Civilian-Military Land Use Compatibility

Civilian-Military Land Use Compatibility

The Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) (RCW 36.70A.530) cites the military’s significant role in the economy and declares a state priority to prevent incompatible development near military installations. Incompatible development also poses health and safety concerns for neighboring community members and military personnel operating or training for active duty. Jurisdictions planning under the GMA have the need to consider potential impacts when they update or amend comprehensive plans and development regulations.

Compatibility is multi-directional, where military and community activities or planning decisions can impact each other. Communication and collaborative planning is critical to understanding those impacts and seeking opportunities to address mutual needs in a shared landscape. Since 2015, Commerce has developed tools to support communities engaged in compatibility planning and to encourage ongoing civilian-military coordination:

New Guidebook! July 2019 Washington State Guidebook on Military and Community Compatibility (PDF)(final)
Guidebook factsheet (PDF)
March 2019 draft guidebook (PDF) and public comments supplemental (PDF) prepared by MAKERS Architecture and Urban Design, LLP.
December 2017 project implementation plan, the Washington State Military and Community Compatibility Strategy (PDF) prepared by The Spectrum Group (TSG)
2016 legislative report, Civilian-Military Land Use Study (PDF) prepared by TSG
Link to other Military and Defense Sector related programs: external link

Defense Community Compatibility Account (DCCA)

Signed by Governor Inslee on May 13, 2019 Substitute Senate Bill 5748 creates the Defense Community Compatibility Account to support necessary infrastructure near military installations. The account was created in the state treasury and may include appropriations by the Legislature, private contributions or other sources.

Commerce will evaluate and rank project applications to produce a prioritized list of eligible projects in a biennial report to the Legislature with the first report due January 1, 2020. The report will identity and list projects to address incompatible development connect to Washington state military installations. The project list must include a project description, estimated costs and the of recommended state, federal and local funds to be used. Incompatible development includes land development and military operations that impact the economy, environment or quality of life opportunities for local communities.

Applications eligible for grants include projects that improve or enhance the local economy, environment or quality of life by the presence of military activities. Examples may include: land acquisition, recovery and protection of endangered species, affordable housing, retrofitting existing uses, economic development and job replacement.

For more information visit the Defense Community Compatibility Account page.

Stay Connected

A program input form is also available for general comments about this program. To receive program announcements, subscribe to the Civilian-Military Compatibility email list. For media inquiries, contact Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications at 206-256-6106.


2015: Washington State Legislature directed Commerce to conduct an encroachment study. Commerce commissioned Eastern Washington University to write a review of nationwide best practices, which Commerce published for comments in August 2015. Commerce revised and republished the draft report in February 2016.. (Authorizing legislation : 2015 3rd ex.s. c 4 s 128)

2016: Washington State Legislature provided $98,000 to Commerce for the study, which served as matching funds for a $485,000 Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) grant award. Commerce selected The Spectrum Group (TSG), a consultant, to prepare the final Civilian-Military Land Use Study, which Commerce submitted to the Legislature in December. (Authorizing legislation: 2016 1st ex.s. c 36 s 126)

2017:  TSG prepared a draft program strategy to recommend what Commerce can do to continue learning and engaging with compatibility stakeholders. Commerce collected public comments for the draft from June to August that TSG integrated into the final Washington State Military and Community Compatibility Strategy (December 2017.)

2018: Commerce began implementing outreach and technical assistance elements of the Washington State Military and Community Compatibility Strategy (December 2017.) The program received a $497,000 grant from the DOD to conduct outreach and develop a Washington State Guidebook on Military & Community Compatibility as a technical resource on compatibility planning.

2019-2020: Commerce published a technical assistance guidebook to support local compatibility efforts and promote civilian-military coordination in planning. The Washington State Legislature also passed Substitute Senate Bill (SSB) 5748 that directs Commerce to produce a legislative report related to forming a state account that would offer grant funds to communities for compatibility-focused projects. The legislative report is due for completion in 2020.