Planning and Development Services

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Planning and Development Services

Director: Dale Pernula

cover2016 Skagit County Comprehensive Plan Update
(“2016 Update”)
www.skagitcounty.net/2016update

Like other counties, cities and towns around the state, Skagit County is required to conduct a periodic review and update of its comprehensive plan and development regulations to ensure consistency with state laws and population and employment projections for the next 20 years. Skagit County must complete its current periodic update, referred to here as the 2016 Update, by June 30, 2016.

Adopted 2016 Comprehensive Plan Update


Second Public Comment Draft (June 10, 2016)

First Public Comment Draft (March 4, 2016)

2016 Update Goals

The Board of County Commissioners has expressed its support for the following goals for the 2016 Update process:

  • Keep the scope focused on required elements under state law
  • Have the Department work with the Planning Commission to develop the 2016 Update Proposal
  • Provide adequate time and opportunities for public input
  • Complete the process on time

Focused 2016 Update Scope

Skagit County undertook an extensive review of its comprehensive plan, land use/zoning map, and development regulations in the 2005 GMA Update. Because of the magnitude of the review, it took the County two years past the 2005 deadline to complete the process, which culminated in the adoption of the current Comprehensive Plan.

For the 2016 Update, the Board has adopted a focused scope for the upgrade process based on its satisfaction with the current comprehensive plan and due to limited County staff and financial resources.


Periodic Update Requirements

Skagit County is required to review and, if necessary, revise its comprehensive plan and development regulations periodically to make sure they comply with recent amendments to the GMA and other applicable state laws (RCW 36.70A.130(1)).

This review and evaluation must include an analysis of the population allocated to the County from the most recent ten-year population forecast by the state Office of Financial Management; as well as a review of the designated urban growth areas within the County to ensure they can accommodate the urban growth projected to occur for the succeeding twenty-year period.

Public Participation


Per RCW 36.70A.130(2), Skagit County is required to have, and does have, a public participation program consistent with RCW 36.70A.035 and 36.70A.140 establishing procedures and schedules for comprehensive plan updates and amendments. Skagit County’s public participation program, found at SCC 14.08.070, and other legislative procedures described in SCC 14.08, will guide the public process for the 2016 Update. These code provisions establish the following major steps the County will follow for the 2016 Update:

  • Initiation of review of amendments (SCC 14.08.030)
  • State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Review (SCC 14.08.040)
  • Public notification (SCC 14.08.070(9) and (10))
  • Public participation (SCC 14.08.070(11))
  • Review by Planning Commission (SCC 14.08.080), and
  • Review and decision by Board of County Commissioners (SCC 14.08.090)

The Board has indicated that the Skagit County Planning Commission will serve as the County’s 2016 Update Advisory Committee, assisting the Department in developing the 2016 Update proposal. This will maximize efficiency of both time and resources and will help to ensure that the Planning Commission has ample opportunity to vet major elements of the 2016 Update proposal before it is released for public review and comment.

2016 Work Sessions with Planning Commission
(Prior to release of 2016 Update Proposal)

Proposed Updates to Transportation and Rural Elements

Rural Element
Transportation Element

Proposed Amendments to CPP 1.1

UGA Amendment Proposals

2015 Public Workshops:

As part of developing the proposal, the Department held work sessions with the Planning Commission on major topics being considered through the 2016 Update. The Department and the Planning Commission took input from members of the public as part of these work sessions.

Related Documents

Skagit County Growth Projections, Summary of Methods and Results (February 2016), memorandum by BERK Consulting developed in consultation with planning directors from Skagit County and the cities and towns through the Skagit Council of Governments.

Recommended Skagit County 2036 Population and Employment Allocations, revisions approved by the Growth Management Act Steering Committee on September 16, 2015, for preliminary planning purposes by jurisdictions within Skagit County.

Employment Projections for North Cascades Gateway Center at Sedro-Woolley UGA (September 16, 2015), Memo to GMA Steering Committee from John Coleman, Planning Director, City of Sedro-Woolley.

Proposed amendment to Countywide Planning Policy 1 implementing an annual land use monitoring program.

Recommended Skagit County 2036 Population and Employment Allocations, approved by the Growth Management Act Steering Committee on July 31, 2014, for preliminary planning purposes by jurisdictions within Skagit County.

Periodic Update Checklist for Counties, a checklist from the Washington Department of Commerce to help guide counties through the requirements of the Periodic Update under GMA.