Growth Management and Planning Interlocal Agreements
This page provides examples of interlocal agreements in Washington State related to growth management and planning.
It is part of MRSC's series on Interlocal Cooperation.
In Washington State, the Interlocal Cooperation Act (Chapter 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.
Interlocal agreements between counties and cities for planning and growth management purposes take a variety of forms, including agreements to jointly develop comprehensive plans, agreements to provide or consolidate planning services, 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.
The following are examples of agreements for cooperative planning within urban growth areas (UGA) or other cooperative planning efforts between jurisdictions.
Washington UGA Cooperative Planning Agreements
- Maple Valley and King County Interlocal Agreement (2010) — Establishes binding planning policies to direct future land use and zoning of a property that will be annexed by the city. The city adopted pre-annexation zoning consistent with the agreement.
- Spokane County and Spokane Interlocal Agreement (2008) and Interim Interlocal Agreement (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 and Clark County Interlocal Agreement (2007) — Includes agreements regarding coordinated service provision, annexation, and comprehensive planning in the Vancouver UGA.
- Vancouver and Clark County Vancouver UGA Annexation Blueprint: 20-Year Plan (2007) — Outlines a general annexation schedule for Vancouver's UGA.
- Whatcom County and Bellingham Interlocal Agreement (2012) — Concerns planning, annexation, and development within the Bellingham UGA, including coordination of land use densities and designations, cooperative development review, transition of services and capital projects, tax revenue sharing to compensate the county for lost tax revenue, and capital facility expenditures.
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.
- Bonney Lake and Buckley Interlocal Agreement (2010) — Bonney Lake provides planning services to Buckley.
- Duvall and Redmond Interlocal Agreement (2010) — Redmond provides building plan review services for Duvall.
- Kirkland and Monroe Interlocal Agreement (2010) — Kirkland provides on-call plan review and field inspection services to Monroe.
- Walla Walla County and Walla Walla Interlocal Agreement (2010) — Establishes a joint community development agency under RCW 36.70.180 and RCW 35A.63.030, which is to be managed by a single director and a three-member board, to provide professional/technical staff support to the separate county and city legislative bodies, planning commissions, and hearing examiners.
For information and examples, see our series on Annexation in Washington State.
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. A few are preliminary agreements that kick-off work towards future agreements to share or adjust revenues.
- Anacortes and Skagit County Interlocal Agreement (2003) — Regarding adoption and implementation of Anacortes' UGA, including the sharing of sales tax revenue for up to 19 years depending on the extent of the county sales tax lost.
- Kirkland and King County Interlocal Agreement (2011) — Relating to the Annexation of the Juanita-Finn Hill-Kingsgate Annexation Area to facilitate an orderly transition of services and property.
- Snohomish County and Marysville Interlocal Agreement (2009) — Providing for the annexation to the city of the area known as the Central Marysville Annexation pursuant to RCW 35A.14.460.
- Spokane County, Spokane, and Airway Heights Annexation of Portions of West Plains UGA Interlocal Agreement (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, including transfer of revenues and assets between the fire protection districts and the cities.
- Whatcom County and Bellingham Interlocal Agreement (2009) — Concerning planning, annexation, and development within the Bellingham UGA.
- Whitman County and Pullman Interlocal Agreement and Adopting Resolution (2015) — Relating to the sharing of sales and use taxes collected within a tax-sharing area and the continued joint planning for the tax-sharing area.
- Woodway and Snohomish County Interlocal Agreement and Adopting Resolution (2016) — Concerning annexation and urban development within the Woodway UGA to facilitate an orderly transition of services and responsibility for capital projects.
- Colorado Office of Smart Growth: Planning for Growth (2006) — Includes information on lessons learned, service delivery, and revenue sharing during the process of making interlocal agreements.
- Spokane County's Metro UGA Collaborative Planning (2009) — Documents the collaborative planning efforts undertaken by Spokane County and the cities of Spokane, Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Airway Heights, and Millwood.