In 1990 the State Growth Management Act (GMA) was passed requiring local cities, towns, and the county to develop detailed plans on how they planned to accommodate growth. These are called Comprehensive Plans. At the same time the 7 cities and towns and Thurston County developed county-wide planning policies that laid out how Thurston County was to grow as a region. Under these policies, Thurston Regional Planning Council was formally asked to review land supply and planned densities to ensure that the urban areas were large enough to accommodate 20 years of projected growth.
The legislature added a monitoring and evaluation provision to the GMA in 1997. This provision is often referred to as the Buildable Lands Program. It affects 6 western Washington counties (Clark, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston) and the cities and towns within them. Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) was asked to develop the Buildable Lands Report for Thurston County based on its long history of monitoring land supply. Reports were issued in 2002, 2007 and 2014.
The Buildable Lands Program in Thurston County answers 2 key growth-related questions:
Is residential development in the urban growth areas is occurring at the densities envisioned in local comprehensive plans?
Is there is an adequate land supply in the urban growth areas for anticipated future growth in population and employment.
The answers to these questions will help communities in our county determine if they are developing.
2014 Update Summary
An updated Buildable Lands Report for Thurston County was adopted by TRPC on March 7, 2014 ahead of the June 30, 2015 deadline. Due to the lack of state funding, the Thurston Regional Planning Council decided to fund an abbreviated report to ensure that jurisdictions will continue to be in compliance with the Growth Management Act.
The report represents baseline conditions, or an analysis based on policies and regulations that are adopted by local jurisdictions. It does not take into account the strategies and targets developed during the Sustainable Thurston project, as they have not yet been implemented by local jurisdictions.