What are the legal foundations that must be reflected in the Plan?
The Comprehensive Plan must be consistent with the State Growth Management Act
. The Growth Management Act (generally RCW 36.70a) was enacted in 1990 and 1991 by the Washington State Legislature in response to challenges associated with uncoordinated and unplanned growth and a lack of common goals in the conservation and the wise use of our lands. The problems included increased traffic congestion, pollution, school overcrowding, urban sprawl, and the loss of rural lands. The Growth Management Act contains 13 goals that communities must strive to attain.
One of the main tenets of the Act is to direct growth to urban areas – primarily cities – since they are the most cost-effective and efficient providers of services, utilities and facilities. In addition, by accommodating growth in urban areas, lands in agricultural, forest and rural areas can be protected from sprawl and unplanned development.
While the Growth Management Act directs growth to urban areas, it also requires cities to plan for and fund the necessary public services and facilities to support growth by setting desired level of service standards. Services typically include public sewer, water, transportation, stormwater, police, fire, schools and parks. Cities and counties must have a plan to manage growth that extends out 20 years into the future.
The Growth Management Act also requires counties and cities to periodically conduct a thorough review of their plans and development regulations to bring them up to date with changes in Growth Management Act legislation and to plan for future changes in land use, employment and population growth throughout the next 20 years. This review is referred to as a Growth Management Act Comprehensive Plan Update, which Kirkland is now working to complete by spring of 2015 under the umbrella of the “Kirkland 2035” community outreach program.
The Comprehensive Plan must also be consistent with the regional plans established in the Puget Sound Regional Council Vision 2040 and King County Countywide Planning Policies
. While the Growth Management Act sets broad statewide planning principles, the regional plans establish planning guidance for the particular circumstances of the Puget Sound region and King County. Of particular significance are housing and jobs growth targets established by the Countywide Planning Policies for each jurisdiction in King County.
As the figure below illustrates, the Growth Management Act is the framework for planning with its broad planning goals and requirements down to the state, regional and country levels and then to development projects at the local level.