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Growth Management Act Compliance

Limited Areas of More Intensive Rural Development

NOTICE: Thurston County has completed the LAMRID designation process.

farm property near homesThurston County has completed the LAMRID designation project, and all 63 of the County’s LAMRIDs are compliant with the Growth Management Act.  On September 4, 2008 the Thurston County Superior Court reversed the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board (WWGMHB) compliance order for Rochester LAMRID No. 57.  The court found that Thurston County’s original decision on the Rochester LAMRID boundary was correct.  On October 23, 2008, the WWGMHB entered a decision that found Thurston County compliant with regards to the Rochester LAMRID. 

As a result of the decision, Thurston County allowed interim Resolution No. 14045 and Ordinance No. 14044 to expire on October 7, 2008.  The Comprehensive Plan amendment and associated development regulations adopted with Resolution No. 13833 and Ordinance No. 13834 for Rochester LAMRID No. 57 are now in effect.

The following changes are a result of the expiration of the interim amendments:

  • The 344 acres removed from the Rochester LAMRID No. 57 boundary, and the properties in LAMRID No. 64 have been added back to Rochester LAMRID No. 57.  
  • As a result LAMIRD No. 64 is no longer a designated LAMIRD.
  •  The 344 acres changed to Rural Residential Resource 1/5 revert back to Rural LAMRID One Unit per Acre on the Comprehensive Plan Map M-15 Future Land Use and Official Zoning Map, Thurston County Washington.

Related Documents

What is a LAMRID?

A “Limited Area of More Intensive Rural Development”, or LAMIRD, is an area within the unincorporated rural county that is developed at a density too intense to be considered rural development. In Thurston County LAMIRDs are developed at a density of either one dwelling unit per one acre (1:1), one dwelling unit per two acres (1:2), or two dwelling units per one acre (2:1). The State Growth Management Act (GMA) requires LAMIRD designation to prevent additional low-density sprawl in the rural area by minimizing and containing the higher density areas.

When Did Thurston County Designate Its LAMRIDs?

Final LAMIRD boundaries, zoning districts, and associated development regulations were adopted via Ordinance No. 13834 and Resolution No. 13833 on June 18, 2007 by the Thurston County Board of Commissioners. 

Why did Thurston County designate LAMIRDs?

On July 20, 2005, the WWGMHB ruled that Thurston County’s Comprehensive Plan and development regulations did not comply with the GMA. One issue the WWGMHB sited for non-compliance was the County’s rural residential zoning districts and policies that allowed more than one dwelling unit per five acres. The WWGMHB found that these higher density areas must be designated as LAMIRDs as required by RCW 36.70A.070(5)(d). If these areas did not meet the LAMIRD criteria then they had to be rezoned to rural densities.

How did Thurston County designate its LAMIRDs?

Thurston County completed an analysis of each area in the rural County zoned at densities greater than one dwelling unit per five acres (1:5). The analysis used GMA LAMIRD criteria contained in RCW 36.70A.070(5)(d) to determine if these areas qualified as LAMIRDs. Boundaries were drawn around areas that met LAMIRD criteria and those areas outside of the boundaries were proposed for rezoning to rural densities. Staff then took the proposed amendments through the Planning Commission and BOCC review processes, which included public workshops, forums, open houses, and hearings. In 2007 these processes were completed and LAMIRD boundaries were determined. Parcels that did not qualify for inclusion in LAMIRDs were rezoned to 1 dwelling unit per 5 acres, 1 dwelling unit per 10 acres, or 1 dwelling unit per 20 acres.

The following is a summary of the criteria for designating a LAMIRD:

  • The development was in existence by July 1, 1990, the date that the State Growth Management Act was adopted. Existing development includes buildings or infrastructure such as public utilities.
  • The existing development was in place to serve the rural population with minimal infill potential.
  • The building size, scale, use, or intensity of development is consistent with the character of the existing area.
  • A logical outer boundary can be drawn around the LAMIRD to prevent low-density sprawl and preserve rural character.

Contact Us

Interested Parties: If you would like to be added to our Web Mail list, please click here. Staff contacts: Jeremy Davis, Associate Planner. Phone: (360) 754-3355, x7010 / E-mail: davisj@co.thurston.wa.us; or Christy Osborn, Associate Planner, (360) 754-3355 ext. 5477 / E-mail: osbornc@co.thurston.wa.us.

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