Growth Management Laws and Rules
The Growth Management Act (GMA) establishes state goals, sets deadlines for compliance, and offers direction on how to prepare local comprehensive plans and development regulations and requirements for early and continuous public participation.
The GMA requires state and local governments to manage Washington’s growth by identifying and protecting critical areas and natural resource lands, designating urban growth areas, preparing comprehensive plans and implementing them through capital investments and development regulations.
Commerce GMA Rule Amendments
Commerce is updating rules guiding implementation of the Growth Management Act (GMA). We are updating rules in two different tracks and have recently adopted new rules. To sign up for the listserv please go here.
Issue 1: Voluntary Stewardship Program
: Create a new rule for Commerce’s role in the Voluntary Stewardship Program
(VSP), an alternative means for counties to protect critical areas on lands used for agricultural activities. Commerce is required to develop a rule governing certification of county approaches to protect critical areas on agricultural lands in certain circumstances. Commerce will work with the Washington State Conservation Commission
and a legislatively created Statewide Advisory Committee to develop VSP rules.
Issue 2: Reverting to Partially Planning Under the GMA
Description: In 2014, the Washington State Legislature amended RCW 36.70A.040, .060 and .280, allowing smaller, slow growth counties that originally opted to fully plan under the GMA the option to revert to partially planning status. Counties and cities must be compliant with the GMA to be eligible to revert to partially planning status. Commerce is writing WAC rules to implement its role in determining local jurisdiction’s compliance status.
Issue 3: Housekeeping Amendments (adopted January 27, 2015)
Description: The Department of Commerce adopted its “housekeeping amendments” that reflect statutory deadlines for counties and cities to comply with required periodic reviews and evaluation of their comprehensive plans and development regulations. The WAC update also clarified that the definition of “critical areas” exclude irrigation ditches.
Concise Explanatory Statement and Response to Comments for the adoption of amendments to Growth Management Act Rules: See the statement page
How to get involved:
Subscribe to the WAC Update ListServ
for updates on the status of rule development and opportunities for public comment. Please e-mail comments or questions to WACUPDATE@commerce.wa.gov
or call Dave Andersen at 509.434.4491.