November Planners' Newsletter

Having trouble viewing this email? View it online

August 19, 2023

November Planners' Newsletter

Wetland Nisqually

Figure 1 Nisqually wetland


Puget Sound Wetland Funding Update

The Puget Sound Strategic Initiative Leads (SILs) have released the Habitat chapter of the joint Strategic Initiatives’ 2023 Investment Plan. The Plan highlights investment areas across the SILs that will be the focus of competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) grant processes to award EPA Puget Sound Geographic Program Funds to the Puget Sound recovery community.

The Habitat Investment priorities include increasing capacity and workforce development; habitat protection, monitoring, and adaptive management; science for kelp and eelgrass; and soft shore alternatives to hard armor. The priorities also include three Habitat SIL-hosted community engagement opportunities. The Habitat SIL will release RFPs based on the Investment Priorities during the first six months of 2024. More information will be available on the Habitat SIL RFP webpage.

Housing Updates

The comment period for our draft Middle Housing Ordinances and Guidance ends Dec. 6, 2023. These draft ordinances are a critical part of Commerce’s deliverables to support community consideration and adoption of new middle housing requirements. If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment to review these drafts and provide us with feedback.

Racially Disparate Impacts (RDI) Data Available for 2025 Jurisdictions

To assist local governments with the housing element of their periodic updates, Commerce has compiled Racially Disparate Impacts (RDI) Data Toolkits for every jurisdiction in Washington. RDI Data is now posted for 2024 and 2025 jurisdictions on our Affordable Housing EZView Site (see pages under “RDI Data Toolkit” tab), and data for 2026 and 2027 jurisdictions is available upon request. For questions, please contact Laura Hodgson at

Climate Updates

The Growth Management climate team, now dubbed the Climate and Ecosystem Section, has two updates for you. First, if you haven’t had a chance to review the current Draft Intermediate Climate Planning Guidance, please take some time to do so. Commerce is required to publish interim guidance by Dec. 31 of this year, and we are currently in a 30-day comment period on the draft ending on Nov. 20, 2023. Our goal is to address the public feedback and publish the draft by the end of the year.

As a part of the ramp-up for climate planning around the state, we also wanted to share a few new hires with you.

New Climate Staff Spotlight

Angela San Filippo

First up, Angela San Filippo (she/her) has joined the Climate and Ecosystem Section as the ecosystem services program manager. Angela has a master’s degree in community and regional planning from the University of Oregon. Her previous experience includes leading the comprehensive plan update for the city of Ellensburg and working with cities and counties across central Washington on shoreline master program updates. Most recently, Angela served as the director of a regional coalition of local governments building shared solutions to address the housing crisis in South King County. Angela lives in Ellensburg. In her free time, you will find her enjoying the outdoors on her mountain bike, snowboard, skis, or her own two feet as she explores all that the northwest has to offer.


Debra Srebnik

Please welcome Debra Srebnik (she/her) as a new policy analyst with the Climate and Ecosystem Section’s operations team. Debra has 20 years of experience working in King County and is a current city council member for the City of Kenmore. Debra has degrees from the University of Washington and the University of Vermont including time as a faculty professor at UW. She enjoys anything water-related, including kayaking, rowing and skiing. Debra will be supporting the Climate and Ecosystem Section’s forthcoming rulemaking activities, which will be focused on integrating the new climate legislation into the Growth Management Act administrative codes.


Noelle Madera

We are pleased to welcome Noelle Madera (she/her) to the Climate and Ecosystem Section as the operations team manager. Noelle comes to us from the Yakima County Planning Division where she worked for 12 years. In her new role, Noelle and her team will manage climate grant contracts, rulemaking, and provide technical guidance to communities on the newly required climate elements of comprehensive plans. Noelle resides in Yakima with her family where she enjoys outdoor activities, spending time with family, and traveling.

News from Outside of Commerce

Tsunami walking routes 

Department of Natural Resources Logo

The Washington Geological Survey has published seven new tsunami evacuation walk time maps for communities along Washington’s Pacific coast. These maps show the amount of time it would take to evacuate at a slow walking pace from within the modeled inundation zone of a tsunami that originates from a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake. The maps show the tsunami inundation zone and paths of tsunami evacuation routes.

We have also released three new sets of simulation videos for the central Washington coast that show the extent and depth of tsunami inundation (on-land flooding) and maximum current velocities following a modeled magnitude 9.0 Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. The videos also provide an estimate for how much time will transpire between the earthquake and the arrival of tsunami waves on shore.

To read more about the tsunami evacuation walk time maps and the simulation videos, see the Washington State Geology New Tsunami Evacuation Walk Time Maps and Simulation Videos for the Washington Coast.

Events and Training

Thurston Regional Planning Council Logo

2025 Workshop Series

Webinar: This workshop in the 2025 Workshop Series will focus on expanded housing checklists, recent code changes for housing, supportive housing, ADU’s, Middle Housing, affordable housing strategies, and local government case studies.

When: Dec. 14, 2023, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Where: Online via Zoom.

Commerce is partnering with the Thurston Regional Planning Council and the Municipal Research and Services Center to bring you workshops on various planning topics to support jurisdictions with updates due in 2025.  You can read more about it with our December Workshop Flyer (PDF).

Each workshop in the series will feature a different periodic update topic. Stay tuned to the periodic update webpage for future workshop information and registration. Questions? Contact Suzanne Austin, Senior Planner, at


Fall Planners' Forum schedule coming soon

The Planners’ Forums are quarterly events held regionally across Washington state and in partnership with both the Washington APA and the Planners Association of Washington. Each one features guest speakers discussing planning related topics in association with the guidelines set down by the American Planning Association. While regionally focused, the forums are typically on Zoom and available for statewide attendance. You can learn more on the Planners’ Forums webpage.

  • EA Washington Fall Planners’ Forum – Nov. 29, 2023, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. Register Now.

Remember, folks needing American Planning Association (AICP) credits will receive credits for attending based on topics covered. Learn more about Commerce’s regional forums at the Growth Management Planners' Forum webpage.


The Short Course on local planning

The Short Course 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.

Online (Zoom) courses:

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.