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Planning for Economic Development

This page provides information to help local governments in Washington State plan for economic development, including reference guides and examples of local economic development plans.


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.

General Information on Economic Development Planning

The following publications and guides provide useful background on the economic development planning process.

Examples of 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

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.

The following documents provide advice for developing CEDS and examples:

Last Modified: February 23, 2024