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​Growth Management Act - RCWs


Washington Administrative Code (Rules)

  • Reader Friendly Version of the WACs guiding GMA implementation
  • 365-185 Procedures for management of growth management planning and environmental review fund
  • 365-190 Minimum guidelines to classify agriculture, forest, mineral lands and critical areas
  • 365-195 Best Available Science
  • 365-196 Procedural Criteria for Adopting

Comprehensive Plans and Development Regulations

Ecology Shoreline Guideline WACs

  • 173-26 State master program approval/amendment procedures and master program guidelines
  • 173-27 Shoreline management permit and enforcement procedures

​Growth Management Laws and Rules


The Growth Management Act (GMA) establishes state goals, sets deadlines for compliance, 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.


EHB 1224 Reverting to Partially Planning under the GMA.  2014 legislature amending 36.70A.040, 36.70A.060 and 36.70A.280.  Link to Resource page. 



Commerce Growth Management Act (GMA) Rule Amendments     

Commerce is updating rules guiding implementation of the Growth Management Act (GMA).  We are updating rules in two different tracks.   To sign up for the listserv please go here

Issue 1.  Housekeeping edits

Description: Amend 9 rules to reflect new deadlines for counties and cities to comply with required periodic reviews and evaluations.  Amend 3 rules to clarify the definition of critical areas to exclude irrigation ditches.

Rulemaking webpage for more information  | Preproposal Statement of Inquiry (CR-101)   |  Proposed Rule Making WSR-14-22-092 (CR-102)   |   OTS-6722.1 Final    |    OTS-6723.1 Final

Issue 2:  Voluntary Stewardship Program

Description: Create a new rule to help implement 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 Conservation Commission and a legislatively created Statewide Advisory Committee to develop VSP rules.

Project webpage for more information | Preproposal Statement of Inquiry (CR-101)

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 or call Dave Andersen at 509-434-4491.

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