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MRSC Insight Blog

Posts for Comprehensive Planning-Growth Management

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Comprehensive Planning Tips, with a Focus on Implementation

A successful comprehensive plan will help guide community growth for decades into the future. When updating a plan, a local government should focus on using a strong planning process, conducting robust community engagement, and focusing on plan implementation. 

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Model of a downtown development

How Downtown Plans Can Create a Framework for Revitalization Efforts: Part 1

To create downtowns that can truly recover and thrive after a major unexpected event, cities must outline both near- and long-term steps in their downtown plans, including adaptive reuse strategies and ensuring that downtown public spaces are welcoming, safe, and exciting.

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2023 Planning Legislation Impacting Local Governments

Common themes among these six new planning-related bills include streamlining local project review, decreasing the planning burden on smaller communities, incentivizing annexations, and increasing housing supply throughout the state.

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Several small images suggesting environmental and pollution prevention laws against the word 2023

New Legislation Related to Climate and the Natural Environment

In 2023, state legislators passed several bills addressing environmental concerns, including new climate elements for comprehensive planning, making impact fee revenue available for new bike and pedestrian facilities, and an optional permit process for clean energy projects. 

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Unpopular but Necessary: What Exactly Is an Essential Public Facility?

What is an essential public facility under the Growth Management Act? An airport? A transit system? A homeless shelter? What facilities can be defined as essential for the public is at the heart of a recent Washington Court of Appeals case.

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Equitable Community Engagement in Comprehensive Plan Updates

Many local governments are updating their comprehensive plans, and in doing so, some are looking at how to develop intentional strategies that actively engage underrepresented communities in order to build a more equitable plan update in the process. 

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2022 Growth Management Act-Related Bills

New legislation related to the Growth Management Act (GMA) will expand tribal participation, limit appeals for actions to increase housing supply, change periodic update timelines, provide additional options for limited areas of more intense rural development (LAMIRDs), and more.

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Capital Facilities Planning: If There’s No Math, You’re Not Doing It Right

Guest author Ryan Walters suggests that capital facilities planning is as much about building new facilities as it is about accounting for the substantial expense of maintaining that infrastructure in the future.

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State Seeks Input on Its Vehicle Miles Traveled Reduction Strategy

The State of Washington is seeking input from local governments across the state as it works to establish reduction targets for local vehicle miles traveled and other proposed programs in order to meet key climate action targets.

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What Is a 15-Minute City? (And Why You Should Care)

What types of amenities and services can you get to within 15 minutes of leaving your front door? The 15-Minute City concept encourages the development of walkable neighborhoods where a variety of services are within easy reach. 

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The Importance of Population Forecasts for your Comprehensive Plan

Selecting a population forecast is a critical step for communities beginning the review and update of their comprehensive plan. This post provides some answers to common questions for those beginning the update process.

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What’s Next for Planning in Washington?

2015 marked the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Growth Management Act. So let's look ahead to see what's next. What are the emerging issues that urban planning can address?

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GMA at 25: Looking Back, Looking Forward

The year 2015 will be the 25th anniversary of the adoption of Washington State's Growth Management Act (GMA). GMA may be the most important and least understood of state laws from the perspective of today's state, county and city elected officials. Few of them were in office in the 1980's, and therefore understandably lack first-hand knowledge of the serious problems that prompted the 1990 legislature to pass the Act. A 2013 survey of city elected officials revealed that almost none of them had ever received training on the what, why, and how of land use policy-making, much less the GMA.

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From Vision to Reality: Implementing your Comprehensive Plan

Cities and counties planning under the Growth Management Act (GMA) are required to periodically update both their comprehensive plans and development regulations (codes). King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, and their 77 cities, are required to update their plans and codes by June of 2015, while other local governments in the state ...

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Third Promise of GMA Revisited: the New Urban Growth Area Guidebook

Too often, GMA Capital Facility Plans have been prepared as an afterthought, rather than as an integral part of the planning process. A particularly critical weakness of many Capital Facility Plans (CFP) has been the failure to demonstrate that designated Urban Growth Areas...

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It Takes a Community (and Some Smart Investing) to Create the Shining City on a Hill

To become that shining city (or county) on a hill, or to make that "Best-Places-to-Live" list, communities must successfully implement a vision. This...

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Infill Development in My Back Yard? Strategies for Winning Infill Development Support

Infill development, by definition, brings change that nearby residents may view with suspicion. But a number of communities have developed exemplary programs to win support for infill development that respects neighborhood character and adds to the community.

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