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.
Buildable Lands Guidebook
The updated Buildable Lands Guidebook is now available. Required by ESSB 5254 in 2017, the updated guidelines were developed to assist local governments with the Review and Evaluation component of the Growth Management Act. Specifically, the seven most populous Western Washington counties are required to prepare Buildable Lands Reports to inform upcoming Comprehensive Plan updates.
Critical Areas Handbook
The Department of Commerce has updated the Critical Areas Handbook. This update covers a wide range of topics and local government case studies. Read more…
Notice of Decision-Ferry County Compliance Determination
Multi-Unit Housing Tax Exemption Form – Go to this page to download the form
GMA Periodic Update Information
Short Course on Local Planning
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.