Twenty-year Comprehensive Plan Update

Kittitas County is updating its Comprehensive plan as required by the Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA). Kittitas County’s comprehensive plan will establish policies for community growth and development for the next 20 years. Kittitas County’s update process is required to be completed by June 30, 2017, see RCW 36.70A.130(5)(c).


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of this project?

Kittitas County is updating its Comprehensive Plan as required by the Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA). Kittitas County’s Comprehensive Plan will establish policies for community growth and development for the next 20 years. Kittitas County’s update process is required to be completed by June 30, 2017.

What is the Growth Management Act?

The GMA was adopted into law by the Washington State Legislature in 1990. It provides a comprehensive framework to local jurisdictions for managing growth, including guidance for designating, sizing, and providing services to urban and rural areas.

What is a comprehensive Plan?

A comprehensive plan guides the location, density, and intensity of future development, conserves natural resources, and ensures adequate public infrastructure to serve future residents.

What is an Urban Growth Area?

RCW 36.70A.110 defines Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) as areas within which urban growth shall be encouraged and outside of which growth can occur only if it is not urban in nature. For counties planning under the Growth Management Act, each city in such a county shall be included within an urban growth area.

The county and each city within the county shall include areas and densities sufficient to permit the urban growth that is projected to occur in the county or city for the succeeding twenty-year period. Urban growth should be located first in areas already characterized by urban growth that have adequate existing public facility and service capacities to serve such development, second in areas already characterized by urban growth that will be served adequately by a combination of both existing public facilities and services and any additional needed public facilities and services that are provided by either public or private sources, and third in the remaining portions of the urban growth areas.

An urban growth area may include territory that is located outside of a city only if such territory already is characterized by urban growth whether or not the urban growth area includes a city, or is adjacent to territory already characterized by urban growth, or is a designated new fully contained community as defined by RCW 36.70A.350.

What land use designations are allowed?

According the Growth Management Act, all lands within a city or county have to be designated as Urban, Rural, or Resource lands.

What are urban lands?

Urban lands are those with growth and development patterns that are intensive enough to be incompatible with rural and resource uses. Urban lands encompass all cities, including rural cities and their designated expansion areas. Areas designated as UGAs must meet the following criteria:

  • Have sufficient urban land to accommodate future population/employment projections through the designated planning period
  • Be already characterized by urban growth or adjacent to such lands
  • Include existing urban land uses and densities
  • Provide a balance of industrial, commercial, and residential land uses
  • Have the anticipated financial capability to provide infrastructure and services needed over the planning period

What are resource lands?

Resource lands have long term commercial significance, including agricultural, forest, and mineral resource lands.

What are rural lands?

Rural lands are lands where open space and the natural environment predominate over the built environment. Rural lands do not include incorporated rural towns or cities, but can include existing rural communities.

What is a LAMIRD?

LAMIRD stands for Limited Areas of More Intense Rural Development and is a subset under the Rural land use designation. This is a designation allowed under the Growth Management Act that historically (pre-1990) were developed as small towns or crossroads activity centers.

Who will make decisions about changes to the County’s Comprehensive Plan?

Ultimately, decisions about changes to the County’s Comprehensive Plan are made by the Kittitas County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC). The Kittitas County Planning Commission also plays a role in planning matters by making recommendations about the Comprehensive Plan to the BOCC.

What is the public’s role in the process?

The County is actively seeking comments from interested members of the public as it considers the issues related to the Comprehensive Plan update. Through a proactive Public Participation Plan, there are multiple opportunities to participate, including visioning meetings, email comments, web site, and direct contact with the Project Manager, Angela San Filippo.