Updating Washington’s Growth Policy Framework

Read the final report

Project Description

The project Updating Washington’s Growth Policy Framework continued a collaborative conversation begun in 2017 about needed reform to the state’s growth policy framework. This earlier project, called The Roadmap to Washington’s Future, was funded by and prepared for the Washington State Legislature. The project’s final report, issued in June 2019, contained findings derived from input gathered from many individuals and groups through interviews, correspondence, and workshops at 26 locations across the state.

The 2019 report articulated a desired future for the state and a series of potential transformational reforms to state laws needed to move in the direction of the desired future. Many aspects of the desired future were detailed in the final report; however, recent, dramatic national events make it especially important to focus on two of them — equity and inclusion and adaptability and resilience.

Updating Washington’s Growth Policy Framework engaged more than a dozen groups, state agencies, and tribal governments in a structured collaboration to seek agreement on legislative solutions to the following six issue areas:

  • Adaptive and inclusive planning at a regional scale
  • The cycle and dedicated funding for updates to comprehensive plans and development codes
  • Housing elements, affordable housing, and infrastructure
  • Development regulations and permit processes
  • Climate change
  • Municipal annexation

Between June and December of 2020, the University of Washington’s project team conducted a series of individual telephone calls and/or zoom conferences with participating groups as well as multi-stakeholder convenings via the university’s zoom platform. The objective of these iterative and interactive discussions was to identify and refine areas of agreement.

Parties were asked to begin this collaboration by sharing perspectives, interests, concerns, and ideas, rather than default to pre-established positions or adopted platforms. Discussions referred at times to the findings, principles, or other material in the Roadmap final report, but generally focused on transformational/systemic changes and key reforms, specifically the six issue areas.

The parties recognized that they may not come to a consensus on all six issue areas but they would attempt to connect and synthesize rather than silo the topics for narrow consideration.

The project’s design, the complete list of participants, as well as information from the meetings, including calendar and meeting materials, are accessible to the public.

This project continued legislatively-desired collaboration among interested parties to develop broadly supported legislation to update the state’s growth policy framework. The project was made possible by funding from the Washington State Department of Commerce, the American Planning Association Washington Chapter, and Amazon.