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Transportation planning

2016 Comprehensive Growth management Plan update

Common questions

Question markWhat is a comprehensive plan update?

Where will growth occur?

What plans are involved?

How can I get involved?

I received a postcard. What do the codes mean?

What is urban reserve?

What is urban holding?

What is SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act)?

Nonconforming lots and legal lots of record questions (PDF)


What is a comprehensive plan update?

Comprehensive plans are long-range policy guides for how a jurisdiction plans to manage growth and development with respect to the natural environment and available resources. Washington state law (36.70A.040 RCW) requires jurisdictions operating under the Growth Management Act (GMA) to develop and implement comprehensive plans and development regulations consistent with their respective comprehensive plans (36.70A RCW).

Clark County's comprehensive plan consists of a set of policies and maps meant to accommodate and guide population and employment growth in the unincorporated portion of the county over the next 20 years. The cities and town of Yacolt each developed and update plans separately from, but in coordination with, the county's plan.

State law also requires these plans be updated according to a schedule. The 2016 update is Clark County's implementation of the state requirement to "review and revise, if needed" the county's growth plan. For Clark County and the cities and town in it, this update is to be adopted by June 30, 2016 and focus on population and employment growth projected between 2015 and 2035. The last major update was in 2007.

Less extensive revisions to the comprehensive plan are allowed on an annual basis through the annual review process (when requested by the public or non-county jurisdictions) and through a simultaneous county-initiated docket process.

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Where will growth occur?

Projections from Washington's Office of Financial Management suggest the county’s future growth rate over the next 20 years (2015-2035) will be slower than the rate seen and planned for in recent decades. The population forecast for 2035 is slightly lower than the forecast for 2024, which was the basis for the last major comprehensive plan update adopted in 2007. Because of slower growth and similar growth forecasts for 2024 and 2035, the new plan will have a similar big-picture strategy to the existing plan, and thus extensive changes are not needed.

Most growth is planned to occur in areas already characterized by urban development. Despite the slower rate of growth, some important details in the plan will likely change. We are gathering information and will evaluate options. However, depending on where you live, own property, work or simply enjoy visiting, things that might change could be important to you.

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What plans are involved?

The 2016 update focuses on where population and employment growth should be focused and options for mitigating the impacts of that growth. The update will look at current and future land uses, development density, urban growth area boundaries, capital facility needs, transportation infrastructure and traffic. The update could result in changes to the Clark County 20-year Comprehensive Growth Management Plan, the Comprehensive Plan Land Use map and Capital Facilities Plan. The 2016 update does not address individual development proposals.

See the library for reports and plans that inform or are part of the Comprehensive Plan.

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How can I get involved?

Your input will help the Board of County Councilors reach its final decision about how best to update the plan. This website is designed to help you understand the options, called "alternatives," that will be considered.

This website also can help you voice your opinions about the alternatives and how they could be shaped into a preferred plan for the Board of County Councilors' consideration in 2016. Please feel free to use the information on these pages to familiarize yourself with the project. See the 'get involved' page on how to become part of the process.

Also, watch the comprehensive plan update 'meetings' page for meeting information.

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What is the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)?

The State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), enacted in 1984, requires local jurisdictions to evaluate potential environmental impacts of actions they approve or undertake. The most common evaluation looks at potential environmental impacts of a proposed project, such as a big box store, or a large non-project action, such as adoption of a new urban growth boundary. A SEPA checklist prescribes elements to be evaluated, and the completed checklist is shared with federal, state and local agencies, tribes, neighborhood organizations and interested residents. People can comment on the alternatives, mitigation measures, probable significant adverse impacts or other relevant topics.

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Related information
Public meetings and more
  • Tuesday, Nov. 24 @ 10:00 a.m. ~ BOCC Hearing - 2016 Comp. Plan update
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