Buildable Lands

Included as a component of the Growth Management Act (GMA) in 1997, the Review and Evaluation Program under RCW 36.70A.215 is often referred to as the Buildable Lands Program. It requires that Clark, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom (as of 2017) Counties and the cities within them complete a Buildable Lands report every ten years.

Program Overview

The Buildable Lands reports are a look back at actual development to determine if cities and counties have designated adequate amounts of residential, commercial and industrial lands to meet the growth needs incorporated in their comprehensive plans. With the exception of Whatcom County, Buildable Lands counties have each produced three reports since 1997.

Current Guidelines

Guidelines for local governments were originally adopted in 2000 with technical summaries prepared and issued in 2003 and 2007.

In 2017, a number of changes were made to the Review and Evaluation Program through
E2SSB 5254 (PDF). With these changes to the Buildable Lands Program, the Legislature appropriated funds to the Department of Commerce to update the existing Buildable Lands guidance. This was the first comprehensive update to the guidance since 2000. This project involved an analysis of how existing Buildable Lands reports are being performed and engaged a wide array of stakeholders and a diverse steering committee. This project produced the following:

As a supplemental document to the Buildable Lands Guidance, the memo above addresses barriers to housing production and affordability in Washington, and provides tools aimed at assisting local governments.

Counties required to submit a buildable lands report:

Below is a list of links to existing buildable lands webpages for each of the counties required to submit a report.

Buildable Lands Summary