Growth Management

The mission of Growth Management Services (GMS) is to assist and guide local governments, state agencies, and others to manage growth and development, consistent with the Growth Management Act (GMA).

The GMA was adopted to address ways to accommodate growth. It requires that the fastest-growing cities and counties complete comprehensive plans and development regulations to guide future growth. All jurisdictions are required to protect critical environmental areas and conserve natural resource lands, such as farms and forests. The GMA calls for communities to review and, if necessary, revise their plans and regulations every eight years to ensure they remain up-to-date.

Services we provide: Direct Assistance, Grants, Training and Education, Guidebooks, Review of counties and cities proposed GMA implementation actions, State Coordination to facilitate GMA-related state agency activities and services to local governments, Governor’s Smart Communities Awards program.

Growth Management Staff Contact Information and Regional Assistance Map

GMA Fully Planning and Partially Planning Counties Map

Current News

Free Webinar:
How to Prepare a Housing Needs Assessment
Wednesday, March 18, 2020 from 11am – 12pm.

A strong Housing Needs Assessment (HNA) is the basis for understanding your community and its housing market. It is the foundation for understanding how to plan for housing all economic segments of the community, and housing for people at all stages of life. An HNA will help to identify the gaps between the diversity of housing needs within a community and the supply of housing that is available. This free webinar will provide information on:
• How to scope your housing needs assessment
• Common sources of housing data and ideas for presenting housing data
• How to use the HNA to identify mismatches between housing needs and housing supply.

The Department of Commerce is partnering with MRSC to present this webinar.
Please register for this webinar here.

Building Urban Residential Capacity Grants Awarded

Grants of up to $25,000 are available to cities and towns or the county in counties that are partially planning under the GMA to increase urban residential building capacity. Grants are available for housing action plans or code changes that increase urban residential building capacity, streamline permitting, or address barriers to the development of more housing. A total of $100,000 is available. The “Partially Planning” grant is open from Monday, March 2, 2019 until April 17, 2021. Local legislative action must be taken by June 15, 2021 and all deliverables must be completed by June 30, 2021.

For application materials visit Commerce’s Growth Management website.

2019 awards for code changes, housing action plans and subarea plans are here.

Contact Us

Dave Andersen, AICP
Managing Director
dave.andersen@commerce.wa.gov
509-434-4491

Email Updates
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GMA Periodic Update Information

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Every county and city in the state is required to conduct a periodic update. Available resources: Guidebook, Update Schedule, Checklists for Counties and Cities.

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Short Course on Local Planning

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Short Course Schedule, Guidebook, Training for Open Public Meetings Act, Short Course Video

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Regional Planners' Forums

Planners' forum meeting in Washington

For planners, planning commissioners, elected officials, and community members to learn about an array of timely and relevant planning subjects, receive updates from state and federal agencies on land use issues.


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Submitting Materials to State for Review

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Each county and city planning under GMA is required to notify Commerce when adopting or permanently amending its comprehensive plans and/or development regulations.

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