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Growth Management Act Compliance

UGA Sizing Evaluation Project

NOTICE: Thurston County Board of Commissioners Take Final Action
on the UGA Sizing Evaluation Project

On March 3, 2008 the Thurston County Board of Commissioners adopted Resolution No. 14034 and Ordinance No. 14035 which amend the Thurston County Comprehensive Plan and the Thurston County Zoning Map. The amendments adopted add policy language regarding the Thurston County Urban Growth Areas (UGA), update the population forecast and allocation data for the County, and adjust the Tumwater UGA boundary to remove a portion of eastern 93rd Ave. 

A Board of County Commissioners public hearing was held on the proposed amendments on November 19, 2007. Following the public hearing the Board held two work sessions on November 21, 2007 and November 24, 2007 to review the testimony and written comments received during the public comment period. Revisions were made to the proposed amendments based on the public comments received. The final adoption took place following the dismissal of UGA Sizing Evaluation project SEPA appeal. 

Urban Growth Areas

In 2005, the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board found that the Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) in Thurston County provide more land than is actually needed to accommodate urban residential growth over the next 20 years (RCW 36.70A.110 ). Thurston County is working with the effected cities to determine the required size and location of its UGAs.

thurston county ugas

The above map shows the County’s current UGAs in yellow.


The 1990 Washington State Growth Management Act requires the state’s fastest growing cities and counties to designate UGAs around each city and town to accommodate the expected population growth over the next 20 years. In Thurston County, UGAs surround Bucoda, Lacey, Olympia, Ranier, Tumwater, Tenino, and Yelm. The current boundaries of the UGAs were established in 1990.

The Urban Growth Area Project

The Hearings Board found that Thurston County’s UGAs and development regulations provide more space than is actually needed to accommodate growth over the next 20-years. Thurston County is now reevaluating the UGAs based on the most recent and accurate population data available in order to determine whether the UGAs need to be redrawn. If the UGAs do, indeed, provide more capacity than is needed, the county will work with the cities, towns, and the public to make appropriate adjustments. 

The Urban Growth Areas project is just one of four projects underway to bring Thurston County into compliance with the Growth Management Act (see navigation bar to the left). It is likely that any required zoning changes will affect the number of people who will need to live in the UGAs. Because of this, the final decisions about UGA sizes will be made after the other projects are almost complete. However, work on the UGA project is beginning now.  An explanation of the process Thurston County will use to determine appropriate sizes and locations of UGAs is available at the following link:

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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