Path to full plan certification for six small cities

The Executive Board has unanimously approved an alternative path to fully certify the comprehensive plans for six small cities.

Gig Harbor is one of the six small cities that will have an alternative way to receive full plan certification.

This new option allows full plan certification if the cities make a commitment to completing a number of steps that support VISION 2040.

Last year the plans for Bonney Lake, Carnation, Covington, Gig Harbor, North Bend and Snoqualmie received conditional certification from PSRC because the cities’ plans anticipate growth substantially above adopted countywide growth targets for housing and jobs.

The Growth Management Policy Board reviewed the conditional certifications this fall and made a recommendation for creating a path to certification.

Specifically, the cities would be asked to adopt a city council commitment to:

  • Acknowledge the planned housing and employment growth anticipated in the small city’s adopted comprehensive plan is greater than adopted growth targets for the city and acknowledge the importance of managing that growth and mitigating its impacts, including on surrounding communities, rural and resource lands, and the regional transportation system.
  • Continue to work collaboratively with regional and countywide planning organizations on growth allocations during the next and future target updates and commit to planning for growth in future plan updates consistent with those collaboratively set and adopted target updates.
  • Identify and continue strategies cities are using to manage and mitigate the impacts of growth.
  • Reinforce the city’s commitment to managing its growth within current city and Urban Growth Area boundaries while minimizing impacts on surrounding rural and resource lands; commit to using the adopted countywide criteria for evaluating any requested UGA modifications.
  • Commit to prioritize consistency with the Regional Growth Strategy when considering future land use and zoning changes and capital facilities investments.

You can watch the presentation and discussion here starting at about 39:30.



PSRC to review plan updates and certification process

Today the PSRC Executive Board discussed an upcoming assessment of the region’s comprehensive plan updates and certification process.


Downtown Duvall (click on the photo to watch a video about the city showing its revitalizing downtown)

Representatives from Snoqualmie, North Bend, Duvall and other cities expressed concerns to the board about issues related to conditional certification of plans.

The region’s 86 jurisdictions have completed or are in the process of updating their comprehensive plans – updates required by the Growth Management Act every eight years.

PSRC’s review and certification of major plan updates is concluding this year. Final action for the vast majority of plans from King, Pierce and Snohomish communities occurred in April. Certification of plans from Kitsap communities will take place this fall.

The comp plan assessment project will help identify and evaluate issues that emerged through the plan updates, consider different approaches to address those issues, and to identify areas where PSRC might refine VISION 2040 strategies and multicounty planning policies in a future VISION 2040 update.

PSRC will seek broad input from local jurisdictions and other key stakeholders that may include focus groups, surveys, individual interviews, or outreach to countywide planning coordinating bodies.

A smaller working group of local planning staff will analyze the information assembled through this process and draft a final report with conclusions and recommended next steps.

The Growth Management Policy Board will take up the assessment project at their meeting on July 7.

More information: 

Watch the meeting video:  public comment starts at 13:27; presentation and discussion at 1:11:00)

News coverage: Seattle Times & KIRO 7

Watch or attend the Growth Management Policy Board meeting, July 7, 10 a.m. – 12 noon.


Local communities planning ahead

This week the Executive Board will take up the last big batch of comprehensive plan updates for jurisdictions in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.

Downtown Granite Falls

Downtown Granite Falls

Plans up for certification:  Arlington, Auburn, Burien, Covington, Darrington, DuPont, Fircrest, Gig Harbor, Granite Falls, Lakewood, Maple Valley, Normandy Park, North Bend, Pacific, Pierce County, Puyallup, Ruston, Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Stanwood and Tukwila.

Every city and county within the central Puget Sound region develops a long-term comprehensive plan to shape the future of their community.  PSRC’s role is to help coordinate these planning efforts and ensure the plans are in sync with the region’s VISION 2040 growth strategy.

Kitsap County jurisdictions are working toward a June 2016 deadline and those reviews will be brought to the board next winter.

Also on the Executive Board’s agenda:

  • Designation of the Sumner- Pacific Manufacturing/Industrial Center
  • Associate Membership for Washington State University
  • Routine Amendment to the 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) adding three projects
  • Distribution of $14.4 million in PSRC’s federal funds to 18 projects
  • A change in Transportation 2040 project status for Bellevue’s NE Spring Boulevard project from Candidate to Approved

The Executive Board will meet on April 28, 10 – 11:30 a.m., in PSRC’s Board Room. You can find the full agenda here.


Growth board to act on comprehensive plans

A dozen more local plans are nearing the finish line for certification by PSRC.

Strawberry Festival at Burien's Town Square (Photo Credit: City of Burien)

Strawberry Festival at Burien’s Town Square (Photo Credit: City of Burien)

On April 7, the Growth Management Policy Board will take action to recommend certification of plans for Arlington, Burien, Darrington, DuPont, Fircrest, Granite Falls, Lakewood, Pacific, Pierce County, Ruston, Snohomish, and Stanwood.

Over the last year PSRC staff has been working closely with the region’s cities and counties as they completed updates to their comprehensive plans.

With this current round of certifications, 74 jurisdictions will have certified plans in place. A handful of cities are still working on their plan updates.

Other items on the Growth Management Policy Board’s agenda include:

  • An update on development in the Spring District, home to the new Global Innovation Exchange
  • Regional Centers Framework Project briefing
  • Information on Sound Transit 3 projects

The Growth Management Policy Board will meet on April 7, 10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., in PSRC’s Board Room. You can find the full agenda packet here.

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Growth planning stays true to region’s values

Since the passage of the Growth Management Act in 1990, the region has added more than a million people.

Video celebrates 25 years of the Growth Management Act (click to play).

Video by King County celebrating 25 years of the Growth Management Act (click to play the video).

Even with a growing population, data shows that in recent decades most rural lands have stayed rural while more people are choosing urban communities as places to live and work.

These outcomes are due in large part to careful planning by cities and counties that is helping the region grow in ways that sustain a strong economy and healthy environment.

Now, about 95% of new housing is being built in cities and urban areas, up from 72% in 1991.

A key part of the region’s VISION 2040 strategy is to focus new growth in designated regional centers. Today these centers have some of the strongest housing growth in the region.

Recent rapid growth in the region has highlighted the need for continued smart planning going forward.

An op-ed by Forterra’s Gene Duvernoy offers one perspective:  “Our region is uncommonly beautiful and people want it to stay that way.”

Cities and counties are now finalizing updates to their local comprehensive plans, planning ahead for the next two decades.

Today the Growth Management Policy Board recommended certification of nine comprehensive plans — for Everett, Lake Forest Park, Mill Creek, Monroe, Seattle, Snohomish County, Tacoma, University Place and Woodinville. You can find the presentation here.

The board found that the plans meet the requirements of the Growth Management Act and are consistent with the VISION 2040 regional growth strategy and the region’s transportation plan.

For more on growth management, check out King County’s great video celebrating the 25th anniversary of the GMA.


Local plans ready for action by growth board

A new stack of comprehensive plans will be in front of the Growth Management Policy Board on Thursday.

Marysville's comprehensive plan  contains policies supporting walking, biking and transit. (Photo credit - City of Marysville)

Marysville is the second largest city in Snohomish County. It grew by 6.9% from 2010-2015. (Photo credit – City of Marysville)

Plans for Bonney Lake, Carnation, Kent, Kirkland, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Medina, Milton, Mukilteo, Roy, and Sammamish will take the next step toward certification by PSRC.

With a certified or conditionally certified plan, the cities will be eligible to apply for federal transportation funding. The next round of PSRC funding will start this spring.

Also on the growth board’s agenda:

  • Certification of Issaquah’s Regional Growth Center Subarea Plan 
  • Legislative update from Jeff Wilson, Department of Commerce, and Laura Merrill, Washington Association of Counties 
  • Briefing on the draft budget and work program for fiscal years 2016-2017 

The Growth Management Policy Board will meet on January 7, 10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., in PSRC’s Board Room. You can read the full agenda packet here .

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Good work showing up in local planning

It’s been a busy year for city and county planners working to update comprehensive plans. The plans show how diverse communities are meeting local needs and are doing their part to achieve the VISION 2040 regional growth strategy.

Kirkland is planning for significant growth, anticipating an additional 8,361 housing units and 22,435 jobs through 2035. (Photo - City of Kirkland)

Kirkland is planning for significant growth, anticipating an additional 8,361 housing units and 22,435 jobs through 2035.

PSRC planners have been hard at work reviewing the 81 plans being updated this year to ensure they sync up to regional policies and meet state planning requirements.

Some of the themes emerging:

Planning for significant growth – Implementation of the regional growth strategy is happening in communities large and small.  Metro and core cities are planning to support significant growth, and counties are working to protect rural and resource lands.

Centers – Many communities are doing great work planning for regional growth centers, manufacturing/industrial centers and local centers. Focusing growth in centers is fundamental to the success of the regional growth strategy.

Environment – Jurisdictions are adopting important environmental policies, including support for low-impact development to improve water quality and take the pressure off of stormwater infrastructure, protection of wetlands, streams, rivers, and shorelines, local strategies to address climate change, and taking steps to support urban tree canopy.

Transportation – While paying for transportation improvements remains a challenge, jurisdictions have upped their game in planning for all types of transportation.  Many plans are strong on integrating transit and local plans, bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and focusing investments to serve compact development.

Housing – Many plans have outstanding policies and analysis related to housing.  But communities have also documented the difficulty in planning for housing that’s affordable to all economic segments and those with special housing needs. Some communities have also added new policies to address the issue of homelessness.

To date, PSRC has certified 33 plans, with 48 more to go in the next few months.

On January 7, the Growth Management Policy Board will take up the next batch of comprehensive plan certifications for Bonney Lake, Carnation, Kent, Kirkland, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Medina, Milton, Mukilteo, Roy, and Sammamish.