Saturday, November 28, 2009

Managing Growth

Main St., Kennewick, Washington, 1905

In 1990, the Washington State Legislature passed the Growth Management Act (GMA) and subsequently created three independent Growth Management Hearings Boards to resolve land use disputes and to reflect regional diversity.

With the passage of the Growth Management Act (GMA), RCW 36.70A, the Washington State Legislature sought to create a method for comprehensive land use planning involving citizens, communities, counties, cities, and the private sector that would prevent uncoordinated and unplanned growth.

The Legislature found this type of uncontrolled growth poses a threat to the environment, sustainable economic development, and the health, safety, and high quality of life enjoyed by residents of Washington State. To address this threat, the GMA requires counties of a certain size and growth rate, and the cities within them, to adopt comprehensive plans and development regulations which are guided by 14 goals:
• Focus urban growth in urban areas
• Reduce sprawl
• Provide efficient transportation
• Encourage affordable housing
• Encourage sustainable economic development
• Protect property rights
• Process permits in a timely and fair manner
• Maintain and enhance natural resource-based industries
• Retain open space and habitat areas and develop recreation opportunities
• Protect the environment
• Encourage citizen participation and regional coordination
• Ensure adequate public facilities and services
• Preserve important historic resources
• Goals and Policies of the Shoreline Management Act

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