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Growth Management Act

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Washington State Growth Management Act 

By the late 1980s, Washington's quality of life was threatened by sprawl, traffic congestion, and loss of agricultural and timber lands. Passage of the Growth Management Act (GMA) in 1990 by the State Legislature was in response to these growing concerns. GMA requires all cities and counties to plan for expansion. The fastest growing counties, and cities within them, are required to adopt comprehensive plans and development regulations (e.g. zoning codes) to implement plans. 

The Growth Management Act sets forth 14 goals that comprehensive plans are required to address. The goals address the following topics:

  • Urban Growth
  • Reduce Sprawl
  • Transportation
  • Housing
  • Economic Development
  • Property Rights
  • Permits
  • Natural Resource Lands
  • Open Space/Recreation
  • Environment
  • Citizen Participation
  • Public Facilities/Services
  • Historic Preservation
  • Shorelines