King County Comprehensive Plan: History and background
1964: The First Comprehensive Plan
Concerned King County citizens prompt government to draft the first Comprehensive Plan to manage growth in unincorporated King County. The innovative and forward-thinking 1964 principles continue to guide King County growth policies today.
1985: King County Council unanimously adopts updated Comprehensive Plan
Twenty years later, as rapid growth threatens forests, farmlands and open spaces, and the costs of housing, energy, and police and fire protection soar, the plan is updated. Preserving King County's natural beauty, as well as ensuring affordable housing and diverse living environments, remains fundamental considerations in plans for managing future growth.
The 1985 Comprehensive Plan identifies an "urban growth boundary line." This line limits growth to areas with an existing infrastructure for facilities and services; it protects natural resource lands; it states that rural areas remain largely intact; and it guides cities, service districts and the private sector in working together to manage growth responsibly.
1990: Growth Management Act (GMA)
The Washington State Legislature passes the GMA as a way to further protect the unique Pacific Northwest quality of life. The GMA directs the state's most populous and fastest growing counties and their cities to prepare comprehensive land use plans that anticipate growth and impact for a 20-year horizon.
King County and cities within its boundaries develop the King County Countywide Planning Policies to meet the GMA requirements and to coordinate planning among all of its jurisdictions. These policies establish an urban growth area within the western one-third of King County where most growth and development is projected to occur. The policies' goals include reducing urban sprawl, protecting rural areas, and more efficiently providing roads, parks and other services.
1994: Updated Comprehensive Plan
King County's population continues to grow and change, requiring fine-tuning of the county's Comprehensive Plan to refine the urban growth area. Special designations are made to include agricultural production districts for the protection of farming areas; provisions for housing on larger lots in the rural area; forest production districts for the continuation of large-scale forestry activities; and open space areas for protection of the natural environment.
1995-99: Annual Amendments to the 1994 Comprehensive Plan
Individuals, groups and county agencies have the opportunity to clarify and modify King County's 1994 Comprehensive Plan. The annual amendments are primarily technical in nature and do not require substantive policy changes or alterations to the Urban Growth Area boundary.
2000: Four-Year Cycle process begins
The year 2000 marked the first significant revision of the KCCP since its 1994 adoption, in accordance with K.C.C. Title 20. Known as the Four-Year Cycle, this comprehensive review provided for a cumulative analysis of the Comprehensive Plan. Once every four years thereafter, major changes to the plan's language and changes to the Urban Growth Area boundary will be considered.
2004: Second Significant Revision of the KCCP completed
This comprehensive review also provided for a cumulative analysis of the comprehensive plan and related development regulations. The 2004 Update confirmed the adequacy of development capacity within the existing Urban Growth Area to accommodate adopted growth targets.
2005: Amendments to the KCCP
On July 25, 2005, the King County Council adopted Ordinances 15242 through 15245 which amended the 2004 King County Comprehensive Plan Update. Annual amendments are primarily technical in nature and do not require substantive policy changes or alterations to the Urban Growth Area boundary.
2006: Amendments to the KCCP
Again in 2006, annual amendments, primarily technical in nature and not requiring substantive policy changes, were made. The King County Council adopted Ordinances 15605 through 15607 in July 2006 and those 2006 amendments to the KCCP included modifications to development codes and policies, an update of the Transportation Needs Report and the Regional Trails Needs Report, and changes to four arterial classifications.
2008: Third Significant Revision of the KCCP completed
The King County Council completed the third four-year cycle amendment for the KCCP with its adoption of the 2008 update to the KCCP on October 6, 2008. Three new framework policies were introduced in the 2008 update: 1) health, equity, social and environmental justice; 2) climate change; and 3) measurement and monitoring.
2012: Fourth Significant Revision of the KCCP completed
The King County Council completed the fourth four-year cycle amendment for the KCCP with its adoption of the 2012 update to the KCCP on December 3, 2012.
Many years to come
King County citizens and policy makers maintain a commitment to preserving the environment and the unique quality of life that make our region one of the most livable in the world.