Planners' Update Newsletter - January 2023

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jan. 13, 2022

Planners' Update Newsletter

Collaborative Roadmap

Washington laws governing growth and development could be due for substantive changes in 2023. A task force created by the Washington State Department of Commerce and convened in 2021 made 14 specific recommendations this year to the Washington Legislature on reforms to state statutes governing a range of issues including growth management, local project review and permitting, shorelines and annexations.

This work is part of the Collaborative Roadmap Phase III project, the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at studying and recommending needed reforms to the set of laws and code collectively known as the state’s “growth policy framework.” At the direction of the state Legislature, which funded this study, the project team and task force engaged a range of stakeholders, including tribal nations and other groups traditionally under-represented in growth management policy decision-making and disproportionately impacted by its outcomes. The 14 recommendations they developed also incorporated data from an online survey implemented last summer. 

The final report to the Legislature, along with the previous reports from this project, are available at the Collaborative Roadmap Phase III website. The project team and task force members will remain active in serving as a resource for lawmakers during the 2023 session and will produce a closeout report after the session ends.

Growth management topics graphic

Figure 1: The Task Force examined seven broad topics of needed changes and reforms to the growth policy framework. After engaging with working groups and the public, the Task Force made at least one formal recommendation to the Legislature for each topic. (Courtesy of LDC, Inc.)

Prototype map tool and final report on energy siting and consultation with the military

Report cover

Washington is working to engage diverse stakeholders across different statewide projects to address the various challenges and opportunities to implement state decarbonization goals. Commerce and the State of Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense to complete the Compatible Energy Siting Assessment (CESA), a study that considers aspects of energy development related to military missions and the value of communication.

In the form of written resources and prototype mapping, the CESA study’s outcomes offer valuable lessons and tools focused on promoting early and ongoing consultation between energy developers, permit-reviewers, and the military. The following resources are now available to provide insights that support the wider effort to foster a clean-energy economy in a thoughtful and coordinated manner:

  • The 2022 CESA Map Tool (Prototype) (Website) – an interactive map tool designed to encourage site-specific consultation for energy projects with tutorial videos and a prototype user guide.
  • The 2022 Mapping Needs and Development Strategy (Box .pdf) – an independent assessment of steps that would be required to implement a live version of CESA’s prototype map tool.
  • The 2022 Compatible Energy Siting Assessment (Box .pdf) – a written review of the CESA study’s findings on military missions and energy-development needs related to early and ongoing coordination through project-development processes.

Please visit Growth Management Services online for more about this project and other resources that we offer to encourage civilian-military coordination in planning.

CESA program contact: Deanah Watson, Senior Planner,

Housing Updates

Attainable housing is key issue in 12-county survey

Housing and homelessness were the top two issues that Washington residents named in a 12-county survey conducted by Commerce and the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) and released this week. The majority of respondents in every county want to see more diverse housing and more affordability, including some types of multi-unit housing in single-family zones. Check out more details in the summary on our housing webpage and consider how the results can be useful in your upcoming periodic updates.

HB 1220: Land Capacity Guidance public comment period closing; Adequate Provisions Guidance coming soon

Last month, Commerce published draft guidance for how local governments should plan for sufficient land capacity to meet the future housing needs of all economic segments. Along with this guidance, Commerce was required to develop projected housing need numbers by income level

Submit comments and questions on this draft Land Capacity Guidance through Wednesday, Jan. 25 to Laura Hodgson at

Final projected housing needs numbers are coming in February.

Commerce also developed guidance for how local governments should show they have made “adequate provisions” for existing and projected needs of all economic segments (RCW 36.70A.070(2)(d)). This portion of the guidance details how to show consideration for all economic segments in housing planning and how to document programs and actions needed to achieve housing availability including gaps in local funding, development regulations and other limitations.

This Adequate Provisions Guidance will be available on our project website for a 30-day comment period beginning January 23.

To be notified of when this document is available for review, sign up for the HB 1220 project updates mailing list. Enter your email address on the project webpage under “Subscribe” on the right hand side of the page.

Comments and questions on the Adequate Provisions Guidance can be submitted to Laura Hodgson at through Feb. 23, 2023.

Multifamily Property Tax Exemption events

Commerce is hosting three events focused on the multifamily property tax exemption (MFTE) program during the first quarter of 2023.  All events are virtual, held via Teams.

Event Schedule

  1. Using the MFTE Annual Reporting Forms
    Wed., Jan. 18, 2023, 9 – 10 a.m.
    Focus on the MFTE annual reporting as required by RCW 84.14.100(2). This session will include information on the general reporting form, the details sheet, and a one-time requirement to submit all project reports received during 2022.
    Meeting link (Teams)
  2. MFTE Administrator’s Meeting
    Thurs., Feb. 9, 2023, 3 – 5 p.m.
    A peer meeting for MFTE administrators will focus on the practice of bundling, or on what services and fees are included in rent calculations. There will also be open discussion among MFTE administrators to develop a professional support network.
    Meeting link (Teams)
  3. Considering MFTE
    Wed., Feb. 15, 2023, 2 – 3 p.m.
    For any jurisdiction considering the adoption of an MFTE program. Commerce staff will be available to answer questions and provide resources.
    Register to attend (Teams)
    For those unable to attend, a video presentation is posted online.

MFTE Reporting

The 2022 reporting forms for the MFTE program are available now on Commerce’s MFTE webpage. The reporting deadline is April 1, 2023. To assist in the creation of the statewide auditing program (as required by RCW 84.14.100(3)) we are also requesting that jurisdictions submit all local reports collected, as required by RCW 84.14.100(1), from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2022.  This request is for this year only and reports do not need to be in any specific format. 

Technical Assistance

For questions or to learn more, please contact Mary M. Reinbold, AICP at

New faces at Commerce

David Pater headshot

Welcome David Pater

We're pleased to welcome David Pater to our Growth Management Services team as a senior planner and your new National Estuary Program (NEP) lead here at Commerce.

David comes to us from the Washington State Department of Ecology where he spent over 30 years providing technical assistance to local governments on several programs. 

David's position will focus on developing guidance and facilitating habitat restoration and preservation in support of local governments. This includes a focus on storm water pollution prevention. David lives in Lacey, WA where he and his wife enjoy a variety of musical interests and outdoor activities.

News from outside Commerce

PSRC continues its Passport 2044 series with a webinar on housing

Puget Sound Regional Council logo

Join PSRC and Commerce in February for our second session on housing. This session will focus on the new housing need allocations under HB 1220 (Planning for Housing) and how to incorporate them in your comprehensive plan.

Housing Session 2: Housing Need and Capacity
Wed., Feb. 15, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Register for the Zoom meeting

You can learn more about the Passport series and catch up on sessions you may have missed covering housing, transportation, climate change and more on PRSC’s website.

For more information on the PSRC Passport series, please contact Maggie Moore at


Growth Management Hearings Board update

New electronic land use and environmental appeals filing system coming soon

The Washington State Environmental and Land Use Hearings Office (ELUHO) will launch an online case management system this spring. The new system will allow people to electronically file appeals, petitions, and other case documents with ELUHO’s Growth Management, Pollution Control, and Shorelines Hearings Boards. Users will be able to view cases, both historical and active, in an online, searchable database, and download case documents. You’ll need to create a user account to use the new filing system.

Sign up for e-mail notifications at

Read more


DNR update: Geological Survey releases new maps

Dept of Natural Resources logo

The Washington Geological Survey (WGS) recently released three new 1:24,000-scale geologic maps covering parts of Thurston, Pierce, King, and Kittitas Counties.

Learn more and find links to the publications on the DNR blog (

Upcoming Planners’ Forum

  • SW Planners’ Forum

    Thurs., Jan. 19, 2023, 9 a.m. – noon
     Zoom link

  • Eastern Planners’ Forum

    Wed., Jan. 25, 2023, 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    Zoom link

Remember, you can receive American Planning Association (AICP) credits for attending.

Learn more

The Short Course on local planning

This popular training on local planning offers an overview of land use planning laws in Washington, an introduction to comprehensive planning and plan implementation under the Growth Management Act (GMA), and a review of roles in planning and mandatory training on the Open Public Meetings Act for local government officials.

All courses are online, free and open to the public.

Ask About Local Presentations

Commerce also offers e-visits to local planning commissions or other meetings. Topics include, but are not limited to, comprehensive plan basics and roles in the planning process. Contact your regional planner to request a presentation.