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Skip Navigation LinksDepartment of Commerce / Services & Assistance / Local Government / Growth Management Services / Growth Management Planning Topics / Buildable Lands

Buildable Lands


The Buildable Lands Program was adopted as an amendment to the GMA in 1997, (RCW 36.70A.215). It is a review and evaluation program aimed at determining if six Western Washington counties - Snohomish, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Thurston and Clark - and their cities have an adequate amount of residential, commercial, and industrial land to meet the growth needs adopted in their GMA comprehensive plans.
The Buildable Lands Program requires these counties and their cities to collect data for a certain period and use that to evaluate the level of development occurring within their jurisdictions. The purpose of this quantitative analysis is to determine if a county and its cities are achieving urban densities within urban growth areas. If result of the analysis demonstrates inconsistencies in how growth and development occurred, compared to what was envisioned in the local comprehensive plans and county-wide planning policies, then jurisdictions must consider implementation of what “reasonable measures” to take to increase consistency between plans and development.

During the 2011 legislative session, the Legislature passed ESHB 1478 to better align this review and evaluation program with comprehensive plan and development regulations update. As amended, each of the six counties must complete their analysis and report no later than one year prior to the deadline for the review of their plans and regulations (RCW 36.70A.215(2)(b). 

What we do:

Growth Management Services provides technical assistance through detailed guidebooks and other publications to assist local governments in planning:

Buildable Lands Program Guidelines, 2000

Legislative Reports:

Buildable Lands Program, 2002 Evaluation Report, A summary of findings

Buildable Lands 2007 Evaluation Report - A Summary of Findings

Buildable Lands Program,  Effectiveness Report to the Legislature, December 31, 2007

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