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PDFWAC 365-196-640

Comprehensive plan amendment procedures.

(1) Each county or city should provide for an ongoing process to ensure:
(a) The comprehensive plan is internally consistent and consistent with the comprehensive plans of adjacent counties and cities. See WAC 365-196-500 and 365-196-510; and
(b) The development regulations are consistent with and implement the comprehensive plan.
(2) Counties and cities should establish procedures governing the amendment of the comprehensive plan. The location of these procedures may be either in the comprehensive plan, or clearly referenced in the plan.
(3) Amendments.
(a) All proposed amendments to the comprehensive plan must be considered by the governing body concurrently and may not be considered more frequently than once every year, so that the cumulative effect of various proposals can be ascertained. If a county or city's final legislative action is taken in a subsequent calendar year, it may still be considered part of the prior year's docket so long as the consideration of the amendments occurred within the prior year's comprehensive plan amendment process.
(b) Amendments may be considered more often under the following circumstances:
(i) The initial adoption of a subarea plan. Subarea plans adopted under this subsection (3)(b)(i) must clarify, supplement, or implement jurisdiction-wide comprehensive plan policies, and may only be adopted if the cumulative impacts of the proposed plan are addressed by appropriate environmental review under chapter 43.21C RCW;
(ii) The development of an initial subarea plan for economic development located outside of the one hundred-year flood plain in a county that has completed a state-funded pilot project that is based on watershed characterization and local habitat assessment;
(iii) The adoption or amendment of a shoreline master program under the procedures set forth in chapter 90.58 RCW;
(iv) The amendment of the capital facilities element of a comprehensive plan that is part of the adoption or amendment of a county or city budget;
(v) The adoption of comprehensive plan amendments necessary to enact a planned action under RCW 43.21C.031(2), provided that amendments are considered in agreement with the public participation program established by the county or city under RCW 36.70A.140, and all persons who have requested notice of a comprehensive plan update are given notice of the amendments and an opportunity to comment;
(vi) To resolve an appeal of the comprehensive plan filed with the growth management hearings board; or
(vii) In the case of an emergency.
(4) Emergency amendments. Public notice and an opportunity for public comment must precede the adoption of emergency amendments to the comprehensive plan. Provisions in RCW 36.70A.390 apply only to moratoria or interim development regulations. They do not apply to comprehensive plans amendments. If a comprehensive plan amendment is necessary, counties and cities should adopt a moratoria or interim zoning control. The county or city should then consider the comprehensive plan amendment concurrently with the consideration of permanent amendments and only after public notice and an opportunity for public comment.
(5) Evaluating cumulative effects. RCW 36.70A.130 (2)(b) requires that all proposed amendments in any year be considered concurrently so the cumulative effect of the proposals can be ascertained. The amendment process should include an analysis of all proposed amendments evaluating their cumulative effect. This analysis should be prepared in conjunction with analyses required to comply with the State Environmental Policy Act under chapter 43.21C RCW.
(6) Docketing of proposed amendments.
(a) RCW 36.70A.470(2) requires that comprehensive plan amendment procedures allow interested persons, including applicants, citizens, hearing examiners, and staff of other agencies, to suggest amendments of comprehensive plans or development regulations. This process should include a means of docketing deficiencies in the comprehensive plan that arise during local project review. These suggestions must be docketed and considered at least annually.
(b) A consideration of proposed amendments does not require a full analysis of every proposal within twelve months if resources are unavailable.
(c) As part of this process, counties and cities should specify what information must be submitted and the submittal deadlines so that proposals can be evaluated concurrently.
(d) Once a proposed amendment is received, the county or city may determine if a proposal should receive further consideration as part of the comprehensive plan amendment process.
(e) Some types of proposed amendments require a significant investment of time and expense on the part of both applicants and the county or city. A county or city may specify in its policies certain types of amendments that will not be carried forward into the amendment process on an annual basis. This provides potential applicants with advance notice of whether a proposed amendment will be carried forward and can help applicants avoid the expense of preparing an application.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050, 36.70A.190. WSR 10-22-103, § 365-196-640, filed 11/2/10, effective 12/3/10; WSR 10-03-085, § 365-196-640, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
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