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Transportation planning

2016 Comprehensive Growth Management Plan update

Background

Governor Booth signing GMA bill
Gov. Booth Gardner signs Growth Management Act, 1990

Growth Management Act (GMA)

In 1990, Washington adopted the Growth Management Act, RCW 36.70A (GMA). The GMA requires certain counties and cities to develop and adopt comprehensive land use plans that anticipate the needs of population and employment growth. Plans must look forward at least 20 years.

The GMA requires that comprehensive plans consist of these elements: land use, housing, capital facilities, utilities, rural (for counties), transportation, economic development and parks and recreation (36.70A.070 RCW).

A comprehensive plan also may include additional optional elements that relate to the physical development within its respective jurisdiction. Examples of optional elements include: schools, historic preservation and community design (36.70A.080 RCW).

The GMA also requires jurisdictions to periodically review their comprehensive plans and implementing development regulations in their entirety and, if needed, revise them. Clark County is required to have this review and revision completed by June 30, 2016, and every eight years thereafter (36.70A.130(5)(b) RCW). Opportunities for public participation in this process will be provided (36.70A.035 RCW).

Planning in Clark County

1960 Land Use Map
1960 Land Use Element of Clark County Comprehensive Plan

 

Clark County has a long planning history. The Board of County Commissioners created and established a County Planning Department and Planning Commission for Clark County as early as 1935. In 1959, the state legislature approved a new statute (RCW 36.70), which applied specifically to county, regional and joint planning programs. This 1959 statute led to the adoption of the county’s first Comprehensive Plan in 1960.

Here’s our land use planning history:

  • 1935: Clark County established first county planning department and advisory planning commission
  • 1960: First Clark County Comprehensive Plan
  • 1979: Second Clark County comprehensive plan which initiated Urban Services Boundaries, a predecessor of the 1994 state mandated Urban Growth Boundaries required by GMA.
  • 1994: Comprehensive plan resulted in a total of 41,229 acres, or 64.42 square miles, of urban growth areas. The 1994 Comprehensive Plan planned for growth between 1994 and 2014.
  • 1995: Plan was remanded by the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board for inconsistency between population projections and capital facilities planning.
  • 1997: Revision of 1994 plan to comply with the hearings board findings
  • 2004: Clark County adopts 2004 Comprehensive Plan update. 6,124 acres, or 9.57 square miles of growth areas added.
    • Fourteen appeals challenged the 2004 plan focused, in part, on a last-minute reduction in the assumed growth rate, moving it from 1.83 percent to 1.69 percent.
  • 2007: Revision of 2004 plan. 12,023 acres added to urban growth areas.
    • Appeals challenged the 2007 plan, arguing the county had erroneously moved 4,351 acres from agricultural designation to a non-resource designation, and included those lands within urban growth areas.
    • As a result of the appeals process, 1,500 acres of rezoned land was ruled invalid, and those lands were removed from urban growth areas and again designated as agricultural lands.

Between Clark County Comprehensive Plan updates, annual adjustments (i.e. Annual Reviews) to the Comprehensive Plan are made in response to city annexations and citizen requests for specific sites. Meanwhile, there were numerous changes in regulations to help implement the plan.

 

 

 
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