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

The Washington State Department of Commerce (Commerce) will be nominating up to ten cities or counties for the Transportation Improvement Boards’ (TIB) “Complete Streets Award”. Completed applications for nomination are due electronically to Commerce by October 1, 2021. For additional information please reach out to Kirsten Larsen at (360) 280-0320 or Jurisdictions with current populations of 10,000 or less are encouraged to apply. TIB should make the final grant awards (between $100,000 and $1,000,000) in January 2022.

Growth Management Services is reviewing and updating the administrative rules for the Growth Management Act. For more information visit our EZ View site: Growth Management Act WAC Update

The Washington State Department of Commerce’s Guidebook: Incentivizing Low Impact Development (LID) Beyond Permit Requirements presents ways that local governments can incentivize developers to voluntarily incorporate LID on projects in urban growth centers. For more information…

Contact Us

Dave Andersen, AICP
Managing Director

Behavioral Health Model Ordinance

The Department of Commerce developed a model ordinance in June of 2021 to help local jurisdictions site community-based behavioral health facilities. Please select this link for more information and to read the model ordinance and supplemental communications toolkit.

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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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