Comprehensive and GMVCR CSA Plan Updates

Updated July 2, 2019


King County has published its Public Review draft amendments to the Comprehensive Plan:  2020 KCCP Public Review Draft Website.  These amendments propose to make substantial and significant changes to the policies applicable to the rural area.  Time is very short as public comments on this draft are due by July 31, 2019.  Please review this draft carefully in order to fully appreciate the changes these new policies will have on the development of the rural area.


The WSU Ruckelshaus Center on June 30, 2019, published its 4-Volume Final Report, all in pdf format:

This Report articulates a vision of Washington’s desired future and identifies additions, revisions, or clarifications to the state’s growth management framework of laws, institutions, and policies needed to reach that future. The Center will now hold a series of open houses around the State to address and answer questions on its Final Report, including one on July 17th from 1 pm – 5 pm at the WSU Energy Office in Olympia WA, 905 Plum Street # 3 (please visit their website and RSVP as space is limited); and two planned in September — one at the University of Washington, Seattle and one at Washington State University in Spokane. Visit their website for more information on these open houses.

In 2015, Washington State legislators asked the William D. Ruckelshaus Center (Center), to design a process for a comprehensive and collaborative look at the Growth Management Act (GMA). To gauge support for this effort and identify an appropriate scope, the Center conducted a Pre-Assessment from October 2016 through June 2017. The Pre-Assessment consisted of a series of conversations with individuals from dozens of groups, organizations, tribal, state, and local governments. Based on input from the parties, the Center recommended a process to: (1) articulate a vision of a desired future for Washington, and (2) examine the planning framework that provides the path to reach that desired future. The growth planning framework in Washington includes the Growth Management Act, the Shoreline Management Act, the State Environmental Policy Act and other laws, institutions and policies. The Legislature responded to the pre-assessment by allocating funds to the Center for a two year project to create a “Road Map to Washington’s Future.” The budget proviso outlined a scope, schedule, and general process for the project. The purpose of the project is to articulate a vision of Washington’s desired future and identify additions, revisions, or clarifications to the state’s growth management framework of laws, institutions, and policies needed to reach that future.  An overview of this program (as a MS .doc file) with resource links may be accessed here: Ruckelshaus Center Workshops-Road Map to Washington’s Future .  The program website may be directly accessed via this link: A Road Map to Washington’s Future – Ruckelshaus Center .

King County continues its responsibility to update the King County Comprehensive Plan (KCCP) — the planning document required under the State’s Growth Management Act that guides residential, commercial, and industrial development and growth and zoning in our rural area.  Rather than updating its Comprehensive Plan every four years, King County is currently proposing a change to an eight year cycle as directed under RCW 36.70A.130(5)(a) which means that the next major update is scheduled for 2023.  View the progress of this change to King County Code (KCC) 20.18.060 by visiting the following KC legislative website and typing 2018-0153 in the Search box: KC Search Legislation .  KC Council Committee proposed changes to the Executive-proposed Ordinance are under consideration and will be introduced and acted on by the full King County Council in September and October.  The proposed Ordinance File No. 2018-0153 and a comparison of the Executive’s proposal to the Committee’s striker and the joint UACs’ commentary (submitted with a cover letter to the County on August 30, 2018) may be viewed here: UACs’ Cover Letter   Proposed Ordinance 2018-0153 Matrix w/ Striker and UACs’ Comparison .  In the interim, annual Docket Requests may be submitted by individuals and entities for the County’s consideration to make necessary technical corrections to the Plan.  For more information on the Docket process and to view specific requests for annual amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, please visit the following website: KC Docket Information .  In addition, in 2019 the County will be undertaking a major update to the Greater Maple Valley-Cedar River Community Service Area (CSA) Subarea Plan (supersedes the former Tahoma Ravens Heights Area Plan).  Please see our Growth Management Committee and Correspondence – Letters webpages to learn more about the GMVUAC’s involvement with these various processes, projects, and programs — along with all links to our comments.  King County explains these processes and efforts as follows:

The Comprehensive Plan Process

The King County Comprehensive Plan (KCCP) is the long-range guiding policy document for all land use and development regulations in unincorporated King County, and for regional services throughout the County including transit, sewers, parks, trails and open space.  King County uses the long-range comprehensive planning process to guide growth and protect natural resources, and the results can be seen in viable resources lands, annexation of many urban areas into cities, and sustainable rates of growth in rural areas.  The Comprehensive Plan Amendment Process allows individuals, groups and County departments to propose changes to the KCCP.  It provides a way to address changing conditions and new considerations in how growth occurs throughout King County.  As part of the major update cycle (proposed to be every eight years), the public is engaged through outreach, stakeholder meetings, development and adoption of a Scope of Work, development and release of a Public Review Draft and Executive Recommended Plan and community meetings.  Following transmittal to the County Council, the public is also engaged in Council committee meetings and open houses.

The Docket Process

The King County docket was established in 1998 in accordance with Section 20.18.140 of the King County Code to provide an opportunity for citizens of the County to register comments on the King County Comprehensive Plan and associated development regulations. KC Docket Process, Forms, and Archive . The County responds to each item registered on the docket, providing a feedback loop, as required by RCW 36.70A.470.  The docket is one means for amending the Comprehensive Plan.  The docket is the means for the public to suggest a change to, or identify a deficiency in, the Comprehensive Plan or development regulations.  Deficiency refers to the absence of required or potentially desirable contents of a comprehensive plan or development regulation.  King County Code section 20.18.140 defines the receipt, review of and response to docket requests.  The docket is open continuously, and each June 30, the items registered in the previous twelve months are compiled into the Docket Report for release on the first business day in December of the same year to the King County Council.  There is no fee for submitting a docket form.  Anyone can submit a docket, however, the property owner (or their agent) needs to submit if a land use change is requested.  Property owners submitting a rezone request that does not require a land use change will be directed to the Zone Reclassification process.  There are a number of steps in the review process: the County compiles and posts the list of requested changes; requests are reviewed and analyzed by County staff — as appropriate, County staff communicate, or meet, with the submitter; after the staff review is complete, a letter is sent to each submitter; on the first business day of December, the County Executive transmits a Docket Report to the County Council.  Items recommended for approval move forward as part of the Comprehensive Plan update process.  For items not recommended, proponents may petition the Council during the Comprehensive Plan update process.  Everyone submitting a docket request is added to the mailing list, or email list, for the Comprehensive Plan.  This allows submitters to stay informed of milestones in the review process.  Once the Docket Report is transmitted to the County Council, submitters are also added to the mailing list for Council agendas and are notified of opportunities for public testimony.

The CSA Subarea Planning Process

A Community Service Area (CSA) Subarea Plan is a 20-year, multi-discipline, integrated policy document that applies the countywide goals of the King County Comprehensive Plan to a smaller geographic area. Each one of King County’s seven CSAs has or is scheduled to have its own CSA Subarea Plan. While there are differences among the CSAs in terms of their boundaries, range of land uses, annexation issues, and more, using this accepted geography will ensure the entire county receives some level of planning on a regular cycle.  This planning will include a regular assessment of the CSA’s goals, population changes, new development, employment targets and similar demographic and socioeconomic indicators.  These assessments will be adopted as CSA Subarea Plans.  These plans are meant to implement the King County Comprehensive Plan and be consistent with the County’s Comprehensive Plan’s policies, development regulations, and Land Use Map.  To address the unique issues in each geography, CSA Subarea Plans may also have more refined, cross-discipline, and localized focuses on rural town centers, urban neighborhoods, or corridor approaches.  Each CSA Subarea Plan will be highly localized with a strong commitment by King County to not use an “off-the-shelf” approach in their creation. That being said, some core topics will appear in every plan: Demographics; Vision for CSA; GMA-mandated elements; Fiscal/CIP linkage to KC department budgets; Public participation process; Equity Impacts; Health Profile; Implementation strategy.  For more information on this and other CSA Subarea Plans, please visit the following KC website: KC CSA Subarea Plans .