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Appendix G – Definitions of Key Terms

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Activity Unit: A measure of total activity that combines the number of jobs and population.

Affordable Housing: The generally accepted definition of housing affordability is for a household to pay no more than 30 percent of its annual income on housing (HUD).

Buildable Lands Report: A Buildable Lands Report (BLR) analyzes the urban development that has occurred since the adoption of the previous Growth Management Act comprehensive plans. Using this information, the report evaluates the adequacy of the land supply in the Urban Growth Area to accommodate the remaining portions of the projected growth. In this sense, a BLR “looks back” to compare planned vs. actual urban densities to determine whether the original plan assumptions were accurate. (See GF-7 and RCW 36.70A.215.)

Built Environment: Refers to the human-created surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging from large-scale civic districts, commercial and industrial buildings, to neighborhoods and individual homes.

Centers: A defined focal area within a city or community that is a priority for local planning and infrastructure. VISION 2050 and the CPPs identify mixed-use centers, which have a mix of housing, employment, retail and entertainment uses and are served by multiple transportation options. Industrial centers concentrate and preserve manufacturing and industrial lands. Regional centers are formally designated by PSRC, countywide centers are formally identified by the CPPs, and local centers are designated by local comprehensive plans.

City: Any city or town, including a code city. [RCW 36.70A.030(3)]

Clean Energy: Energy derived through renewable, zero emission sources.

Consistency: The definitions and descriptions of the term "consistency" contained in the Growth Management Act procedural criteria Chapter 365-196-210(8) Washington Administrative Code, and as further refined in statute, Growth Management Hearings Board decisions and court decisions should be used to determine consistency between jurisdictions' comprehensive plans.

Countywide Center: Countywide growth centers serve important roles as places for concentrating jobs, housing, shopping, and recreational opportunities. Countywide industrial centers serve as important local industrial areas. Countywide centers are designated in Appendix I of this document.

Displacement: The involuntary relocation of current residents or businesses from their current residence. This is a different phenomenon than when property owners voluntarily sell their interests to capture an increase in value. Physical displacement is the result of eviction, acquisition, rehabilitation, or demolition of property, or the expiration of covenants on rent- or income-restricted housing. Economic displacement occurs when residents and businesses can no longer afford escalating housing costs. Cultural displacement occurs when people choose to move because their neighbors and culturally related businesses have left the area.

Economic Infrastructure: The combination of economic activity, institutions (e.g. banks, investment firms, research and development organizations, and education providers) and physical infrastructure – such as transportation systems – that support economic activity.

Environmentally Sensitive Development Practice: Practices intended to limit the environmental impacts and energy use associated with development, such as low-impact development.

Environmentally Sensitive Housing Development: The development of housing that is designed such that it yields environmental benefits, such as savings in energy, building materials, and water consumption, or reduced waste generation.

Equity: All people can attain the resources and opportunities that improve their quality of life and enable them to reach full potential. Those affected by poverty, communities of color, and historically marginalized communities are engaged in decision-making processes, planning, and policy making. Also referred to as “social equity”.

Essential public facilities: Those facilities that are typically difficult to site, such as airports, state education facilities and state or regional transportation facilities as defined in RCW 47.06.140, state and local correctional facilities, solid waste handling facilities, and in-patient facilities including substance abuse facilities, mental health facilities, group homes, and secure community transition facilities as defined in RCW 71.09.020. [RCW 36.70A.200(1)]

Greenhouse Gas: Components of the atmosphere which contribute to global warming, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. Human activities have added to the levels of most of these naturally occurring gases.

Growth Target: The number of residents, housing, or jobs that a jurisdiction is expected to plan for in its comprehensive plan. Growth targets are set by countywide planning groups for counties and cities to meet the Growth Management Act requirement to allocate urban growth that is projected for the succeeding twenty-year period (RCW 36.70A.110).

Historically Marginalized Communities: Include, but are not limited to, native and Indigenous peoples, people of color, immigrants and refugees, people with low incomes, those with disabilities and health conditions, and people with limited English proficiency.

Jobs-Housing Balance: A planning concept which advocates that housing and employment be located closer together, with an emphasis on matching housing options with nearby jobs, so workers have shorter commutes or can eliminate vehicle trips altogether.

Jurisdictions: County and city governments (when used in a policy).

Land Capacity Analysis: A land capacity analysis focuses on the reestablishment of a new 20-year urban land supply for accommodating the urban growth targets. As such, it fulfills the Growth Management Act “show your work” requirement for the sizing of Urban Growth Areas for future growth. (See DP-1 and RCW 36.70A.110(2))

Living Wage Jobs: Jobs that pay enough to meet the basic needs and costs of supporting a family or individual independently. Factors for determining living-wage jobs include housing, food, transportation, utilities, health care, child care, and recreation.

May: The actions described in the policy are either advisable or are allowed. “May” gives permission and implies a preference. Because “may” does not have a directive meaning, there is no expectation the described action will be implemented.

Moderate Density Housing: A classification of housing type that has densities greater than what would ordinarily be seen in single-family neighborhoods, but less than in more intensive high density multifamily development. Moderate density housing includes, but is not limited to, duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, walkup apartments, and accessory dwelling units. Moderate density housing is often referred to as “missing middle housing”.

Municipality: In the context of these Countywide Planning Policies, municipalities include cities, towns, and counties.

Public facilities: Streets, roads, highways, sidewalks, street and road lighting systems, traffic signals, domestic water systems, storm and sanitary sewer systems, parks and recreational facilities, and schools. [RCW 36.70A.030(17)]

Shall: Implementation of the policy is mandatory and imparts a higher degree of substantive direction than “should”. “Shall” is used for policies that repeat State of Washington requirements or where the intent is to mandate action. However, “shall” can not be used when it is largely a subjective determination whether a policy’s objective has been met.

Should: Implementation of the policy is expected but its completion is not mandatory. The policy is directive with substantive meaning, although to a lesser degree than “shall” for two reasons. (1) “Should” policies recognize the policy might not be applicable or appropriate for all municipalities due to special circumstances. The decision to not implement a “should” policy is appropriate only if implementation of the policy is either inappropriate or not feasible. (2) Some should policies are subjective; hence, it is not possible to demonstrate that a jurisdiction has implemented it.

Social Infrastructure: The underlying institutions, community organizations, and safety networks that support society in general and local service standards and delivery in particular.

Special Needs Housing: Affordable housing for persons that require special assistance or supportive care to subsist or achieve independent living, including but not limited to persons that are frail, elderly, developmentally disabled, chronically mentally ill, physically handicapped, homeless, persons participating in substance abuse programs, persons with AIDS, and youth at risk.