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Growth Management and Planning Interlocal Agreements


In Washington State, the Interlocal Cooperation Act (Ch. 39.34 RCW) authorizes public agencies to contract with other public agencies via interlocal agreements that enable cooperation among governments to perform governmental activities and deliver public services.

Planning and growth management agreements between counties and cities take a variety of forms, including agreements to do joint comprehensive plans, agreements to provide or consolidate planning services, those that address annexation and/or development standards in urban growth areas, interlocal agreements regarding annexation that address the transition of service provision from counties to cities and may provide for some revenue sharing, and other agreements for cooperation on planning and growth management issues. For more information on intergovernmental cooperation in Washington and for examples of other types of interlocal agreements, see the MRSC page on Intergovernmental Cooperation.

Joint Planning and Urban Growth Area Agreements

The following are examples of agreements for cooperative planning within urban growth areas, or other cooperative planning efforts between jurisdictions.

Washington Urban Growth Area Cooperative Planning Agreements

  • Maple Valley Interlocal Agreement Between King County and the City of Maple Valley Adopting the Joint Plan for Summit Place, 10/2010 - Agreement establishes binding planning policies to direct future land use and zoning of a property that will be annexed by the city. The city is adopting pre-annexation zoning consistent with the agreement.
  • Spokane County Interlocal Agreement Regarding Joint Planning Between Spokane County and the City of Spokane, 02/2008, and Interim Interlocal Agreement Regarding Joint Planning Between Spokane County and the City of Spokane, 05/04/2009 - Addresses how zoning, subdivision, and other land use approvals for joint planning will be coordinated to ensure that consistent development standards are used and concurrency requirements are met. Also addresses coordination of review of development proposals.
  • Vancouver
  • Whatcom County Interlocal Agreement Between the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County Concerning Planning Annexation and Development within the Bellingham UGA, 04/30/2012 - Establishes a particularly clear understanding about city/county coordination of land use densities and designations, cooperative development review, transition of services and capital projects, tax revenue sharing to compensate county for lost tax revenue, and capital facility expenditures

Other Interesting Washington Cooperative Planning Agreements

  • Bellevue Resolution No. 7665, 12/06/2007 - Includes the Framework for Redmond-Bellevue Successor Agreement to the existing BROTS Interlocal Agreement for the coordination of land use and transportation planning, and traffic mitigation between the two cities
  • Mason County Interlocal Agreement Between Mason County and the City of Shelton Regarding Shoreline Management Program Update, 01/03/2011 - Joint cooperative shoreline planning using city and county staff and consultant help
  • Seattle Draft Interlocal Agreement For Regional Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program and Infrastructure Funding the City of Seattle and King County, 2012 - Agreement to cooperate in establishing TDR program to transfer development rights from county resource lands and other sending areas, to target development areas in Seattle. Establishes complex property tax allocation formula recognizing both the lost county tax revenues and the revenue the city forgoes with TDR as a substitute for other density incentives it has available
  • Spokane Intergovernmental Agreement - Growth and Transportation Efficiency Center Plan Implementation between City of Spokane and Spokane County, 03/2008

Other States

  • Colorado Department of Local Affairs IGAs - Includes sample intergovernmental agreements for urban growth boundaries, joint planning, annexation, revenue sharing, and others. See the Durango-La Plata joint planning agreement which includes different policies for three tiers of phased annexation areas
  • Newberg, OR Urban Area Growth Management Agreement with Yamhill County, 1979 as amended 12/14/2000 - Addresses cooperative planning of the city's UGA. Establishes a joint urban area management commission. Also includes provisions for urban reserve area

Planning Services and Departmental Consolidation Agreements

An increasing number of jurisdictions are using interlocal agreements when certain planning services may be more efficiently provided by contracting with other jurisdictions. This may work particularly well if one jurisdiction has work that doesn't amount to a full time position or requires special expertise that may be available from another jurisdiction. Some communities, such as Walla Walla, have established joint planning programs to reduce costs or to improve services.

Annexation Agreements

The following sections from MRSC's Annexation webpage provide examples of interlocal agreements that address the transition when portions of urban growth areas are annexed to cities. The second section offers examples of pre-annexation agreements which are adopted to establish zoning that will become effective upon annexation. When a property is annexed at the request of a property owner or developer, a development agreement governing the specific development of the property may accompany the annexation agreement.

Annexation and Growth Management Agreements - Revenue Sharing

These agreements address transition of public service provision from counties to cities and seek to compensate counties, at least on a transitional basis, for lost revenues. Most address allocation of sales and/or property taxes after annexation, but several address other types of revenues. Most address capital expenditure reimbursement to the county for capital improvements prior to annexation. The Kitsap County agreement addresses revenue sharing related to large retail developments. A few are preliminary agreements that set in motion work toward future agreements to share or adjust revenues. The Colorado agreements address revenue sharing between cities, especially related to retail sales taxes.

  • Anacortes Interlocal Agreement Between Skagit County and the City of Anacortes Regarding Adoption and Implementation of the City of Anacortes Urban Growth Area, 02/03/2003 - Section 7 addresses city sharing of sales tax revenue for up to 19 years depending of the extend of the county sales tax loses. Also describes reimbursement for road and utility capital projects.
  • Colorado Department of Local Affairs - IGAs - Revenue-Sharing, Includes sample intergovernmental agreements for revenue sharing between jurisdictions. As examples, the cities of Thorton and Westminister have reached agreement about annexation areas, provision of services, and revenue-sharing along a freeway corridor. The City of Louisville and the Town of Superior have agreed to sharing of revenues and service provision arrangements if a particular area is annexed by Superior.
  • East Wenatchee Interlocal Agreement Between the City of East Wenatchee and Douglas County Regarding Annexation Delivery of Services and Revenue Sharing, 05/31/2001 and first amendment to agreement, 12/13/2005 - Addresses consistent standards and transition of services following annexation. Section 9 provides a formula for capital expenditure reimbursement to the county for roads, and Section 14 addresses revenue-sharing of sales and use taxes with the county for a five year period. The amendment attached to the origional agreement clarifies the arrangement for road capital expenditure reimbursement and debt service payments.
  • Kitsap County Interlocal Agreement Between Kitsap County and the City of Bainbridge Island, City of Bremerton, City of Port Orchard and City of Poulsbo Concerning Revenue Sharing Upon Annexation and In Conjunction with Major Land Use Decisions within a City’s Urban Growth Area, 12/12/2001 - Provides useful definition of lost revenue, and describes sharing of revenues from sales tax, an ad valorem tax established related to transportation systems, and an admission tax. Provides for mitigating the impact of major retail development on the adjacent jurisdiction's sales tax when it is located near jurisdictional boundaries (between either cities or county)
  • Snohomish County Interlocal Agreement Between the City of Marysville and Snohomish County. Providing for the Annexation to the City of the Area Known the Central Marysville Annexation pursuant to RCW 35A.14.460, 06/10/2009 - See Sec. 3.2 and Exhibit A - Snohomish County Tomorrow Annexation Principles #4 and #6 (Intent to collaborate to resolve inequities between revenues and service provision)
  • Spokane Interlocal Agreement Regarding Annexations of Portions of the West Plains Urban Growth Area Between the City of Spokane, the City of Airway Heights, and Spokane County, 12/03/2009 - Agreement to pursue annexation of respective annexation areas that are currently served by a fire protection district pursuant to the Interlocal Method of Annexation authorized by RCW 35.13.238. This method requires notification and interlocal agreement negotiation with the fire district, and may address matters such as transfer of revenues and assets between the fire protection districts and the cities. In addition, §4 - Allocation of Sales and Property Tax Revenue, describes the formula for city compensation to the county for lost revenues.
  • Whatcom County Interlocal Agreement Between the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County Concerning Planning Annexation and Development within the Bellingham UGA, 04/30/2012 - Establishes a particularly clear understanding about city/county coordination of land use densities and designations, cooperative development review, transition of services and capital projects, tax revenue sharing to compensate county for lost tax revenue, and compensation for county capital facility expenditures

General Information on Intergovernmental Planning and Agreements

  • Planning for Growth—Intergovernmental Agreements in Colorado, Colorado Office of Smart Growth, 2006 - Includes information on lessons learned, service delivery and revenue sharing
  • Collaborative Planning: Implementation in Spokane County's Metro Urban Growth Area, Spokane County, cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Airway Heights, and Millwood, December 2009 - Report documenting collaborative planning effort for urban growth areas in Spokane County. It discusses work toward joint planning and agreement on development standards within UGAs, fiscal and service delivery within the UGA, and interlocal agreements on collaborative planning for UGAs. Includes interesting appendices on the fiscal and service delivery impacts of annexation, and a framework for discussing revenue solutions for the county

Last Modified: January 08, 2016