The Washington State legislature amended the Growth Management Act (GMA) in 1997 to include a “review and evaluation program,” also known as the buildable lands program (RCW 36.70A.215). At that time, the review and evaluation program applied to six counties: Clark, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston. The State legislature amended the GMA in 2017 to add Whatcom County to the list of counties required to undertake a review and evaluation program (ESSSB 5254). The State Department of Commerce issued "Buildable Lands Guidelines" in 2018.
The review and evaluation program has two main purposes, which are summarized below:
Components of the Review and Evaluation Program include updating county-wide planning policies, annual collection of data, developing a buildable lands program methodology, reviewing achieved densities, evaluating land suitable for development, and issuing a Buildable Lands Report by June 30, 2022. The information contained in the Buildable Lands Report will inform the next update of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, which is due by June 30, 2025.
The City/County Planner Group has developed, with the assistance of a consultant, a draft Whatcom County Review and Evaluation Program Methodology , which addresses a number of program elements including State requirements, data collection, evaluation of land suitable for development, and the Buildable Lands Report format.
It is anticipated that the Whatcom County Planning Director will approve the Methodology after the County and cities brief their respective legislative bodies.
Documents developed for the Review and Evaluation Program may be accessed by clicking the links below:
* Stakeholder Interview Summary (May 2019)
* Background Information and Key Issues Report (June 2019)
* Public Participation Plan (April 2020)
* Land Owners Survey (September 2020)
* Adopted Countywide Planning Policies (February 2021)
Whatcom County and the cities are working together on the Review and Evaluation Program. If you have questions about the Program, please contact the appropriate planner for your jurisdiction, as shown below:
Chris Behee, Senior GIS Analyst, email@example.com or 360-778-8346
Stacie Pratschner, Community Development Services Director, firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-332-8311
Rollin Harper, Everson City Planner, email@example.com or 360-733-6033
Michael Cerbone, Community Development Director, firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-685-2367
Heidi Gudde, Planning & Community Development Director, email@example.com or 360-354-5532
Rollin Harper, Nooksack City Planner, firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-733-6033
Rollin Harper, Sumas City Planner, email@example.com or 360-733-6033
Whatcom County (for properties outside city limits)
Matt Aamot, Senior Planner, firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-778-5939