- Planner’s Update
A monthly Growth Management Services newsletter to share helpful information related to planning in Washington State.
Planning Grants Status Update
With the passage of the biennial budget, we are still working on a plan for the distribution of very limited grant dollars during this biennium cycle. Commerce did not receive adequate funding to fund all the small jurisdictions at the same levels as were used during the 13-15 biennium, therefore we are currently reviewing the best way to use these limited funds to help local jurisdictions undertake their required periodic updates. Efforts are being undertaken to ensure input is sought from both AWC and WSAC before a final plan is implemented. It is our desire to complete this plan and ensure what grants we can issue, can be disbursed before the end of this calendar year.
Understanding your Deadline Extension Options
Cities and Counties throughout Washington are either just completing or just starting their periodic update. The legislature established timelines, but also provided two deadline extension options that may apply to your jurisdiction. Small and slow-growing cities and counties have an extra two years to complete their update. All cities and counties that have adopted their comprehensive plans and development regulations except Critical Areas have one year beyond their deadline to finish the update of the Critical Areas Ordinance. Commerce recently updated its FAQ on these deadline extensions to help cities and counties find out if they are eligible and explain how the extensions work. Click here for more information.
Final Adoption of VSP and Voluntary Reversion Rules
Commerce Adopts Final Rules: Voluntary Stewardship Program and Voluntary Reversion. Commerce had adopted amendments to Washington Administrative Code (WAC) rules guiding implementation of the Growth Management Act. We have adopted new chapters to implement Commerce’s role in the Voluntary Stewardship Program (WAC 365-191) and Voluntary Reversion (WAC 365-199) for counties seeking reversion to partially planning status.
The adopted rules can be found on Commerce’s Growth Management rule update webpage. Interested parties for this and future updates can subscribe to the WAC Update ListServ for information on the status of rule development and opportunities for public comment.
Please email comments or questions to WACUPDATE@commerce.wa.gov or contact Scott Kuhta, Scott.Kuhta@commerce.wa.gov, (509) 795-6884 for the Voluntary Stewardship rule and Dave Andersen, Dave.Andersen@commerce.wa.gov, (509)434-4491 for the Voluntary Reversion rule. Click here for more information.
Voluntary Stewardship Program
Growth Management Services has prepared a new WAC Chapter 365-191 that implements Commerce’s role in the Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP). Although the VSP program has been funded by the Legislature, the VSP statute (RCW 36.70A.735) includes options for counties to follow if the VSP program is not adequately funded or if it fails for some reason in the future. Two of the options allow counties to seek Commerce’s approval of either watershed work programs or development regulations.
The WAC rule defines the process and criteria Commerce will use to determine if it can approve the counties submittal. A public hearing on the draft rule was conducted on July 8, 2015, with adoption anticipated in late August.
The draft WAC rule can be found on Growth Management Services Rules and Laws webpage. Please submit comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Scott Kuhta at email@example.com, 509. 795.6884. Click here for more information.
Solar Electricity and Homeowners Associations
Homeowners Associations (HOAs) usually adopt Codes, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) to govern the appearance and use properties within the association for the purpose of establishing and maintaining the character of the development. Most CC&Rs are either silent on the issue of solar photovoltaic systems or contain outdated language. In 2009 the Washington State Legislature enacted a law (RCW 64.38.055) prohibiting HOAs from precluding solar installations. The legislature created a framework to allow homeowners associations to maintain the character of the association, while enabling solar installations.
For more information about Energy Aware Communities, and to find model language your jurisdiction can share with HOAs, please visit our webpage.
Department of Ecology Rulemaking on the Shoreline Management Act
The Washington State Department of Ecology is beginning rulemaking to amend several of the rules related to implementation of the Shoreline Management Act (SMA), chapter 90.58 RCW, which established a cooperative program of shoreline management between local governments and the state. The SMA requires Ecology to periodically review and update Chapter 173-26 WAC. The last rule update was in 2011 and focused mostly on geoduck aquaculture. Other chapters are being included in this update to improve clarity and consistency across the rules.
*Clarify the process to comply with the periodic review requirement per RCW 90.58.080 as the first round of Shoreline Master Program (SMP) reviews will be due to Ecology June 2019;
*Simplify the process for approving minor updates to SMPs;
*Update the list of shorelines of the state to be consistent with the SMP updates;
*Ensure consistency with amendments to statute since the last rule revision;
*Capture any administrative updates since the last rule revision;
*Consider clarifying the planning process for water-dependent uses including salmon net pens; and,
*Consider including a new section on planning for coastal hazards.
Ecology’s process for developing these rule amendments will include gathering input from a local government sounding board, consulting with tribes, outreach to affected stakeholders and the public, and following formal steps for rule adoption. Ecology anticipates adopting rule amendments in summer 2017.
If you are interested in receiving future messages about this subject, you can join their listserv ECOLOGY-SHORELINE-RULE by going to http://listserv.wa.gov/cgi-bin/wa?A0=ECOLOGY-SHORELINE-RULE and subscribe.
For more information please contact:
Department of Ecology
Shorelands & Environmental Assistance Program
Click here for more information.
2015 Community Development Block Grant Planning Only Grants
The application materials for the 2015 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Planning Only Grants are available on the Department of Commerce’s website www.commerce.wa.gov/cdbg.
Applications will be accepted October 1, 2015 through April 30, 2016. The application period may close early if all available funds have been obligated before April 30th. A total of $240,000 will be available for Planning-Only Grants for 2015 pending federal funding awarded to Commerce. Planning-Only Grants are limited to $24,000 and a jurisdiction can only be awarded ONE Planning-Only Grant per funding cycle.
Eligible applicants are Washington State cities and towns with population less than 50,000 or counties with population less than 200,000 that are non-entitlement jurisdictions or are not participants in a HUD Urban County Entitlement Consortium. Projects must principally benefit low-and moderate-income persons.
The Washington State CDBG program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Non-profit organizations, Indian tribes, and special purpose organizations such as public housing authorities, port districts, community action agencies, and economic development councils, are not eligible to apply directly to the CDBG Program for funding, but may be partners in projects and sub-recipients of funding through eligible jurisdictions.
If you have questions about the CDBG Planning-Only Grants, please contact:
Phyllis Cole, CDBG Project Manager at Phyllis.firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here for more information.
FALL 2015 Shoreline and Coastal Planners Meeting
Join the Shoreline and Coastal Planners Group for a one-day site visit and presentations on Preservation and Protection of Working Waterfronts: Case Study Gig Harbor.
Date: October 29, 2015
Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Location: Eddon Boatyard, 3805 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor, WA (Note: Includes Toll Bridge when coming from Tacoma.)
There will be a one-hour break for lunch (on your own) followed by a walking tour of Gig Harbor’s waterfront. There is no admission for this one-day event. However, please register on Brown Paper for tickets
Guest speakers will discuss the following information:
*Overview and History of Gig Harbor’s Working Waterfront
*Planning and Regulatory Issues
*Activities at the State Level on Working Waterfronts
*National Working Waterfront Network
Click here to register.
Department of Commerce/Growth Management
Commerce Regional Planner’s Forums
Commerce Short Course on Local Planning Schedule
American Planning Association Washington Chapter
PAW – Planning Association of Washington
AWC Videos: GMA Comp Plan Conversation Starters
Municipal Research Service Center (MRSC)
Smart Growth Online