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Growth Management Act Compliance

Rural Rezoning

NOTICE: Rural Rezoning Amendments Adopted

On August 20, 2007 the Thurston County Board of Commissioners adopted Resolution No. 13885 amending the Thurston County Comprehensive Plan and Ordinance No. 13886 amending the Thurston County Zoning Map and development regulations to create a greater variety of rural densities consistent with the Growth Management Act.

New Thurston County Zoning Map (PDF, 10.3 Mb): Reflecting the changes to the Thurston County Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Map, and Development Regulations made on August 20, 2007.

Three new zoning districts were created. They include a Rural 1 dwelling per 20 acre zone that applies to the Black River corridor, portions of the Nisqually Bluff and scattered parcels completely covered by critical areas. A new Rural 1 dwelling per 10 acre zone applies to the Salmon Creek Basin and land overlying an aquifer contaminated with saltwater near the mouth of Mclane Creek. A new urban reserve 1 dwelling per 5 acre zone applies to the areas along the perimeter of cities and towns that appear to be physically suitable for eventually accommodating urban development when the need arises to expand the UGAs. The new zoning district requires development be configured in a way that enables efficient redevelopment at urban densities when the property is included in an UGA and provided with sewer.

 rural homeBackground Summary

On September 12, 2005, Thurston County appealed the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board’s decision to the Washington State Court of Appeals Division II. On April 3, 2007 the Court of Appeals issued its opinion, which both reversed and sustained the Hearing Board’s July 20, 2005 decision. To read the entire Court of Appeals decision in PDF format click here. On April 5, 2007 the Board of County Commissioners held an executive session to be briefed by legal council regarding the Court of Appeals recent decision. The Board decided to go forward with the Rural Rezoning Project. An Open House was held on May 29, 2007 and a Public Hearing was held on July 2, 2007. The Board held work sessions following the Public Hearing to review the public comments received. On August 20, 2007 the Thurston County Board of Commissioners adopted Resolution No. 13885 amending the Thurston County Comprehensive Plan and Ordinance No. 13886 amending the Thurston County Zoning Map and development regulations to create a greater variety of rural densities consistent with the Growth Management Act.

The Rezoning Process

Click here for more detailed information about the rural rezoning project.

What are Rural Lands?

For the Rural Rezoning project, "rural lands" are areas outside of cities and urban growth areas where urban services are not provided and expected land uses include rural resource-based industries, low-density residential development, and recreation.  Rural lands in Thurston County are primarily zoned 1 house per 5 acres. Rural lands have been found by the Hearings Board to generally exclude lands designated and zoned specifically for long-term resource use, including lands dedicated to long-term mining, agriculture, and forestry (e.g., Capitol Forest). Lands zoned as public preserves (e.g., Millersylvania State Park), Fort Lewis, and tribal lands are not included in the rural lands covered by this project.

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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