When planning for economic development, the goal is to create and maintain a strong, vibrant local economy. Local government economic development planning is part of a region's overall economic development strategy and involves intergovernmental coordination. The economic development plan provides a comprehensive overview of the economy, sets policy direction for economic growth, and identifies strategies, programs, and projects to improve the economy. This page includes general background information on economic development planning and sample economic development plans.
General Information on Economic Development Planning
The following publications and guides provide useful background on the economic development planning process.
- Economic Development: Tools of the Trade, American Planning Association - Strategies and methods for economic development planning; summarizes information from APA’s “An Economic Development Toolbox,” 2008
- An Economic Development Toolbox: Strategies and Methods, Terry Moore, Stuart Merck, and James Ebenhoh, Planning Advisory Service Report No. 541, American Planning Association, 2006 (Available through MRSC Library Loan) - Practical guide for local governments planning for economic development
- A Guide to Preparing the Economic Development Element of a Comprehensive Plan, Wisconsin Economic Development Institute, Inc., 08/2003 - Wisconsin has a “Smart Growth Law,” similar to Washington's Growth Management Act; this is one of few general guides on this topic; older but still useful
- Economic Development: Strategies for State and Local Practice, by Steven G. Koven and Thomas S. Lyons, ICMA, 2003 (Available through MRSC Library Loan) - Useful general guide to economic development concepts and tools
- Learning to Lead: A Primer on Economic Development Strategies, Washington State Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (now Department of Commerce), 1999 - General overview of the major issues related to economic development; older but still useful
Economic Development Plans and Elements
The Washington Growth Management Act (GMA) emphasizes county-wide coordination of economic development planning, and economic development is one of the elements of a growth management comprehensive plan (see RCW 36.70A.070 (7)). The requirement for an economic development element was conditioned on the availability of state funds, which have not been provided to date. Many jurisdictions have, however, prepared an economic element of their comprehensive plan. Local governments have prepared other types of economic development plans, including strategic action plans and plans targeted at downtown areas. The following are selected examples of these plans.
GMA Economic Development Plans
Strategic Action and Other Economic Development Plans
- Benton County Overall Economic Development Plan, 06/2007
- Enumclaw Strategic Plan for Economic Development, 03/2014
- Hoquiam - Hometown Hoquiam Phase 2, Economic Development Strategic Action Plan: 2008-2012, A Focused Plan to Strengthen and Build on Hoquiam’s Core: Housing, Industry, and Business Districts, final review draft, prepared by Berk & Associates, 04/04/2008
- Kitsap 20/20: A County-Wide Vision and Action Plan for Sustainable Economic Prosperity, Kitsap Economic Development Council and Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council - Economic development plan for the communities of Kitsap County developed by public-private partnership, 01/2007
- University Place Economic Development Strategic Action Plan, 2012-2016, 11/19/2012
- West Richland Economic Development Plan, prepared by Barney & Worth, Inc. in association with E.D. Hovee & Company, 06/2008
- Woodinville Strategic Economic Development Action Plan, Volume 1: Strengthening Our Unique Community and Economy, prepared by Berk & Associates, adopted 01/2008
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy
A comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) is a strategic planning document and planning process that helps guide the economic growth and development of communities and regions. The CEDS is required by the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) in areas designated as economic development districts and for certain EDA grant funds, including grants for public works and economic development. The preparation of an economic development plan can also improve access to other federal, state, and private aid programs.
- Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies (CEDS) Summary of Requirements - Economic Development Administration
- Regional Economic Development Strategy for the Central Puget Sound Region , Prosperity Partnership, Puget Sound Regional Council, 07/2012 - Update of regional economic strategy for Central Puget Sound region
- Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the Columbia-Pacific Region, prepared by Columbia-Pacific Resource Conservation and Economic Development District et al., 06/2009 - Addresses economic priorities in Grays Harbor, Mason, Pacific, and Wahkiakum counties
- Skagit County Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, prepared by E.D. Hovee & Company, 07/2003 - Developed to meet federal EDA requirements and serve as the economic development element of the Skagit County Comprehensive Plan