The Washington State legislature amended the Growth Management Act (GMA) in 1997 to include a “review and evaluation program,” also known as the buildable lands program (RCW 36.70A.215). At that time, the review and evaluation program applied to six counties: Clark, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston. The State legislature amended the GMA in 2017 to add Whatcom County to the list of counties required to undertake a review and evaluation program (ESSSB 5254).
The review and evaluation program has two main purposes, which are summarized below:
Determine whether a county and its cities are achieving urban densities within urban growth areas by comparing growth and development assumptions contained in the county and city comprehensive plans with actual growth and development that has occurred; and
Identify reasonable measures, if necessary, to reduce the differences between growth and development assumptions contained in the county and city comprehensive plans with actual development patterns.
Components of the Review and Evaluation Program include updating county-wide planning policies, annual collection of data, developing a methodology to conduct the buildable lands analysis, and issuing a buildable lands report by June 30, 2022. The information contained in the buildable lands report will inform the next update of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, which is due by June 30, 2025.
Documents developed for the Review and Evaluation Program may be accessed by clicking the links below: