Growth Management Act

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The Washington Legislature adopted the Growth Management Act (GMA) in 1990 in response to very high rates of population growth during the middle and late 1980s.  The rapid increase in population during that time took the form of uncoordinated and unplanned growth which led to increased traffic congestion and other quality of life issues.  This rapid and uncoordinated growth was perceived as a threat to the environment, sustainable economic development, and the quality of life in Washington. 

The GMA requires counties and local governments to manage Washington's growth by preparing comprehensive plans that identify and protect critical areas and natural resource lands, and designate urban growth areas that are able to accommodate a 20-year population growth projection. 

One of the central goals of the GMA is public participation: local plans should reflect local aspirations and priorities, as expressed by the residents and business community of a given city, while fitting within the broader regional vision.  That broader regional vision is also built upon public participation.  For our region the Puget Sound Regional Council (representing the four central Puget Sound counties of Snohomish, King, Pierce, and Kitsap) has adopted Vision 2040, which sets out a strategy to manage the region's forecast of population and employment growth through the year 2040.

Within the regional growth management framework expressed in Vision 2040, King County, in collaboration with its cities, developed what are known as Countywide Planning Policies (CPP) to plan for future growth with a countywide perspective.  The King County CPP were adopted and ratified by the cities in 1994, and have been amended periodically since then.  They provide a countywide vision and serve as a framework for each jurisdiction to develop its own comprehensive plan, which must be consistent with the overall vision for the future of King County, as expressed in the CPP.