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

Smiling female speaker with microphone on stage
Listening sessions for new pilot grant for Community-Based Organizations
The Washington State Department of Commerce is hosting three public listening sessions this month to help communities provide us with direct feedback on a new grant program intended to foster greater participation in local policy decision-making. We need input from local community-based organizations representing overburdened communities and vulnerable populations to…
house in the village
Commerce publishes model ordinances to support the development of middle housing
The Department of Commerce has published final model ordinances and guidance for cities and counties required to include middle housing under HB 1110 (2023). To account for differing middle housing requirements based on population, one model ordinance has been prepared to assist cities 25,000 in population and greater; another for…

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