Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.
(1) "Adopt a comprehensive land use plan" means to enact a new comprehensive land use plan or to update an existing comprehensive land use plan.
(2) "Agricultural land" means land primarily devoted to the commercial production of horticultural, viticultural, floricultural, dairy, apiary, vegetable, or animal products or of berries, grain, hay, straw, turf, seed, Christmas trees not subject to the excise tax imposed by *RCW 84.33.100 through 84.33.140, finfish in upland hatcheries, or livestock, and that has long-term commercial significance for agricultural production.
(3) "City" means any city or town, including a code city.
(4) "Comprehensive land use plan," "comprehensive plan," or "plan" means a generalized coordinated land use policy statement of the governing body of a county or city that is adopted pursuant to this chapter.
(5) "Critical areas" include the following areas and ecosystems: (a) Wetlands; (b) areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water; (c) fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas; (d) frequently flooded areas; and (e) geologically hazardous areas. "Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas" does not include such artificial features or constructs as irrigation delivery systems, irrigation infrastructure, irrigation canals, or drainage ditches that lie within the boundaries of and are maintained by a port district or an irrigation district or company.
(6) "Department" means the department of commerce.
(7) "Development regulations" or "regulation" means the controls placed on development or land use activities by a county or city, including, but not limited to, zoning ordinances, critical areas ordinances, shoreline master programs, official controls, planned unit development ordinances, subdivision ordinances, and binding site plan ordinances together with any amendments thereto. A development regulation does not include a decision to approve a project permit application, as defined in RCW 36.70B.020, even though the decision may be expressed in a resolution or ordinance of the legislative body of the county or city.
(8) "Forest land" means land primarily devoted to growing trees for long-term commercial timber production on land that can be economically and practically managed for such production, including Christmas trees subject to the excise tax imposed under *RCW 84.33.100 through 84.33.140, and that has long-term commercial significance. In determining whether forest land is primarily devoted to growing trees for long-term commercial timber production on land that can be economically and practically managed for such production, the following factors shall be considered: (a) The proximity of the land to urban, suburban, and rural settlements; (b) surrounding parcel size and the compatibility and intensity of adjacent and nearby land uses; (c) long-term local economic conditions that affect the ability to manage for timber production; and (d) the availability of public facilities and services conducive to conversion of forest land to other uses.
(9) "Geologically hazardous areas" means areas that because of their susceptibility to erosion, sliding, earthquake, or other geological events, are not suited to the siting of commercial, residential, or industrial development consistent with public health or safety concerns.
(10) "Long-term commercial significance" includes the growing capacity, productivity, and soil composition of the land for long-term commercial production, in consideration with the land's proximity to population areas, and the possibility of more intense uses of the land.
(11) "Minerals" include gravel, sand, and valuable metallic substances.
(12) "Public facilities" include streets, roads, highways, sidewalks, street and road lighting systems, traffic signals, domestic water systems, storm and sanitary sewer systems, parks and recreational facilities, and schools.
(13) "Public services" include fire protection and suppression, law enforcement, public health, education, recreation, environmental protection, and other governmental services.
(14) "Recreational land" means land so designated under **RCW 36.70A.1701 and that, immediately prior to this designation, was designated as agricultural land of long-term commercial significance under RCW 36.70A.170. Recreational land must have playing fields and supporting facilities existing before July 1, 2004, for sports played on grass playing fields.
(15) "Rural character" refers to the patterns of land use and development established by a county in the rural element of its comprehensive plan:
(a) In which open space, the natural landscape, and vegetation predominate over the built environment;
(b) That foster traditional rural lifestyles, rural-based economies, and opportunities to both live and work in rural areas;
(c) That provide visual landscapes that are traditionally found in rural areas and communities;
(d) That are compatible with the use of the land by wildlife and for fish and wildlife habitat;
(e) That reduce the inappropriate conversion of undeveloped land into sprawling, low-density development;
(f) That generally do not require the extension of urban governmental services; and
(g) That are consistent with the protection of natural surface water flows and groundwater and surface water recharge and discharge areas.
(16) "Rural development" refers to development outside the urban growth area and outside agricultural, forest, and mineral resource lands designated pursuant to RCW 36.70A.170. Rural development can consist of a variety of uses and residential densities, including clustered residential development, at levels that are consistent with the preservation of rural character and the requirements of the rural element. Rural development does not refer to agriculture or forestry activities that may be conducted in rural areas.
(17) "Rural governmental services" or "rural services" include those public services and public facilities historically and typically delivered at an intensity usually found in rural areas, and may include domestic water systems, fire and police protection services, transportation and public transit services, and other public utilities associated with rural development and normally not associated with urban areas. Rural services do not include storm or sanitary sewers, except as otherwise authorized by RCW 36.70A.110(4).
(18) "Urban governmental services" or "urban services" include those public services and public facilities at an intensity historically and typically provided in cities, specifically including storm and sanitary sewer systems, domestic water systems, street cleaning services, fire and police protection services, public transit services, and other public utilities associated with urban areas and normally not associated with rural areas.
(19) "Urban growth" refers to growth that makes intensive use of land for the location of buildings, structures, and impermeable surfaces to such a degree as to be incompatible with the primary use of land for the production of food, other agricultural products, or fiber, or the extraction of mineral resources, rural uses, rural development, and natural resource lands designated pursuant to RCW 36.70A.170. A pattern of more intensive rural development, as provided in RCW 36.70A.070(5)(d), is not urban growth. When allowed to spread over wide areas, urban growth typically requires urban governmental services. "Characterized by urban growth" refers to land having urban growth located on it, or to land located in relationship to an area with urban growth on it as to be appropriate for urban growth.
(20) "Urban growth areas" means those areas designated by a county pursuant to RCW 36.70A.110.
(21) "Wetland" or "wetlands" means areas that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas. Wetlands do not include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from nonwetland sites, including, but not limited to, irrigation and drainage ditches, grass-lined swales, canals, detention facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, farm ponds, and landscape amenities, or those wetlands created after July 1, 1990, that were unintentionally created as a result of the construction of a road, street, or highway. Wetlands may include those artificial wetlands intentionally created from nonwetland areas created to mitigate conversion of wetlands.
[2012 c 21 § 1. Prior: 2009 c 565 § 22; 2005 c 423 § 2; 1997 c 429 § 3; 1995 c 382 § 9; prior: 1994 c 307 § 2; 1994 c 257 § 5; 1990 1st ex.s. c 17 § 3.]
| Reviser's note: *(1) RCW 84.33.100 through 84.33.118 were repealed or decodified by 2001 c 249 §§ 15 and 16. RCW 84.33.120 was repealed by 2001 c 249 § 16 and by 2003 c 170 § 7.|
**(2) RCW 36.70A.1701 expired June 30, 2006.
Intent -- 2005 c 423: "The legislature recognizes the need for playing fields and supporting facilities for sports played on grass as well as the need to preserve agricultural land of long-term commercial significance. With thoughtful and deliberate planning, and adherence to the goals and requirements of the growth management act, both needs can be met.
The legislature acknowledges the state's interest in preserving the agricultural industry and family farms, and recognizes that the state's rich and productive lands enable agricultural production. Because of its unique qualities and limited quantities, designated agricultural land of long-term commercial significance is best suited for agricultural and farm uses, not recreational uses.
The legislature acknowledges also that certain local governments have either failed or neglected to properly plan for population growth and the sufficient number of playing fields and supporting facilities needed to accommodate this growth. The legislature recognizes that citizens responded to this lack of planning, fields, and supporting facilities by constructing nonconforming fields and facilities on agricultural lands of long-term commercial significance. It is the intent of the legislature to permit the continued existence and use of these fields and facilities in very limited circumstances if specific criteria are satisfied within a limited time frame. It is also the intent of the legislature to grant this authorization without diminishing the designation and preservation requirements of the growth management act pertaining to Washington's invaluable farmland." [2005 c 423 § 1.]
Effective date -- 2005 c 423: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [May 12, 2005]." [2005 c 423 § 7.]
Prospective application -- 1997 c 429 §§ 1-21: See note following RCW 36.70A.3201.
Severability -- 1997 c 429: See note following RCW 36.70A.3201.
Finding -- Intent -- 1994 c 307: "The legislature finds that it is in the public interest to identify and provide long-term conservation of those productive natural resource lands that are critical to and can be managed economically and practically for long-term commercial production of food, fiber, and minerals. Successful achievement of the natural resource industries' goal set forth in RCW 36.70A.020 requires the conservation of a land base sufficient in size and quality to maintain and enhance those industries and the development and use of land use techniques that discourage uses incompatible to the management of designated lands. The 1994 amendment to RCW 36.70A.030(8) (section 2(8), chapter 307, Laws of 1994) is intended to clarify legislative intent regarding the designation of forest lands and is not intended to require every county that has already complied with the interim forest land designation requirement of RCW 36.70A.170 to review its actions until the adoption of its comprehensive plans and development regulations as provided in RCW 36.70A.060(3)." [1994 c 307 § 1.]
Effective date -- 1994 c 257 § 5: "Section 5 of this act shall take effect July 1, 1994." [1994 c 257 § 25.]
Severability -- 1994 c 257: See note following RCW 36.70A.270.