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PDFWAC 365-196-330

Phasing development within the UGA.

(1) Purpose of development phasing. Development phasing is the sequencing of development subareas within a city or urban growth area over the course of the twenty-year planning period. Development phasing should be considered a way to achieve one or more of the following:
(a) Orderly development pursuant to RCW 36.70A.110(3), which states that urban growth should first be located in areas with existing urban development and existing service capacity; second in existing urban development areas where new services can be provided in conjunction with existing services; and third in the remainder of the urban growth area;
(b) Preventing the irreversible commitment of land to urban growth before the provision of adequate public facilities. Within the comprehensive plan, the capital facilities element, transportation element, and parks and recreation element each must contain a plan to provide urban areas with adequate public facilities. The comprehensive plan must identify those facilities needed to achieve and maintain adopted levels of service over the twenty-year planning period, but only requires a six-year financing plan. Development phasing is a tool to address those areas for which capital facility needs have been identified in the twenty-year plan, but financing has not yet been identified. Because no irreversible commitment of land has been made in the zoning ordinance, if provision of urban governmental services ultimately proves infeasible, the area can be removed from the urban growth area when reassessing the land use element if probable funding falls short;
(c) Preventing a pattern of sprawling low density development from occurring or vesting in these areas prior to the ability to support urban densities. Once this pattern has occurred, it is more difficult to serve with urban services and less likely to ultimately achieve urban densities;
(d) Serving as a means of developing more detailed intergovernmental agreements or other plans to facilitate the orderly transition of governance and public services.
(2) Recommended provisions for development phasing. Comprehensive plan and development regulation provisions for development phasing should include the following:
(a) Identification of the areas to be sequenced;
(b) The criteria required to develop these areas at the ultimate urban densities envisioned. Criteria may be based on adequacy of services, existing urban development, and provisions for transition of governance. Timelines may also be used for sequencing;
(c) The densities and uses allowed in identified areas that have not yet met the criteria. Densities and intensities more typical of rural development should be considered to avoid hindering future development at urban densities. Such requirements are not inconsistent with the obligation to permit urban densities if provisions are made for conversion to urban densities over the course of the twenty-year planning period. Regulations should ensure that interim uses do not preclude future development at urban densities; and
(d) The review process for transitioning to ultimate urban densities. This should involve changes to development regulations, and not require amendments to the comprehensive plan.
(3) Additional considerations.
(a) Comprehensive plans may include other tools selected to facilitate phasing.
(b) Counties and cities should coordinate the phasing of development within portions of urban growth areas assigned to cities, and throughout urban growth areas in which cities are located. Development phasing polices may be addressed in county-wide planning policies.
(c) Counties and cities must still provide sufficient capacity of land suitable for development as required in RCW 36.70A.115, but lands subject to sequencing requirements should be included in this capacity as long as phasing is implemented during the planning period.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. WSR 10-03-085, ยง 365-196-330, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
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