Comprehensive Plan Periodic Review

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The WA State Growth Management Act (GMA) requires the City of Mercer Island to periodically review and update its comprehensive plan. The Comprehensive Plan is the City's statement of vision, goals, and policies for managing growth in a twenty-year timeframe. The primary focus of this periodic review is to update the Comprehensive Plan for the period of 2024-2044.

This project website will provide regular updates on the Comprehensive Plan periodic review process.

The WA State Growth Management Act (GMA) requires the City of Mercer Island to periodically review and update its comprehensive plan. The Comprehensive Plan is the City's statement of vision, goals, and policies for managing growth in a twenty-year timeframe. The primary focus of this periodic review is to update the Comprehensive Plan for the period of 2024-2044.

This project website will provide regular updates on the Comprehensive Plan periodic review process.

  • City Council Approved the Scope of Work, Master Schedule, and Public Participation Plan with Resolution 1621

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    On March 15, the City Council approved Resolution 1621, which set the scope of work, master schedule, and public participation plan for the Comprehensive Plan update. This is an important first step for the project. Now that the scope of work and public participation plan have been approved, work may begin on the Comprehensive Plan update.

    Read the approved scope of work and master schedule here.

    Read the approved public participation plan here.

    The next step for this project is a kick off with the Planning Commission at their regular meeting on April 27, 2022, at 6:00 PM. The project kick off will include the selection of commissioners to serve on the Housing and Economic Development Work Groups

  • City Council Preparing Project Scope and Public Participation Plan

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    Scope of Work and Master Schedule (first draft)

    Public Participation Plan (first draft)

    The City is in the process of preparing a project scope of work and public participation plan for the Comprehensive Plan periodic review. The scope of work establishes what work will be done during the periodic review. Comments on the first draft scope of work, master schedule, and public participation plan are due by the end-of-day on March 1, 2022. Post comments here.

    Scope of Work

    Staff has prepared the first draft scope of work outlining a focused “surgical” update of the Plan. The concept is to have a narrow scope, primarily limited to only those updates required by state law. As such, the element-specific tasks for the Land Use, Utilities, Capital Facilities, and Transportation Elements are primarily constrained to only those updates required by the GMA and to account for recent planning actions. There are two aspects of the Plan update that will include more extensive goal and policy work beyond the technical updates elsewhere in the Plan. In depth goal and policy review will take place during work on drafting a new Economic Development Element and amendments to housing goals and policies to address the findings in the Housing Needs Assessment.

    Master Schedule

    Establishing a schedule at the outset of the project will help the City stay on track for adoption by the projected date. Throughout the project, staff will use the schedule to check in on progress toward eventual adoption. This project is expected to take approximately 2 years commencing this spring and concluding with City Council adoption in April 2024 and filing with appropriate agencies in May 2024. Most of 2022 and 2023 will be spent preparing technical analyses and drafting amendments with the Planning Commission culminating in public workshops in the late summer and fall of 2023. The project will then enter the public hearing phase at the end of 2023. The Planning Commission public hearing and deliberations are planned to take approximately 3 months from September to November 2023. The City Council review process will begin after the Planning Commission makes a recommendation. The Council review will include a public hearing and is expected to take roughly 4 months from January to April 2024.

    Public Participation Plan

    Public participation is a vital aspect of the periodic review process. Public participation improves the planning process by gathering the shared knowledge and experience of the community and fostering public confidence in the proposed Plan amendments. The public participation plan (PPP) details the engagement goals, tasks, phases, and schedule for public participation during the Plan update. The draft PPP is provided in Exhibit 2.

    The PPP details the following strategies for engaging the public during the periodic review:

    • A dedicated public comment email address (comp.plan@mercerisland.gov) for the public to provide written comments throughout the project;
    • A dedicated project Let’s Talk Page where drafts and written public comments will be posted;
    • An economic development vision survey to identify high-level themes that the Economic Development Element vision, goals, and policies should address;
    • An economic development vision community workshop to gather more input on the themes identified in the survey;
    • An Economic Development Work Group (EDWG) to engage with stakeholders and subject matter experts while refining drafts of the Economic Development Element. The EDWG will be composed of both City Council and Planning Commission members;
    • A Housing Work Group (HWG) to engage stakeholders and subject matter experts while refining drafts of housing goal and policy amendments. The HWG will be composed of both City Council and Planning Commission members;
    • An economic development community workshop to receive feedback on the draft Economic Development Element in advance of the Planning Commission public hearing;
    • An overall Comprehensive Plan Update community workshop to gather public input on the proposed Plan amendments in advance of the Planning Commission public hearing; and,
    • Public hearings preceding adoption.

    Key Dates

    • February 15 - City Council briefing
    • February 16 – Planning Commission briefing.
    • March 1 – Questions, comments and/or requested revisions from City Council and Planning Commission due.
    • March 15 – City Council considers requested revisions and adopts a resolution approving the scope, master schedule, and public participation plan for completing this periodic update.

    Public Comments

    Comments on the first draft scope of work, master schedule, and public participation plan are due by March 1, 2022. Please post public comments here.

  • Putting the Comprehensive Plan in Context

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    The Mercer Island Comprehensive Plan (Plan) is shaped by a combination of state, regional, county, and local contexts. State laws require the City to adopt a comprehensive plan and create the framework within which the Plan must fit. The Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) coordinates planning throughout the central Puget Sound region. King County coordinates planning among cities in the County, ensuring plans are consistent throughout the area. The City of Mercer Island has a long history of planning at the local level; a legacy that shapes the Plan to this day. The state, regional, county, and local contexts influence the Plan in different ways.

    Statewide Planning Context

    The Washington State Legislature adopted the Growth Management Act (GMA) in 1990. The GMA establishes a requirement that counties and cities adopt comprehensive plans to manage growth. The GMA also includes a timeline for counties and cities to periodically review their comprehensive plans (RCW 36.70A.130). During periodic review, counties and cities must extend the twenty-year planning period in their comprehensive plans. Other GMA requirements establish a statewide framework for counties and cities to plan for managing growth. Some of the key GMA requirements are:

    • Consistency with the 14 coequal planning goals established in RCW 36.70A.020 and 36.70A.480(1);
    • Comprehensive plans must include land use, housing, utilities, capital facilities, transportation, economic development, and parks and recreation elements (RCW 36.70A.070);
    • Plans must designate natural resource lands and critical areas, rural lands, and urban growth areas (UGAs);
    • Cities and counties must provide sufficient development capacity to accommodate the projected growth (RCW 36.70A.115);
    • Comprehensive Plans must include provisions to ensure that public facilities and infrastructure keep pace with the projected growth;
    • Comprehensive plans must be internally consistent, avoiding goals and policies that work at cross-purposes; and
    • Comprehensive plans must be externally consistent so that growth assumptions and targets are coordinated between neighboring jurisdictions.

    Regional Planning Context

    The PSRC is a regional policy body that develops policies and coordinates decisions about regional growth within King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap Counties. The PSRC allocates growth throughout the region through its multicounty planning policies. The multicounty planning policies regarding growth for the next periodic review are established in a regional plan called Vision 2050. The multicounty planning policies in Vision 2050 are one of the principal ways PSRC coordinates planning at the regional level.

    Countywide Planning Context

    King County coordinates planning throughout the County through Countywide Planning Policies (CPPs). The CPPs establish housing and employment growth targets for the cities within King County. The King County Council updated the CPPs on December 14, 2021, with Ordinance 19384. The updated CPPs established the following growth targets for Mercer Island: 1,239 additional housing units and 1,300 additional jobs by 2044. The 2044 housing growth target did not change from the previous 2035 target. The 2044 employment growth target increased by 140 jobs over the 2035 employment growth target.

    In addition to setting growth targets, King County assesses the amount of development capacity for UGAs within its boundaries. The 2044 development capacity for King County UGAs is provided in the 2021 King County Urban Growth Capacity Report (UGC Report), dated June 21, 2021. The UGC Report details how much development is possible in UGAs given current zoning, achieved densities and intensities, existing development, planned development, and environmental constraints. This report is crucial to help King County and its cities understand how much development is possible through the planning period. The CPPs and UGC Report are two important ways King County coordinates assumptions about growth among the cities within its boundaries.

    Local Context

    The City of Mercer Island has a long history of planning. The City's first comprehensive plan was adopted shortly after the City incorporated in 1960 (Ordinance 14). The City of Mercer Island adopted its first GMA compliant Comprehensive Plan 34 years later in 1994 (Ordinance A-122). The City’s Comprehensive Plan has been amended several times since 1994. The last periodic review of the Plan was completed in 2015. The existing Comprehensive Plan planning period is 2015 to 2035. The next mandated periodic review of the Mercer Island Comprehensive Plan must be adopted by June 30, 2024 (RCW 36.70A.130). This periodic review will extend the planning period for the Comprehensive Plan through the year 2044. Because the 2044 housing growth target has not changed and the 2044 employment growth target only increased by 140 jobs since the last periodic review, the Plan update is generally expected to require only minor changes to maintain compliance with GMA.

Page last updated: 19 May 2022, 08:55 AM