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Comp plan update clears key vote, enters housing-focused phase ahead of final vote late this year

June 5, 2024

A once-a-decade update to the King County Comprehensive Plan cleared a key hurdle Wednesday as it winds its way toward final approval later this year.

The latest version of the legislation cleared the King County Council’s Local Services and Land Use Committee, making a host of updates after collecting feedback from across unincorporated King County.

“It has been an honor to lead the Comprehensive Plan update this year, and I'm appreciative of my colleagues for voting to approve the striking amendment that I put forward,” said Councilmember Sarah Perry, who chairs the Local Services Committee. “This once-a-decade legislation represents the culmination of nearly six months of work to integrate community input and build upon the plan that was transmitted to Council by the Executive in December of 2023. My Council colleagues and I listened to the issues that are most important to our residents – including access to housing, safer communities, and environmental protections – so that, together, we could create the best possible plan for all our community members. Thank you to all the residents who stepped forward to share their feedback on this critical plan. I'm looking forward to continuing our work on the Comprehensive Plan as we move toward a final vote later this year.”

The Comprehensive Plan is a major piece of legislation that shapes all aspects of unincorporated county growth and development, including where homes, offices, and stores can be built, how roads impact surrounding areas, how to protect agricultural lands and forests, how to maintain access to clean water, air, and a healthy environment, and much more. 

Wednesday’s vote moves the legislation ahead with key feedback from the community, including, but not limited to:

  • Advancing housing availability for all income levels, while reducing barriers to affordable housing
  • Promoting public safety by advocating for safe streetscapes and encouraging universal design to allow anyone to feel safe in their neighborhoods
  • Spurring economic development through conversations with small businesses and local farms
  • Maintaining access to clean water, clean air, and a healthy environment

Councilmembers will continue working on the legislation over the summer, with a particular focus on housing, and another update will be reviewed later in the year, with final passage expected in December.

The final plan will include updates in essentially all aspects of growth and planning across unincorporated King County, but some key sections include:

  • Housing availability for all, including general housing and affordable housing
  • Comprehensive zoning regulations related to middle housing, ADUs, and emergency housing
  • Commercial uses in urban residential zones, such as restaurants, daycares, and agriculture
  • Climate and environmental protections, including work around green buildings and infrastructure and supporting green jobs
  • Equity impact and cultural programming to expand access in underinvested areas

Find more information and follow the process to update the Comprehensive Plan here.

Additional Quotes:

Councilmember Girmay Zahilay: “Our state will need to build 1 million more homes over the next 20 years to ensure everyone has an affordable place to live. The Comprehensive Plan gives us an opportunity to tackle the housing crisis head on. Executive Constantine and his team provided us a great foundation, and the Council is taking it a step further. With our vote today, we will reduce barriers to building housing, allow for more density in more places, preserve our rural and agricultural lands, and make King County a better and more affordable place to live, work, and raise a family. Thank you to Chair Perry, Executive Constantine, our staff, and all the community members who’ve made their voices heard in crafting this legislation.”

Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda: “Today’s committee passage of the King County Comprehensive Plan is the culmination of months of hearing from community about what is needed to support equity, affordability, and resilience as our region grows, and working to translate that into detailed planning policy. I look forward to continuing to dig into this policy in the coming months as we work to address some of the most pressing issues facing our communities: housing availability and affordability, access to healthcare services of all types, accessible and affordable childcare, and environmental and climate equity. Thank you to Executive Constantine, Land Use Chair Perry, and the community members who have engaged in this process over the last year-plus—with a special shout-out to our unincorporated District 8 communities of White Center, Vashon, and the South Park “sliver.”