The County Wide Planning Policies (CWPPs) arise out of the state Growth Management Act (GMA). All counties planning under the Act are required to have them. Under the Act, CWPPs establish a countywide framework for developing and adopting county and city comprehensive plans.The role of the CWPPs is to coordinate comprehensive plans of jurisdictions in the same county for regional issues or issues affecting common borders. The CWPPs are those things held in common across all the jurisdictional comprehensive plans and which form the foundation of those plans.
Process for Amending CWPPs in Thurston County
The Thurston County CWPPs were originally adopted in the early 1990s. They were developed by the Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) Urban Growth Management (UGM) Subcommittee. Under GMA, the authority for making changes to the CWPPs lies with the County. However, the County is required to consult with the cities and towns within the County, regarding changes to the CWPPs. The vehicle for this consultation process continues to be the UGM Subcommittee. The UGM Subcommittee is comprised of policymakers from all the jurisdictions in Thurston County that plan under the State Growth Management Act, that is, the county and cities and towns within the county.
Connection Between the Sustainability Plan and CWPPs
In December 2013 TRPC adopted Creating Places-Preserving Spaces: A Sustainable Development Plan for the Thurston Region, more briefly known as the Sustainability Plan. The TRPC adoption resolution pledged to integrate sustainability into decision making processes to enhance quality of life, foster economic vitality and protect the environment. One of the key steps in integrating sustainability into local decision making is to include the Sustainability Plan’s Foundational Principles and Policies in the CWPPs.
UGM Subcommittee Recommends Updates to CWPPs
Consistent with this, the TRPC UGM Subcommittee met throughout 2014 and into early 2015 to work on incorporating the Sustainability Plan policies into the CWPPs. The recommendation of the UGM Subcommittee was forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners in March 2015. That recommendation incorporated the Sustainability Plan Foundational Principles and Policies into the CWPPs and also included proposed amendments to strengthen language to limit suburban development in rural lands, enforce development standard agreements among jurisdictions, develop a streamlined process for annexations, eliminate out-of-date references, clarify language, and improve formatting.
Board of County Commissions Adopts Amendments to CWPPs
The Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) held a public hearing on the proposed amendments in October, 2015. In November, 2015 the Board of County Commissioners adopted the amendments to the Thurston County Wide Planning Policies which had been recommended by the UGM Subcommittee.
Adopted amendments to the County Wide Planning Policies and the adopting resolution: