Sustainable Thurston

Posted on: October 7, 2015

Sustainable Thurston Earns More Kudos for 'Smart' Growth Achievement

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Department of Commerce will honor the Thurston Regional Planning Council’s Sustainable Thurston project with a “Lifetime of GMA Achievement Award” during a November 13, 2015, reception commemorating the 25th anniversary of the state’s landmark Growth Management Act, which requires municipalities to identify and protect critical areas and natural resource lands, designate urban growth areas, and prepare and implement comprehensive plans.

Creating Places—Preserving Spaces, the Sustainable Thurston project’s flagship plan, integrates sustainability principles into all regional decision-making to achieve a healthy environment, robust economy, and thriving society. The Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) — Thurston County’s metropolitan planning organization — developed the comprehensive, long-range plan over three years and adopted it in December 2013.

The project convened an unprecedented partnership of policymakers, citizens, and business and nonprofit leaders, who engaged in a frank conversation and deep analysis of a wide range of topics, including: transportation, housing, land use, economic development, food systems, water, energy, solid waste, air quality, social equity, and climate change.

TRPC planners developed data-based scenarios that showed what our fast-growing region would lose during the ensuing quarter-century under business-as-usual patterns — chiefly, sending 13 percent of residential growth to rural areas, resulting in longer commutes, greater carbon emissions and fewer forests, farms and prairies. To curb sprawl, reinvigorate our communities, and protect our natural capital, project participants articulated a bold sustainability vision for 2035, prioritized actions, and assigned roles and responsibilities. To learn more about plan implementation work underway, read TRPC’s The Main Street Journal.

The Commerce Department selected Sustainable Thurston as one of just eight projects across the state that represent the greatest planning work over the past 25 years of the Growth Management Act. The November 13th awards reception, which follows a day-long conference for planners and policymakers, is at 4:30 p.m. at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass — 1801 Dock St., Tacoma, WA.

“This award is another confirmation of the great and innovative work the region’s policymakers undertook,” said TRPC Executive Director Lon Wyrick. “The thousands of hours of staff work and citizen involvement paid off in the development of a detailed vision of how we all want our region to grow.”

The Sustainable Thurston project has garnered recognition from several other organizations, including: Futurewise (2015 Local Government Excellence Award); Planning Association of Washington/American Planning Association—Washington Chapter (2014 Planning Award, Sustainability Category; State of Washington (2014 Governor’s Smart Vision Award); Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (2013 Honorable Mention, Outstanding Achievement).

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