Growth Management

The Growth Management Act (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 ten years to ensure they remain up-to-date.

Growth Management Services

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). Refer to the quick links on our right-side bar to select a program, topic or support mechanism to assist you in your planning needs.

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.

GMS News

Charging modern electric cars from station outdoors

Climate Planning Grant Funding Open Now

Apply now for Climate Planning grants Commerce will make approximately $30 million available in climate planning grants for the 2023-2025 biennium to implement HB 1181 (2023). Each fully planning city and county is eligible for funding based on applicability (RCW 36.70A.040 (4)). Climate planning grants are available for the development of climate change and resiliency elements in local comprehensive planning. Funding is available under a formula with priority for the

Aerial photo of construction site for large multi-family housing project

Connecting Housing to Infrastructure Program (CHIP) Grants Open Now

The CHIP grant application opened today. With $55.5 million in funding available, CHIP supports the development of affordable housing by paying for water, sewer and stormwater utility improvements and/or waived system development charges for new affordable housing units. Cities, counties or utility districts may apply in partnership with a housing developer. The application period is open through October 31, 2023 and project requests are limited to $2 million. Program guidelines

Photo of governor and supporters in front of solar panels as climate bill is signed into law

Washington State Legislature completes historic year of Growth Management Act reforms

As we recently shared in a Special Edition of the Planners’ Newsletter, this past legislative session resulted in the most significant reforms to the Growth Management Act (GMA) in over two decades. The Legislature and the governor went big on issues like housing and climate change and continued the process of updating the state’s growth policy framework. These successes took strong leadership, a broad coalition and bipartisan cooperation. Adding important

GMS Programs

Map of Washington Counties organized by update years

GMA Periodic Update Information

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

GMA Periodic Update Information

Students listen to an instructor in a classroom

Short Course on Local Planning

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

Short Course on Local Planning

Planners' forum meeting in Washington

Regional Planners' Forums

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.

Regional Planners' Forums

Washington state capitol building

Submitting Materials to State for Review

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

Submitting Materials to State for Review