Regional Growth Planning

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The process to update the regional, county, and city plans for growth is well underway in the Puget Sound region. Forecasts show the region needs to plan for 1.8 million additional people and 1.2 million new jobs by 2050. The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) adopted an updated regional plan for managing growth, known as VISION 2050 in October 2020. VISION 2050 will inform countywide growth targets and city comprehensive plans.


City staff will update this page as the regional growth planning process progresses.


The process to update the regional, county, and city plans for growth is well underway in the Puget Sound region. Forecasts show the region needs to plan for 1.8 million additional people and 1.2 million new jobs by 2050. The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) adopted an updated regional plan for managing growth, known as VISION 2050 in October 2020. VISION 2050 will inform countywide growth targets and city comprehensive plans.


City staff will update this page as the regional growth planning process progresses.


  • Growth Targets Under Development

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    King County is now working with cities, towns and annexation areas to plan for growth within the county and to update the Countywide Planning Policies (CPPs). As a part of this process, the County is using the regional growth strategy identified as a part of VISION 2050 to allocate growth to each regional geography, including metropolitan and core cities, high capacity transit communities, cities and towns, urban unincorporated areas and rural areas. The jurisdictions in each of these regional geographies are caucusing to allocate this growth amongst the individual jurisdictions. Housing and employment targets will be identified for each jurisdiction and the jurisdictions will then need to update local policies and regulations to provide sufficient capacity to accommodate this growth. This is accomplished through the required update to each jurisdiction's Comprehensive Plan, which is due to be completed by June 2024, as well as subsequent updates to local regulations to implement Comprehensive Plan policies.

    Mercer Island is considered a high capacity transit (HCT) community and is caucusing with the other HCT jurisdictions to establish draft targets for housing and employment growth. These targets will be incorporated into King County's CPPs and will be approved by the Growth Management Planning Council (GMPC), adopted by the King County Council and later ratified by each jurisdiction. Approval of the CPPs by the GMPC is planned in June 2021. The City plans to begin the Comprehensive Plan update process in the Summer of 2022. An 18-24-month process is anticipated, including significant public outreach and engagement.

  • VISION 2050 Adopted

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    The Puget Sound Regional Council adopted VISION 2050 in October 2020. This planning document maps out the region's strategy for growth over the next 30 years.

  • Update: VISION 2050, King County, Mercer Island

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    VISION 2050

    On December 5, 2019 the Growth Management Policy Board (GMPB), which is an advisory board for the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) recommended adoption of the draft VISION 2050 Plan. On March 18, 2020, PSRC released its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) – this document is intended to inform decision makers on the anticipated impacts, and possible mitigation, of the new VISION 2050 plan. The draft plan is now under review by the PSRC Executive Board, and it is anticipated that the General Assembly of PSRC will take action on VISION 2050 in May of 2020. For more information on PSRC’s Vision 2050, please visit their website: https://www.psrc.org/vision.

    VISION 2050 establishes regional policies that govern growth in the four county region (King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Kitsap). A copy of the current draft of Vision 2050, is available here: https://www.psrc.org/sites/default/files/draft-vision2050-plan.pdf. The Multicounty Planning Policies (MPPs) are required (RCW 36.70A.210) by the Growth Management Act (GMA); all four counties must adopt Countywide Planning Policies (CPPs) that are consistent with the policy direction of Vision 2050. In turn, the City of Mercer Island will need to adopt Comprehensive Plan policies that are consistent with the CPPs and MPPs – this adoption should occur with major update to the Mercer Island Comprehensive Plan.

    Both sets of regional policies (MPPs and CPPs) describe the approach that the region will take in planning for additional growth and provide high level direction. For example, a policy in the Multicounty Planning Policies (MPPs) might read: "Attract 65% of the region’s residential growth and 75% of the region’s employment growth to the regional growth centers and high-capacity transit station areas to realize the multiple public benefits of compact growth around high-capacity transit investments." A corresponding Countywide Planning Policy (CPP) will take this a step further, allocating specific growth targets to individual jurisdictions. Eventually, the Mercer Island's Comprehensive Plan will describe how the City's share of the growth target will be managed on Mercer Island. The graphic below (VISION 2050), illustrates this policy approach:

    King County

    King County is currently in the process of preparing draft CPPs to be reviewed by the Growth Management Planning Council (GMPC), which is an advisory board to the King County Council and is comprised of elected officials from King County, Seattle, Bellevue, other cities and towns in King County (including Mercer Island), special purpose districts, and the Port of Seattle. Currently, King County anticipates adoption of the CPPs in late 2020 or possibly early 2021. The King County CPPs will address a number of policy subjects, including the provision of public services, affordable housing, and growth targets.

    City of Mercer Island

    The City of Mercer Island will engage in a major update of the Mercer Island Comprehensive Plan as required by GMA. This major update was originally due by June 2023, however the Washington State Legislature extended this deadline to June 2024 with the passage of HB 2342 in mid-March 2020. The change to the deadline will likely affect the timeline for the adoption of the King County CPPs and the subsequent adoption of the Mercer Island Comprehensive Plan major update.

  • VISION 2050 Open House Boards

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    Where will the region grow?

    For those that were unable to attend the recent VISION 2050 Open Houses, hosted by Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), we have obtained a copy of the presentation boards. These boards give a good overview of the information in the draft VISION 2050 plan. As a reminder, commenting on the draft plan is open until September 16, 2019.


    Submit Comments To PSRC


  • VISION 2050 Open Houses

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    Next week the Puget Sound Regional Council will host two open houses on the draft VISION 2050 plan. The open houses will be a great opportunity for the public to learn more about the draft plan and to provide comments directly to PSRC. In addition, the Mercer Island City Council and Planning Commission will hold a joint study session on August 20 to discuss VISION 2050 and the city's approach to the larger regional growth planning effort.

    Come join us in Seattle and Bellevue! PSRC is hosting open houses on the newly released draft of VISION 2050 on Monday August 12 and Tuesday August 13.

    VISION 2050 will be the region’s plan to guide growth, enhance quality of life, and support a robust local economy. We want to hear from you! Drop in, have a cookie, and speak with planners about your ideas to create a livable region for everyone in the decades to come.

    Bellevue Open House
    Where: Bellevue Library – 1111 110th Avenue NE, Bellevue 98004
    When: Monday, August 12, 2019
    What:
    Part 1: Afternoon Facilitated Workshop from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
    Hear a brief overview of VISION 2050 and join in small group facilitated discussions focused on key policy areas, with the opportunity to rotate to different groups.
    Part 2: Evening Drop-In Open House from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
    Drop in to learn about VISION 2050 at your own pace. PSRC staff will give a brief presentation on the draft plan at 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. and will be available to answer questions.

    Seattle Open House
    Where: Seattle Union Station – 401 S Jackson Street, Seattle 98104
    When: Tuesday, August 13, 2019
    What:
    Part 1: Afternoon Facilitated Workshop from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.
    Hear a brief overview of VISION 2050 and join in small group facilitated discussions focused on key policy areas, with the opportunity to rotate to different groups.
    Part 2: Evening Drop-In Open House from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
    Drop in to learn about VISION 2050 at your own pace. PSRC staff will give a brief presentation on the draft plan at 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. and will be available to answer questions.

    Can’t make it out next week? Join us at one of our other events or access our draft for VISION 2050 and leave your comments on our website. The public comment period on the draft VISION 2050 will run through September 16, 2019.

  • Urban Growth Capacity Study

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    As a part of the regional planning process, King County Growth Management Planning Council is leading an effort to update the Urban Growth Capacity Study. The study analyzes the growth and development that has occured in King County over the last 10 years. It will also estimate the capacity for additional growth going forward. The study is intended to support growth management and comprehensive planning through review and evaluation. In support of required updates to local Comprehensive Plans in 2023, the study is due to the Department of Commerce in June 2021. King County jurisdictions are completing this effort in advance of this deadline to allow more time to incorporate findings from the Urban Growth Capacity Study in their comprehensive plans.

    Each jurisdiction in King County must submit data to assist with Urban Growth Capacity analysis. Last month, the City of Mercer Island submitted the first piece of this data, an analysis of the growth, new development and overall density of the island. You can review the data the city submitted here:

    Urban Growth Capacity Report - Part 1

    City staff are now working to prepare the next piece of data, an analysis of the existing zoned capacity for additional development. Staff are working to estimate how many additional units could feasibly be constructed in the future under existing zoning and development regulations. This data analysis will be completed in the coming months and submitted to King County.


  • Draft VISION 2050 available for public comment

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    The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) has released the draft VISION 2050 plan for public review and comment. VISION 2050 is the regional guide for managing growth to support thriving communities, a strong economy and a healthy environment. Forecasts show the region needs to plan for another 1.8 million people, reaching a population of 5.8 million by 2050. The draft plan is a regional strategy for how and where we grow through 2050. The plan contains the region's multicounty planning policies and actions which will guide local planning for accommodating growth.

    VISION 2050 has an ambitious goal of attracting 65% of population growth to the region’s growth centers and high-capacity transit station areas, leveraging investments in public transit throughout the region. Growth in more compact, walkable, transit-served locations will help reduce environmental impacts, lessen congestion, and improve health outcomes while creating vibrant, attractive neighborhoods where people can live, work, and play.

    The public comment period will be open until Monday, September 16, 2019 at 5:00pm (comment here). PSRC has provided a number of ways to learn about the draft VISION 2050 plan and provide feedback, including public workshops that will be held in Bellevue on August 12 and in Seattle on August 13.


    How to learn more:


    Submit Comments To PSRC

  • Road Map To Washington's Future - Report Released by Ruckelshaus Center

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    The William D. Ruckelshaus Center at the University of Washington was tasked in 2017 by the Washington State Legislature with a two-year project to articulate a vision of Washington's desired future. The project sought to identify additions, revisions and clarifications to the state's growth management and planning framework needed to reach that vision of the future. The Ruckelshaus Center team embarked on a huge community engagement effort, gathering information and hearing from about 2,500 individuals, including nearly 400 elected officials. The result is the final report, Road Map to Washington's Future, that was launched this week.

    The Road Map to Washington’s Future project was about listening. The voices of participants were heard through 67 workshops in 26 locations across the State, 147 individual interviews, questionnaires, letters, reports, and other documents. Participants shared their stories, lived experiences, ideas, and recommendations about a desired future, and what parts of the growth planning framework are working or not working in their communities, regions, and the State.

    The Ruckelshaus Center Team synthesized the wealth of information and insights collected from participants, in order to develop and communicate potential pathways to the future. Regardless of participants’ specific interests and orientation, there were some common threads in their views: that issues need to be addressed as systems and not silos; that political will and leadership across political boundaries is needed to respond to change and consider new approaches; that the diverse regions of the State are actually interdependent and significantly impact each other; and that greater understanding of these impacts and interdependence is needed.

    Section IV of the report identifies six actions that could create transformational and systemic change to improve the current growth planning framework. The six action areas are:

    1. Funding and Revenue Generation
    2. Adaptive Planning at a Regional Scale
    3. Resilience to Changing Conditions and Disasters
    4. Statewide Water Planning
    5. Equity
    6. Economic Development

    Where there was widespread interest in change, the team also distilled participants’ ideas into a number of key near term reforms . Section V of the report details 25 key reforms to improve the existing growth framework. These key reforms reflect areas of common interest from participants that, if addressed, could have positive “ripple effects” throughout the current growth planning framework.

    The Ruckelshaus Center team will host a series of open houses to provide information and answer questions about the report. The first one will be on July 17th from 1pm-5pm at the WSU Energy Office in Olympia WA, 905 Plum Street # 3. Please click here to RSVP - space is limited. They are also planning to have two open houses, most likely in September at the University of Washington, Seattle and Washington State University in Spokane.

  • Regional Growth Planning Timeline

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    This timeline is meant to illustrate how state, regional, county and city planning processes come together to plan for regional growth. Currently, the City of Mercer Island is focused on commenting on the Draft SEIS for VISION 2050. Later this summer, the Puget Sound Regional Council will release the draft VISION 2050 plan for review and comment. In addition, city staff are providing data to King County to assist in the Urban Growth Capacity Analysis. This effort will assess the zoning capacity for additional development in communities across King County. This information will inform the development of growth targets for each community beginning in 2020.


  • Updating the Regional Growth Strategy

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    VISION 2040 is the region’s current plan for managing growth forecasted through the year 2040. The plan includes overarching goals, an environmental framework, a strategy to sustainably guide growth in the region, and multicounty planning policies as required by the state Growth Management Act (GMA). The plan also includes implementation actions at the regional, county, and local levels. VISION 2040 was adopted in 2008, and the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) is now in the process of updating the plan.


    The updated plan will be known as VISION 2050. The update will consider the best approach to managing growth with a projected 1.8 million additional people and 1.2 million new jobs by 2050. The update process will continue through the coming year, with adoption planned for May, 2020.


    The process of developing VISION 2050 includes considering three distinct regional growth alternatives:
    • Stay the Course
    • Transit Focused Growth
    • Reset Urban Growth

    Each of these three alternatives distributes growth in unique patterns that have different trade-offs. PSRC recently released the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for review. This is the environmental review of the draft VISION 2050 plan, and it analyzes the environmental effects of the three alternatives. The Draft SEIS shows a range of land use, transportation, environmental, and other impacts that would likely occur with each of these alternatives and identifies opportunities to mitigate them.

    The City of Mercer Island is seeking feedback from the community on the SEIS to inform the City's formal comments on the draft. Please use the comment form to submit your comments. Comments can also be submitted directly to PSRC: https://www.psrc.org/vision-2050-draft-seis-comment-form. Comments are due April 29, 2019.