehensive plan is completed, it must be combined with the seven-year periodic review process. Cities and counties may not conduct the seven-year periodic review and a docket of amendments as separate processes in the same year.
(b) Relationship to the ten-year urban growth area (UGA) review.
(i) At least every ten years, cities and counties must review the areas and densities contained in the urban growth area and, if necessary, revise their comprehensive plan to accommodate the growth projected to occur in the county for the succeeding twenty-year period, as required in RCW 36.70A.130(3). This is referred to in this section as the ten-year urban growth area review.
(ii) The ten-year urban growth area review and the seven-year periodic update may be combined or may occur separately. The seven-year periodic update requires an assessment of the most recent twenty-year population forecast by the office of financial management, but does not require that land use plans or urban growth areas be updated to accommodate existing or future growth forecasts, which must be undertaken as part of the ten-year UGA review. Counties and cities may consider the most recent forecast from the office of financial management, and the adequacy of existing land supplies to meet their existing growth forecast allocations, in determining when to initiate the ten-year urban growth area review.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. 10-03-085, § 365-196-610, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
(a) The comprehensive plan is internally consistent and consistent with the comprehensive plans of adjacent counties and cities. See WAC 365-196-500 and 365-196-510; and
(b) The development regulations are consistent with and implement the comprehensive plan.
(2) Counties and cities should establish procedures governing the amendment of the comprehensive plan. The location of these procedures may be either in the comprehensive plan, or clearly referenced in the plan.
(a) All proposed amendments to the comprehensive plan must be considered by the governing body concurrently and may not be considered more frequently than once every year, so that the cumulative effect of various proposals can be ascertained. If a county or city's final legislative action is taken in a subsequent calendar year, it may still be considered part of the prior year's docket so long as the consideration of the amendments occurred within the prior year's comprehensive plan amendment process.
(b) Amendments may be considered more often under the following circumstances:
(i) The initial adoption of a subarea plan ((
not modify the comprehensive plan policies and designations
applicable to the subarea)). Subarea plans adopted under this
subsection (3)(b)(i) must clarify, supplement, or implement
jurisdiction-wide comprehensive plan policies, and may only be
adopted if the cumulative impacts of the proposed plan are
addressed by appropriate environmental review under chapter 43.21C RCW;
(ii) The development of an initial subarea plan for economic development located outside of the one hundred-year flood plain in a county that has completed a state-funded pilot project that is based on watershed characterization and local habitat assessment;
(ii))) (iii) The adoption or amendment of a shoreline
master program under the procedures set forth in chapter 90.58 RCW;
(iii))) (iv) The amendment of the capital facilities
element of a comprehensive plan that is part of the adoption
or amendment of a county or city budget;
(iv))) (v) The adoption of comprehensive plan
amendments necessary to enact a planned action under RCW 43.21C.031(2), provided that amendments are considered in
agreement with the public participation program established by
the county or city under RCW 36.70A.140, and all persons who
have requested notice of a comprehensive plan update are given
notice of the amendments and an opportunity to comment;
(v))) (vi) To resolve an appeal of the comprehensive
plan filed with the growth management hearings board; or
(vi))) (vii) In the case of an emergency.
(4) Emergency amendments. Public notice and an opportunity for public comment must precede the adoption of emergency amendments to the comprehensive plan. Provisions in RCW 36.70A.390 apply only to moratoria or interim development regulations. They do not apply to comprehensive plans amendments. If a comprehensive plan amendment is necessary, counties and cities should adopt a moratoria or interim zoning control. The county or city should then consider the comprehensive plan amendment concurrently with the consideration of permanent amendments and only after public notice and an opportunity for public comment.
(5) Evaluating cumulative effects. RCW 36.70A.130 (2)(b) requires that all proposed amendments in any year be considered concurrently so the cumulative effect of the proposals can be ascertained. The amendment process should include an analysis of all proposed amendments evaluating their cumulative effect. This analysis should be prepared in conjunction with analyses required to comply with the State Environmental Policy Act under chapter 43.21C RCW.
(6) Docketing of proposed amendments.
(a) RCW 36.70A.470(2) requires that comprehensive plan amendment procedures allow interested persons, including applicants, citizens, hearing examiners, and staff of other agencies, to suggest amendments of comprehensive plans or development regulations. This process should include a means of docketing deficiencies in the comprehensive plan that arise during local project review. These suggestions must be docketed and considered at least annually.
(b) A consideration of proposed amendments does not require a full analysis of every proposal within twelve months if resources are unavailable.
(c) As part of this process, counties and cities should specify what information must be submitted and the submittal deadlines so that proposals can be evaluated concurrently.
(d) Once a proposed amendment is received, the county or city may determine if a proposal should receive further consideration as part of the comprehensive plan amendment process.
(e) Some types of proposed amendments require a significant investment of time and expense on the part of both applicants and the county or city. A county or city may specify in its policies certain types of amendments that will not be carried forward into the amendment process on an annual basis. This provides potential applicants with advance notice of whether a proposed amendment will be carried forward and can help applicants avoid the expense of preparing an application.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. 10-03-085, § 365-196-640, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
(a) RCW 19.27.097 (state building code - evidence of adequate supply of potable water);
(b) RCW 35.13.005 (annexation of unincorporated areas - prohibited beyond urban growth areas);
(c) RCW 35.58.2795 (municipal corporations - six-year transit plan consistent with comprehensive plans);
(d) RCW 35.77.010 (city streets - six-year comprehensive street program consistent with comprehensive plans);
(e) RCW 35A.14.005 (annexation by code cities - prohibited beyond urban growth areas);
(f) Section 201, chapter 7, Laws of 2010 (community facilities districts may only include land within urban growth areas);
(g) RCW 36.81.121 (county roads - six-year comprehensive road program consistent with act comprehensive plans);
(g))) (h) RCW 36.94.040 (sewerage, water, drainage
systems - incorporation of relevant comprehensive plan
provisions into sewer or water general plan);
(h))) (i) RCW 43.20.260 (water system plans consistent
with comprehensive plans and development regulations);
(i))) (j) RCW 43.21C.240 (project review under the
(j))) (k) RCW 57.16.010 (water districts - district
comprehensive water plan consistent with urban growth area
(k))) (l) RCW 58.17.060 (short plats - written findings
about appropriate provisions for infrastructure);
(l))) (m) RCW 58.17.110 (subdivisions - written
findings about appropriate provisions for infrastructure);
(m))) (n) RCW 59.18.440 (land development - authority
of entities planning under the act to require relocation
(n))) (o) RCW 70.118B.040(3) (requirements for large
on-site sewage systems to be consistent with the requirements
of any comprehensive plans or development regulations adopted
under the act);
(o))) (p) RCW 86.12.200 (comprehensive flood control
management plans - may be incorporated into comprehensive
plans under the act); and
(p))) (q) RCW 90.46.120 (use of water from wastewater
treatment facility - consideration in regional water supply
plan or potable water supply service planning).
(2) As enacted, the act included the creation of a new chapter (chapter 47.80 RCW) authorizing and assigning duties to regional transportation planning organizations. These organizations were expressly given responsibilities for ensuring the consistency of transportation planning throughout a region containing multiple local governmental jurisdictions.
(3) As enacted, the act included the addition of new sections (RCW 82.02.050 through 82.02.090) concerning impact fees on development in counties or cities that plan under the act. These sections explicitly authorize and condition the use of such fees as part of the financing of public facility system improvements needed to serve new development.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. 10-03-085, § 365-196-745, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
(a) The act calls on counties and cities to encourage the availability of affordable housing. Addressing the need for affordable housing will require a broad variety of tools to address local needs. This section describes certain affordable housing incentive programs (incentive programs) that counties and cities may implement.
(b) The powers granted in RCW 36.70A.540 are supplemental and additional to the powers otherwise held by local governments, and nothing in RCW 36.70A.540 shall be construed as a limit on such powers.
(c) Counties and cities may use incentive programs to implement other policies in their comprehensive plan in addition to affordable housing; for instance, encouraging higher densities that reduce the need for land and increase the efficiency of providing public services.
(d) Incentive programs may apply to residential, commercial, industrial and/or mixed-use developments.
(e) Incentive programs may be implemented through development regulations, conditions on rezoning or permit decisions, or any combination of these.
(f) Incentive programs may apply to part or all of a city or county. A county or city may apply different standards to different areas within their jurisdiction, or to different development types.
(g) Incentive programs may be modified to meet local needs.
(h) Incentive programs may include provisions not expressly provided in RCW 36.70A.540 or 82.02.020.
(2) Counties and cities may establish an incentive program that is either required or optional.
(a) Counties and cities may establish an optional incentive program. If a developer chooses not to participate in an optional incentive program, a county or city may not condition, deny or delay the issuance of a permit or development approval that is consistent with zoning and development standards on the subject property absent the optional incentive provisions of this program.
(b) Counties and cities may establish an incentive program that requires a minimum amount of affordable housing that must be provided by all residential developments built under the revised regulations. The minimum amount of affordable housing may be a percentage of the units or floor area in a development or of the development capacity of the site under the revised regulations. These programs may be established as follows:
(i) The county or city identifies certain land use designations within a geographic area where increased residential development will help achieve local growth management and housing policies.
(ii) The city or county adopts revised regulations to increase development capacity through zoning changes, bonus densities, height and bulk increases, parking reductions, or other regulatory changes or other incentives.
(iii) The county or city determines that the increased residential development capacity resulting from the revised regulations can be achieved in the designated area, taking into consideration other applicable development regulations.
(3) Steps in establishing an incentive program.
(a) When developing incentive programs, counties and cities should start with the gaps identified in the housing element and develop incentive programs as a strategy to implement the housing element and close some of the identified gaps.
(b) Counties and cities should identify incentives that can be provided to residential, commercial, industrial or mixed-use developments providing affordable housing. Incentives could include density bonuses within the urban growth area, height and bulk bonuses, fee waivers or exemptions, parking reductions, expedited permitting, or other benefits to a development. Counties and cities may provide a variety of incentives and may tailor the type of incentive to the circumstances of a particular development project.
(c) Counties and cities may choose to offer incentives through development regulations, or through conditions on rezones or permit decisions.
(4) Criteria for determining income eligibility of prospective tenants or buyers. When developing an affordable housing incentive program, counties and cities must establish standards for low-income renter or owner occupancy housing consistent with RCW 36.70A.540 (2)(b). The housing must be affordable to and occupied by low-income households.
(a) Low-income renter households are defined as households with incomes of fifty percent or less of the county median family income, adjusted for family size.
(b) Low-income owner households are defined as households with incomes of eighty percent or less of the county median family income, adjusted for family size.
(c) Adjustments to income levels: Counties and cities may, after holding a public hearing, establish lower or higher income levels based on findings that such higher income and corresponding affordability limits are needed to address local housing market. The higher income level may not exceed eighty percent of county median family income for rental housing or one hundred percent of median county family income for owner-occupied housing.
(5) Maximum rent or sales prices: Counties and cities must establish the maximum rent level or sales prices for each low-income housing unit developed under the terms of their affordable housing programs. Counties and cities may adjust these levels based on the average size of the household expected to occupy the unit. These levels may be adjusted over time with changes in median income and factors affecting the affordability of sales prices to low-income households.
(a) For renter-occupied housing units, the total housing costs, including basic utilities as determined by the jurisdiction, may not exceed thirty percent of the income limit for the low-income housing unit.
(b) For owner-occupied housing units, affordable home prices should be based on conventional or FHA lending standards applicable to low-income first-time homebuyers.
(6) Types of units provided when a developer is using incentives to develop both market rate housing and affordable housing.
(a) Market-rate housing projects participating in the affordable housing incentive program should provide low-income units in a range of sizes comparable to those units that are available for other residents. To the extent practicable, the number of bedrooms in low-income units should be in the same proportion as the number of bedrooms in units within the entire development.
(b) The provision of units within the developments for which a bonus or incentive is provided is encouraged. However, programs may allow units to be provided in a building located in the general area of the development for which a bonus or incentive is provided.
(c) The low-income units should have substantially the same functionality as the other units in the development.
(7) Enforcement of conditions: Conditions may be enforced using covenants, options or other agreements executed and recorded by owners and developers of the affordable housing units. Affordable units developed under an incentive program should be committed to affordability for fifty years; however, a local government may accept payments in lieu of continuing affordability.
(8) Payment in lieu of providing units allowed. Counties and cities may also allow a payment of money or property in lieu of low-income housing units if the jurisdiction determines that the payment achieves a result equal to or better than providing the affordable housing on-site. The payment must not exceed the approximate costs of developing the same number and quality of housing units that would otherwise be developed. The funds or property must be used to support the development of low-income housing, including support provided through loans or grants to public or private owners or developers of housing.