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

Building Urban Residential Capacity Grants Awarded

Grants of up to $100,000 are available to cities over 20,000 population, and of up to $50,000 for cities under 20,000.  Applicant cities must be fully planning under the Growth Management Act. $1 million is available. The application period has been extended to
February 28, 2020. Housing action plans must be adopted by June 15, 2021. All other actions must be adopted by April 1, 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
To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.

GMA Periodic Update Information

Image of the Bellingham area

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

Get information…

Short Course on Local Planning

Students listen to an instructor in a classroom

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

Get information…

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.


Get information…

Submitting Materials to State for Review

Washington state capitol building

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

Get information…