Amending Urban Growth Area Boundaries
What are the Urban Growth Area Boundaries?
The urban growth area is the city/town and adjacent unincorporated growth area identified by the cities/towns/county to receive urban growth in the future. Outside of the boundary only rural growth is permissible.
What is the process for changing the boundaries?
In Thurston County, the process for changing the urban growth boundaries is found in the county-wide planning policies. These policies are an agreement between the cities, towns, and county on how they will work together on planning issues.
The process is as follows:
- Cities and towns will confer with the county about boundary location or amendment,
- Proposed boundaries are presented to the UGM subcommittee of Thurston Regional Planning Council, which makes a recommendation directly to the Board of County Commissioners,
- Following a public hearing, the Board of County Commissioners designates the boundaries and justifies its decision in writing,
- Cities and towns not in agreement with the boundary designation may request mediation through the State Department of Community Development, and
- At least every 10 years, growth boundaries will be reviewed based on updated 20 year population projections.
What are the policies Thurston Regional Planning Council uses to develop their recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners?
Criteria for Amending the Urban Growth Boundary
Thurston Regional Planning Council
Criteria Established in 1994 - Amended on January 11, 2008
NOTE: All four criteria in “A” and one of the criteria in “B” must be met to expand the Urban Growth Boundary.
(A) Expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary must demonstrate consistency with the following criteria:
(a) For South County jurisdictions, the expansion area can and will be served by municipal water and transportation in the succeeding 20 years. South County jurisdictions must demonstrate that the expansion can be served by sewage disposal measures that provide for the effective treatment of waste water in the succeeding 20 years; or
(b) For North County jurisdictions, the expansion area can and will be served by municipal sewer, water and transportation in the succeeding 20 years; and
(2) Urbanization of the expansion area is compatible with the use of designated resource lands and with critical areas; and
(3) The expansion area is contiguous to an existing urban growth boundary; and
(4) The expansion is consistent with the County-Wide Planning Policies.
(B) Expansion of the Urban Growth Boundary must demonstrate consistency with one of the two following criteria:
(1) There is insufficient land within the Urban Growth Boundary to permit the urban growth that is forecast to occur in the succeeding 20 years; or
(2) An overriding public interest demonstrating a public benefit beyond the area proposed for inclusion would be served by moving the Urban Growth Boundary related to protecting public health, safety and welfare; enabling more cost-effective, efficient provision of sewer or water; and enabling the locally adopted Comprehensive Plans to more effectively meet the goals of the State Growth Management Act.
(C) Reduction of the Urban Growth Boundary must demonstrate consistency with the following criteria:
(1) Sufficient land will remain within the reduced Urban Growth Boundary to permit the urban growth that is forecast to occur in the succeeding 20 years; and
(2) The reduced Urban Growth Boundary will include cost-effective sewer and water and transportation service areas; and
(3) Reduction of the Urban Growth Boundary is compatible with the use of the designated resource lands and with critical areas.
County-Wide Planning Policies - July 2002 [pdf 45 KB]