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.
The following publications and guides provide useful background on the economic development planning process.
- 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
- 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
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
- Bothell Economic Development Element
- Lewis County Economic Development Element, amended 12/27/2010
- Mukilteo Economic Development Element, 2012
- Oak Harbor Economic Development Element, 2016
- Tumwater Economic Development Plan, 2013
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, 10/2013
- Woodinville Strategic Economic Development Action Plan, Volume 1: Strengthening Our Unique Community and Economy, prepared by Berk & Associates, adopted 01/2008
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 Strategy (CEDS) Overview - 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 2014-2015, prepared by Columbia-Pacific Resource Conservation and Economic Development District et al., 2014 - Addresses economic priorities in Grays Harbor, Mason, and Pacific 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