Growth Management Act Laws and Rules

The Washington State Growth Management Act requires cities and counties to develop comprehensive plans and development regulations for their communities. This page serves as a resource for laws and rules that are required to implement the Growth Management Act.

Washington State Capitol Building

Growth Management Act - Revised Code of Washington

Chapter 36.70A RCW – Growth Management-Planning by Selected Counties and Cities

Chapter 36.70B RCW – Local Project Review

Chapter 36.70C RCW – Judicial Review of Land Use Decisions

Growth Management Act Amendments

The following is a link to a summary of GMA amendments from 1995 to 2023. Growth Management Act Amendments 1995-2023 (PDF)

Washington Administrative Code (Rules)

Chapter 365-185 WAC – Procedures for management of growth management planning and environmental review fund

Chapter 365-190 WAC – Minimum guidelines to classify agriculture, forest, mineral lands and critical areas

Chapter 365-195 WAC – Best Available Science

Chapter 365-196 WAC – Procedural criteria for adopting comprehensive plans and development regulations

Chapter 365-197 WAC – Project Consistency

Chapter 365-198 WAC – Interlocal terms and conditions for the transfer of development rights

Chapter 365-199 WAC – Procedures for making a determination of compliance for jurisdictions seeking voluntary reversion to partial planning status

Current Growth Management Act Rulemaking

GMS is currently updating administrative rules for the Growth Management Act. We have filed two separate CR-101 notices.

The first CR-101 notice addresses recent legislation on housing, permitting, development regulations, urban growth areas, and rural development. Rulemaking will reflect recommendations in the technical guidance that GMS has developed to support local government planning for increased densities, housing types, and considerations of displacement, exclusion and racially disparate impacts in local housing policies. 

The second CR-101 notice deals with the inclusion of climate planning for cities and counties. 

Completed Rulemaking

The Department of Commerce adopted changes to Chapter 365-190, Chapter 365-195, and Chapter 365-196 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) on March 29, 2023.

Commerce initiated the rulemaking process on December 29, 2020 and worked with state agencies, local governments, tribal governments, and other stakeholders to develop a project scope and consider proposed changes to our administrative rules. Commerce hosted listening sessions in 2021 to discuss the project scope on June 30, July 19, July 26 and July 28. Commerce hosted public meetings in 2021 to review preliminary changes on December 1, December 8, December 9 and December 13. After making changes based on public feedback, GMS held two public hearings in 2022 on July 26 and July 27.