Skip to main content
This section is included in your selections.

Countywide Planning Policies (CPPs) establish a countywide framework for developing and adopting county, city, and town comprehensive plans. These comprehensive plans are the long-term policy documents used by each jurisdiction to plan for its future. They include strategies for land use, housing, capital facilities, utilities, transportation, economic development, and parks and recreation (as well as a rural element for counties only) (RCW 36.70A.070). The role of the CPPs is to coordinate comprehensive plans of jurisdictions in the same county in regard to regional issues and issues affecting common borders (RCW 36.70A.100). Under state law, RCW 36.70A.210(1) describes the relationship between comprehensive plans and CPPs. It says that a countywide planning policy is:

a written policy statement or statements used solely for establishing a countywide framework from which county and city comprehensive plans are developed and adopted pursuant to this chapter. This framework shall ensure that city and county comprehensive plans are consistent as required in RCW 36.70A.100. Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the land use powers of cities.

Washington Administrative Code (WAC 365-196-510) also provides guidance, stating that:

interjurisdictional consistency should be met by the adoption of comprehensive plans, and subsequent amendments, which are consistent with and carry out the relevant county-wide planning policies and, where applicable, the relevant multicounty planning policies. Adopted county-wide planning policies are designed to ensure that county and city comprehensive plans are consistent.

Snohomish County Tomorrow (SCT), the body that recommends the CPPs to the County Council, outlines that the goal of the CPPs is:

[To] more clearly distinguish between the roles and responsibilities of the county, cities, Tribes, state and other governmental agencies in managing Snohomish County’s future growth, and to ensure greater interjurisdictional cooperation and coordination in the provision of services.1

1Snohomish County Tomorrow Long-Term Goals, 1990, Government Roles and Responsibilities, pg 17.

To meet this SCT goal, some of the CPPs do more than meet the Growth Management Act (GMA) mandate of ensuring consistency of comprehensive plans. The CPPs also provide direction to Snohomish County jurisdictions that is necessary for the coordinated implementation of GMA goals and the Multicounty Planning Policies (MPPs) within VISION 2050. Thus, in the context of state law, administrative guidance, and the goals of Snohomish County Tomorrow, the CPPs have been developed to accomplish the following functions:

Ensure consistency between County and city comprehensive plans as required by RCW 36.70A.100;

Satisfy other GMA mandates;

Continue cooperative countywide planning, through Snohomish County Tomorrow (SCT) for countywide initiatives;

Provide direction to Snohomish County jurisdictions for the coordinated implementation of the Multicounty Planning Policies in VISION 2050; and

Support local implementation of the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) in VISION 2050 that seeks to promote compact urban development, protect rural and resource lands, maximize use of existing and planned infrastructure, and provide open space.

The CPPs encourage flexibility in local interpretations to support diverse interests throughout the county. Through the process of updates to their comprehensive plans, each individual jurisdiction will update General Policy Plans (GPPs) and corresponding regulations that are tailored to local needs while still maintaining consistency with these Countywide Planning Policies.