Long Range Planning in Washington State

With the passage of the Growth Management Act (GMA), RCW 36.70A, in 1990, the Washington State Legislature sought to create a method for comprehensive land use planning involving citizens, communities, counties, cities, and the private sector that would prevent uncoordinated and unplanned growth. The legislature found this type of uncontrolled growth posed a threat to the environment, sustainable economic development, and the health, safety and high quality of life enjoyed by residents of Washington State.

To address this threat, the GMA requires counties of a certain size and growth rate, and the cities within them, to adopt comprehensive plans and development regulations which are guided by 14 goals which include the consideration of transportation, housing, economic development, natural resource industries, property rights, and the environment. Learn more on the Growth Management Hearings Board website.
Mountain and Blooming Orchard
Growth Management Service
Growth Management Service annually provides close to $850,000 in grants to local governments to develop local planning policies consistent with the GMA.
  • Professional guidance, support, and interpretation of the GMA and support to 200 cities and counties of the state.
  • Review and commented as needed on more than 1,100 local GMA actions every year.
  • Sponsorship and administration of the Governor’s Smart Communities Awards program.
  • Training and education is provided to citizens, professionals, and local government officials through the Short Course on Local Planning and quarterly planners forums.