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King County Comprehensive Plan: Proposing a change - the amendment process

The King County Comprehensive Plan (KCCP) guides how future development will occur in the county. The process for proposing a change to the Plan, as well as key dates for submitting a docket or a site-specific amendment application, is explained below.

What is the Comprehensive Plan amendment process?

The Comprehensive Plan Amendment Process allows individuals, groups and County departments to propose changes to the KCCP. It provides a way to address changing conditions and new considerations in how growth occurs throughout King County.

What makes the Four-Year Midpoint and Eight-Year Cycle processes different?

In 2018, King County amended its Comprehensive Planning process and timelines to better align with state and regional planning activities. The amended process is as follows:

Annual amendment: Small, routine, or technical changes considered

The Annual Amendment process addresses technical updates and makes revisions that do not require substantive policy changes, such as applications that:

  • Propose corrections to a technical error within the Plan
  • Propose changes that do not require a substantive policy change or alter the Urban Growth Area boundary
  • Propose a 4-to-1 project, pursuant to KCC 20.18.170.

Four-Year Midpoint Cycle amendment: Major changes considered

The Four-Year Midpoint Cycle process allows substantive changes to policy and land use, and urban growth area amendments. The intent is to address have a narrow scope, and it does not include a full review of the plan. During the four year midpoint cycle, the public is engaged through outreach, stakeholder meetings, development and adoption of a Scope of Work, development and release of a Public Review Draft and Executive Recommended Plan and community meetings. Following transmittal to the County Council, the public is also engaged in Council committee meetings and open houses.

Eight-Year Statutory Cycle amendment: Complete review of the Plan

The Eight-Year Cycle addresses the statutory update requirements in the Growth Management Act, and includes a full review of the plan. Similar to the Four-Year midpoint, substantive changes are considered and robust outreach and update process is conducted.

How can I propose a change? The Docket Process

The way to propose a change to the King County Comprehensive Plan during the annual or four-year cycle amendment processes is to submit a docket form. A docket is maintained by King County to allow residents to document requested changes to the King County Comprehensive Plan, land use designations, or development regulations. The Docket Form gives you a way to tell the County about policies, land use designations, zoning or other components of the Plan that you would like changed.

Docket Forms can be submitted anytime, but must be submitted by the last business day in December in order to be considered in the next appropriate amendment. There is no fee for submitting a Docket Form. Please refer to the docketing process page for instructions.

Site-specific amendment application

If the docket requires a change in a land use designation, those who submitted the docket will be referred to the second step, which is the process for obtaining a site-specific land use amendment. Property owners submitting a rezone request that does not require a land use change will be directed to the Zone Reclassification process.

A site-specific amendment application requires a filing fee (see guide 8), a staff review and recommendation, and a review by the King County Hearing Examiner. Each request is considered separately. The Hearing Examiner then batches all recommendations and sends them to the King County Council by January 15 of each year for consideration during the annual Comprehensive Plan amendment process.

More Information on Submitting a Land Use Amendment

There is no deadline for submittal of site-specific land use amendments, however, to be considered during the following year's amendment process, submitting the request by June 1 is recommended.

Property owners seeking site-specific changes to the Comprehensive Plan must:

  1. Submit a Docket Form and receive a reply from King County which will provide an evaluation of the request.
  2. For applicants choosing to continue following receipt of your docket reply from King County, submit a land use pre-application meeting request form to the Department of Permitting and Environmental Review. Staff will schedule a meeting with the owner to discuss the proposed changes.
  3. Following the pre-application meeting, applicants who wish to continue with their proposal must then submit an official Site-Specific Amendment Application Form and pay a fee (see guide 8).
  4. Within 120 days after the application is determined to be complete, the County prepares a recommendation on the proposal and sets a hearing date. Property owners within a 500 foot radius of the property (or, at least 20 surrounding property owners) and others who have requested information regarding the application receive notice of the hearing date.
  5. The Hearing Examiner conducts a hearing and prepares a report that includes recommendations for all land use amendments proposed that year.
  6. On January 15, the Examiner's report is sent to the King County Council. These amendments are then considered in conjunction with the Executive's recommendations, which the Council receives by June 30.

For more information about proposing a change to the Comprehensive Plan, please see King County Code 20.18 or use the contact information below.