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Planning: PL 6

Expand Section Electronic Documents (7 Results)

Expand Section Featured Inquiries (17 Results)

  1. What is the relationship between the county's six-year transportation improvement plan (TIP) and the comprehensive plan?

    The comprehensive plan statute, RCW 36.70A.070, describing the mandatory elements of the comprehensive plan states that the transportation element must be consistent with the six-year plans as required of the various agencies (city, county, state). And RCW 36.81.121, the TIP statute for counties then says that the annual TIP must be consistent with the comp plan.

    This does not mean that the TIP is part of the comprehensive plan, only that it must be "consistent with" the comprehensive plan. We looked at a few TIPs and many made no specific mention of the consistency requirement, however we did find a brief and simple reference to it in the TIP from the City of Vancouver:

    Transportation Improvement Program Overview

    The City of Vancouver 2013 - 2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is an update of the City's 2012 - 2017 TIP. The TIP is the programming document for transportation improvements over a six-year period. The State of Washington law (RCW 35.77.010) requires the City to prepare a TIP annually that is consistent with and implements the city's adopted comprehensive growth management plan. The TIP identifies capital transportation system improvement projects and includes a policy to work with affected property owners to preserve railroad right-of-way in the event a railroad ceases to operate. A City of Vancouver Arterial Street System and Classification Map which designates roadways functionally classified as Arterials pursuant to VMC 11.70.010 and VMC 9.02.040 is adopted and attached hereto. For information about the City's Comprehensive Plan, contact Vancouver Planning at 360- 487-7950. For questions or more information about specific transportation projects, please contact Vancouver Public Works at 360-487-7130, or visit the City's website: www.cityofvancouver.us

    (Emphasis added)

    With regard to whether the TIP is formally incorporated into the comprehensive plan, while it does not appear to be a requirement, a simple statement like Vancouver has used may be a useful reminder to the county commissioners as well as the public that the county is meeting two separate but interrelated requirements. We think it's a good idea and would suggest taking it a step further and actually reference both statutes. From the standpoint of eligibility for funding, it probably doesn't matter as much since it's the consistency requirement rather than the formal incorporation of one into the other that grant programs would likely be concerned with. With that said however, the more you can show it, the better.

    Excerpts from the RCW (Emphasis added): 

    • RCW 36.70A.070
      Comprehensive plans -- Mandatory elements.

      (6) A transportation element that implements, and is consistent with, the land use element.
      ...

      (c) The transportation element described in this subsection (6), the six-year plans required by RCW 35.77.010 for cities, RCW 36.81.121 for counties, and RCW 35.58.2795 for public transportation systems, and the ten-year investment program required by RCW 47.05.030 for the state, must be consistent.
       
    • RCW 36.81.121
      Perpetual advanced six-year plans for coordinated transportation program, expenditures -- Nonmotorized transportation -- Railroad right-of-way.

      (1) At any time before adoption of the budget, the legislative authority of each county, after one or more public hearings thereon, shall prepare and adopt a comprehensive transportation program for the ensuing six calendar years. If the county has adopted a comprehensive plan pursuant to chapter 35.63 or 36.70 RCW, the inherent authority of a charter county derived from its charter, or chapter 36.70A RCW, the program shall be consistent with this comprehensive plan.


  2. Must a comprehensive plan or plan amendment be adopted by ordinance?

    We recommend adopting a comprehensive plan or plan amendment by ordinance, even though a resolution may be legally sufficient.  The statutes and the growth management hearings boards are split on the issue, and there is no guidance from the courts.

    For code cities, RCW 35A.63.072 certainly indicates that a city council can adopt the comprehensive plan by resolution; it states, in relevant part, as follows: "An affirmative vote of not less than a majority of total members of the legislative body shall be required for adoption of a resolution to approve the plan or its parts."  (Emphasis added.)  However, a comprehensive plan adopted under the Growth Management Act (GMA) is subject to RCW 36.70A.290(2)(a), which refers to “the ordinance or summary of the ordinance, adopting the comprehensive plan or development regulations.”

    At least one growth management hearings board has concluded that jurisdictions planning under GMA must adopt a comprehensive plan by ordinance. The Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board held that, despite RCW 35A.63.072, GMA comprehensive plans must be adopted by ordinance, based on RCW 36.70A.290(2)(a). (See Burlington Northern Railroad v. City of Auburn, Order of Dismissal, CPSGMHB No.95-3-0050). The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board, however, came to a different conclusion in Moore-Clark v. Town of LaConner, Order Regarding Dispositive Motions. WWGMHB No.94-2-0021 ("We hold that the Town may adopt its comprehensive plan by ordinance or by resolution.").

    Because the issue is not yet settled, it would be a safer course to adopt the comprehensive plan by ordinance. But, whatever mode is used for initial adoption of the plan should also be used in amending the plan. 



  3. Must a comprehensive plan or plan amendment be adopted by ordinance?

    We recommend adopting a comprehensive plan or plan amendment by ordinance, even though a resolution may be legally sufficient.  The statutes and the growth management hearings boards are split on the issue, and there is no guidance from the courts.

    For code cities, RCW 35A.63.072 certainly indicates that a city council can adopt the comprehensive plan by resolution; it states, in relevant part, as follows: "An affirmative vote of not less than a majority of total members of the legislative body shall be required for adoption of a resolution to approve the plan or its parts."  (Emphasis added.)  However, a comprehensive plan adopted under the Growth Management Act (GMA) is subject to RCW 36.70A.290(2)(a), which refers to “the ordinance or summary of the ordinance, adopting the comprehensive plan or development regulations.”

    At least one growth management hearings board has concluded that jurisdictions planning under GMA must adopt a comprehensive plan by ordinance. The Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board held that, despite RCW 35A.63.072, GMA comprehensive plans must be adopted by ordinance, based on RCW 36.70A.290(2)(a). (See Burlington Northern Railroad v. City of Auburn, Order of Dismissal, CPSGMHB No.95-3-0050). The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board, however, came to a different conclusion in Moore-Clark v. Town of LaConner, Order Regarding Dispositive Motions. WWGMHB No.94-2-0021 ("We hold that the Town may adopt its comprehensive plan by ordinance or by resolution.").

    Because the issue is not yet settled, it would be a safer course to adopt the comprehensive plan by ordinance. But, whatever mode is used for initial adoption of the plan should also be used in amending the plan. 



  4. What are the notice requirements for amendment of a comprehensive plan?

    For code city comprehensive plan amendments, the statutes (RCW 35A.63.073 and RCW 35A.63.070) require that the planning commission hold at least one public hearing. Notice is to be given as provided by ordinance and published at least ten days prior to the hearing. If continued hearings are held, no additional notices need be published. For non-code cities and towns, the statutes (RCW 35.63.105 and RCW 35.63.100) require that the planning commission hold at least one public hearing. For counties, the statutes (RCW 36.70.410, RCW 36.70.380, and RCW 36.70.390) require that the planning commission hold at least one public hearing. Notice is to be published at least ten days prior to the hearing.

    The GMA does not add any specific notice and hearing requirements to the existing requirements with respect to adoption of comprehensive plans and plan amendments.

    However, RCW 36.70A.140 requires that cities and counties planning under the act

    establish and broadly disseminate to the public a public participation program identifying procedures providing for early and continuous public participation in the development and amendment of comprehensive land use plans and development regulations implementing such plans. The procedures shall provide for broad dissemination of proposals and alternatives, opportunity for written comments, public meetings after effective notice, provision for open discussion, communication programs, information services, and consideration of and response to public comments.



  5. What are the notice requirements for amendment of a comprehensive plan?

    For code city comprehensive plan amendments, the statutes (RCW 35A.63.073 and RCW 35A.63.070) require that the planning commission hold at least one public hearing. Notice is to be given as provided by ordinance and published at least ten days prior to the hearing. If continued hearings are held, no additional notices need be published. For non-code cities and towns, the statutes (RCW 35.63.105 and RCW 35.63.100) require that the planning commission hold at least one public hearing. For counties, the statutes (RCW 36.70.410, RCW 36.70.380, and RCW 36.70.390) require that the planning commission hold at least one public hearing. Notice is to be published at least ten days prior to the hearing.

    The GMA does not add any specific notice and hearing requirements to the existing requirements with respect to adoption of comprehensive plans and plan amendments.

    However, RCW 36.70A.140 requires that cities and counties planning under the act

    establish and broadly disseminate to the public a public participation program identifying procedures providing for early and continuous public participation in the development and amendment of comprehensive land use plans and development regulations implementing such plans. The procedures shall provide for broad dissemination of proposals and alternatives, opportunity for written comments, public meetings after effective notice, provision for open discussion, communication programs, information services, and consideration of and response to public comments.



  6. Must cities or counties planning under the GMA include economic development elements in their comprehensive plans before the state provides funding for this?

    The Washington Growth Management Act (GMA) encourages economic development consistent with adopted comprehensive plans. SSHB 2697 (Chapter 154, Laws of 2002 (Adobe Acrobat Document23 KB)) added economic development to the list of required elements of a growth management comprehensive plan, but also provides:

    It is the intent that new or amended elements required after January 1, 2002, be adopted concurrent with the scheduled update provided in RCW 36.70A.130. Requirements to incorporate any such new or amended elements shall be null and void until funds sufficient to cover applicable local government costs are appropriated and distributed by the state at least two years before local government must update comprehensive plans as required in RCW 36.70A.130.

    We interpret this language to mean that an economic development element is not required until the state has appropriated and distributed sufficient funding to cover the cost to local governments of developing this element. "Null and void" means without legal effect. The requirement basically doesn't exist, until it has been funded. Such funding must also be provided at least two years before local governments are required to update their comprehensive plans. To date no such state funding has been adopted or appropriated.

    For more information on this subject, see our Planning for Economic Development Web page.



  7. Should the inventory of public facilities be limited to just city-owned facilities?
    No. The inventory of public facilities should include all public facilities, and should not be limited to city-owned facilities. This would include school and park district property, state property, and other publicly-owned facilities.

  8. Should the capital facilities plan be prepared for the city or for the entire urban growth area?

    The capital facilities element plan must be prepared for the entire urban growth area. This is in keeping with the intent of the Growth Management Act to help cities prepare for growth in their urban growth areas.

    In Fallgatter v. City of Sultan, the Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board found that the city must comply with RCW 36.70A.020(12) and 36.70A.070(3)’s mandate to provide adequate and necessary facilities to support existing and new development within the UGAs within the 20-year planning period .  (Fallgatter v. City of Sultan, Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board Case No. 07-3-0017, FDO, 9/5/2007.)

     

    Based on the same statutes, the CPSGMHB found Kitsap County to be noncompliant because UGA expansions based upon a noncompliant, invalid Capital Facilities Element do not comply with the GMA’s directive that necessary and adequate public facilities and services be available within the UGA.  (SuquamishTribe, et al v. Kitsap County, Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board Case No. 07-3-0019c, Order on Motion for Reconsideration, 9/13/07.)

     



  9. What must be included in a capital facilities plan element?

    Each comprehensive plan prepared under the GMA must include a capital facilities plan element.

    RCW 36.70A.070(3) of the GMA states the following:

    A capital facilities plan element consisting of:

    (a) An inventory of existing capital facilities owned by public entities, showing the locations and capacities of the capital facilities;
    (b) a forecast of the future needs of such capital facilities;
    (c) the proposed locations and capacities of expanded or new capital facilities;
    (d) at least a six-year plan that will finance such capital facilities within projected funding capacities and clearly identifies sources of public money for such purposes; and
    (e) a requirement to reassess the land use element if probable funding falls short of meeting existing needs and to ensure that the land use element, capital facilities plan element, and financing plan within the capital facilities plan element are coordinated and consistent. Park and recreation facilities shall be included in the capital facilities plan element.



  10. Would amendments to the comprehensive plan for an area being annexed be subject to the once-a-year comprehensive plan amendment restriction?
    RCW 36.70A.130(2)(a) limits comprehensive plan amendments to no more than once-a-year, with certain
    specific exceptions identified in that subsection. None of those specific exemptions is for amending the comprehensive plan for an area being annexed. However, such an amendment could possibly fit under RCW 36.70A.130(2)(b), which provides that “after appropriate public participation a county or city may adopt amendments or revisions to its comprehensive plan that conform with this chapter whenever an emergency exists.” Not having an area of the city subject to its comp plan as a result of annexation could perhaps be considered an emergency so as to fit under that provision. We are not aware of any case law or growth management hearings board decision on point, however.

  11. Would amendments to the comprehensive plan for an area being annexed be subject to the once-a-year comprehensive plan amendment restriction?
    RCW 36.70A.130(2)(a) limits comprehensive plan amendments to no more than once-a-year, with certain
    specific exceptions identified in that subsection. None of those specific exemptions is for amending the comprehensive plan for an area being annexed. However, such an amendment could possibly fit under RCW 36.70A.130(2)(b), which provides that “after appropriate public participation a county or city may adopt amendments or revisions to its comprehensive plan that conform with this chapter whenever an emergency exists.” Not having an area of the city subject to its comp plan as a result of annexation could perhaps be considered an emergency so as to fit under that provision. We are not aware of any case law or growth management hearings board decision on point, however.

  12. Request for sample comprehensive plan amendment procedures and fees.
    Please see GMA Plan/Development Regulations Updates for information about periodic plan update and annual plan amendment procedures. Sample city and county fees schedules, including fees for comprehensive plan amendments and rezones are available on the MRSC "Planning Fees" Webpage. In addition, the Association of Washington Cities 2012 Tax & User Fee Survey - Part II - Land Use includes information on city fees for comprehensive plan amendments. Loan copies are available to city and county officials from AWC (login required) or from our library.

    Also, here are several examples of codes addressing comprehensive plan amendments:

    • Bellingham Municipal Code, Ch. 20.20 - Comprehensive Plan and Neighborhood Plan Amendments
    • Issaquah Municipal Code, Sec. 18.04.635 - Docket of Proposed Amendments (DPA), and Sec. 18.04.660 - Comprehensive Plan Amendments
    • Tumwater Municipal Code, Ch. 18.60 - Text Amendments and Rezones
    • Kitsap County Code, Ch. 21.08 - Legislative Action Procedures

     



  13. Request for scope of work for a comprehensive plan update.
    Please see the following MRSC Web page section that includes comprehensive plan update scope of work examples: Comprehensive Plan Update Work Programs and Process Examples.  In addition, the MRSC Index includes other examples under the topic: Planning: PL 6.1500: Comprehensive plan and plan update work programs, progress reports.   The following document also contains a scope of work for plan development:

     



  14. Request for scope of work for a comprehensive plan update.
    Please see the following MRSC Web page section that includes comprehensive plan update scope of work examples: Comprehensive Plan Update Work Programs and Process Examples.  In addition, the MRSC Index includes other examples under the topic: Planning: PL 6.1500: Comprehensive plan and plan update work programs, progress reports.   The following document also contains a scope of work for plan development:

     



  15. Must a comprehensive plan or plan amendment be adopted by ordinance?
    We recommend adopting a comprehensive plan or plan amendment by ordinance. Ordinances are generally used to prescribe general and permanent rules of conduct or government, and resolutions generally deal with matters of a special or temporary character. In addition, at least one growth management hearings board has concluded that jurisdictions planning under GMA must adopt a comprehensive plan by ordinance. The Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board held that GMA comprehensive plans must be adopted by ordinance, based on RCW 36.70A.290(2)(a), which refers to "the ordinance or summary of the ordinance, adopting the comprehensive plan or development regulations." (See Burlington Northern Railroad v. Auburn, CPSGMHB No.95-3-0050, Order of Dismissal, 1995). The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board, however, came to a different conclusion in Moore-Clark v. Town of La Conner, WWGMHB No.94-2-0021, Order Regarding Dispositive Motions, 1995. Since the issue isn&t settled at this date, it would be safer to adopt the comprehensive plan by ordinance.

  16. Must a comprehensive plan or plan amendment be adopted by ordinance?
    We recommend adopting a comprehensive plan or plan amendment by ordinance. Ordinances are generally used to prescribe general and permanent rules of conduct or government, and resolutions generally deal with matters of a special or temporary character. In addition, at least one growth management hearings board has concluded that jurisdictions planning under GMA must adopt a comprehensive plan by ordinance. The Central Puget Sound Growth Management Hearings Board held that GMA comprehensive plans must be adopted by ordinance, based on RCW 36.70A.290(2)(a), which refers to "the ordinance or summary of the ordinance, adopting the comprehensive plan or development regulations." (See Burlington Northern Railroad v. Auburn, CPSGMHB No.95-3-0050, Order of Dismissal, 1995). The Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board, however, came to a different conclusion in Moore-Clark v. Town of La Conner, WWGMHB No.94-2-0021, Order Regarding Dispositive Motions, 1995. Since the issue isn&t settled at this date, it would be safer to adopt the comprehensive plan by ordinance.

  17. Must the shoreline master program of a city that plans under the Growth Management Act be an element of the city's comprehensive plan?
    Yes, under regulatory reform legislation adopted in 1995. RCW 36.70A.480(1) states in part that the goals and policies of a shoreline master program of a city or county "shall be considered an element of the county or city's comprehensive plan" adopted under the Growth Management Act. In addition, all other portions of the shoreline master program, including use regulations, are to be considered as part of a city or county's development regulations, for Growth Management Act purposes.

Expand Section Subject Pages (9 Results)

  1. GMA Plan/Development Regulations Updates
    Provides information for Washington cities and counties on reviewing and revising comprehensive plans and development regulations under the Growth Management Act.
  2. GMA Plan/Development Regulations Updates
    Provides information for Washington cities and counties on reviewing and revising comprehensive plans and development regulations under the Growth Management Act.
  3. GMA Plan/Development Regulations Updates
    Provides information for Washington cities and counties on reviewing and revising comprehensive plans and development regulations under the Growth Management Act.
  4. GMA Plan/Development Regulations Updates
    Provides information for Washington cities and counties on reviewing and revising comprehensive plans and development regulations under the Growth Management Act.
  5. Comprehensive Planning - Growth Management
    Provides information on and examples of comprehensive plans planned under the Growth Management Act (GMA) in Washington.
  6. Comprehensive Planning - Growth Management
    Provides information on and examples of comprehensive plans planned under the Growth Management Act (GMA) in Washington.
  7. Comprehensive Planning - Growth Management
    Provides information on and examples of comprehensive plans planned under the Growth Management Act (GMA) in Washington.
  8. Comprehensive Planning - Growth Management
    Provides information on and examples of comprehensive plans planned under the Growth Management Act (GMA) in Washington.
  9. Housing Plans
    This page provides links to housing plans

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