Buildable Lands Program




The Review & Evaluation Program, commonly referred to as the Buildable Lands Program, has been part of Washington State’s Growth Management Act (GMA) since 1997. [RCW 36.70A.215 and WAC 365-195-315]. The Buildable Lands Program review is required for seven urban counties: Clark, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom.

The guidelines of the program are intended to provide information, best practices, and methodologies in a “bottom-up” approach to assist local governments through the process.

The process per RCW 36.70A.215 in simple terms (review the RCW for full description) includes:

  • Determining whether a county and its cities are achieving urban densities within urban growth areas; and
  • Identifying reasonable measures, other than adjusting urban growth areas, that will be taken to comply with the requirements of the RCW chapter.

The graphic below depicts the steps in the review and evaluation program and the relationship between the components of the program. The five steps identified form the structure of the review and evaluation program that has been in place since 2000. Reasonable measures are the fifth and final step in the process. However, if the evaluation identifies a difference between the growth and development assumptions, it may trigger additional action in steps one through three, as highlighted.


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Clark County published a Buildable Lands Report during its periodic review of the comprehensive growth management plan to fulfill reporting requirements stipulated ion RCW 36.70A.215

Program Update

In 2018, the Department of Commerce issued new guidelines for the Buildable Lands Program. Clark County and its cities are launching a review of the guidelines. The next steps are to identify new requirements outlined in the guidelines, gather public feedback and recommend to council any modifications to the current methodologies, if necessary. Read more.