words that say Thurston County

Natural Resources Planning

Conservation Futures Program - RCW Links

The Washington State Legislature first granted the authority for a Conservation Futures tax levy in 1971 when RCW 84.34 was enacted and later amended in 1988.  RCW 84.34.200 declares that the acquisition of interests or rights in real property for the preservation of open spaces and areas constitutes a public purpose for which public funds may properly be expended or advanced.  RCW 84.34.230 declares the county may levy an amount not to exceed 6.25-cents per $1,000 of assessed value of all taxable property within the county for the Conservation Futures Program.

Below you will find text from the RCW as well as links to the actual language:

RCW 84.34 - for the entire text, click here

RCW 84.34.020  Definitions - Below is subsection (1).  For complete text go to the above link.

"Open space land" is defined to mean:
(a) any land area so designated by an official comprehensive land use plan adopted by any city or county and zoned accordingly, or
(b) any land area, the preservation of which in its present use would
(i)   conserve and enhance natural or scenic resources, or
(ii) protect streams or water supply, or (ii) protect streams or water supply, or
(iii) promote conservation of soils, wetlands, beaches or tidal marshes, or
(iv) enhance the value to the public of abutting or neighboring parks, forests, wildlife preserves, nature reservations or sanctuaries or other open space, or
(v) enhance recreation opportunities, or
(vi) preserve historic sites, or
(vii) preserve visual quality along highway, road, and street corridors or scenic vistas, or
(viii) retain in its natural state tracts of land not less than one acre situated in an urban area and open to public use on such conditions as may be reasonably required by the legislative body granting the open space classification, or
(c) any land meeting the definition of farm and agricultural conservation land under subsection (8) of this section. As a condition of granting open space classification, the legislative body may not require public access on land classified under (b)(iii) of this subsection for the purpose of promoting conservation of wetlands.

RCW 84.34.200  Acquisition of open space, etc., land or rights to future development by counties, cities, or metropolitan municipal corporations – legislative declaration – purposes.

The legislature finds that the haphazard growth and spread of urban development is encroaching upon, or eliminating, numerous open areas and spaces of varied size and character, including many devoted to agriculture, the cultivation of timber, and other productive activities, and many others having significant recreational, social, scenic, or esthetic values. Such areas and spaces, if preserved and maintained in their present open state, would constitute important assets to existing and impending urban and metropolitan development, at the same time that they would continue to contribute to the welfare and well-being of the citizens of the state as a whole. The acquisition of interests or rights in real property for the preservation of such open spaces and areas constitutes a public purpose for which public funds may properly be expended or advanced.

RCW 84.34.210  Acquisition of open space, land, or rights to future development by certain entities – authority to acquire – conveyance or lease back.

Defines who may qualify to use the Conservation Futures fund, which is any county, city, town, metropolitan park district, metropolitan municipal corporation, nonprofit historic preservation corporation as defined in RCW 64.04.130, or nonprofit nature conservancy corporation or association, as such are defined in RCW 84.34.250, may acquire by purchase, gift, grant, bequest, devise, lease, or otherwise, except by eminent domain, the fee simple or any lesser interest, development right, easement, covenant, or other contractual right necessary to protect, preserve, maintain, improve, restore, limit the future use of, or otherwise conserve, selected open space land, farm and agricultural land, and timber land as such are defined in chapter 84.34 RCW for public use or enjoyment. Among interests that may be so acquired are mineral rights. Any county, city, town, metropolitan park district, metropolitan municipal corporation, nonprofit historic preservation corporation as defined in RCW 64.04.130, or nonprofit nature conservancy corporation or association, as such are defined in RCW 84.34.250, may acquire such property for the purpose of conveying or leasing the property back to its original owner or other person under such covenants or other contractual arrangements as will limit the future use of the property in accordance with the purposes of chapter 243, Laws of 1971 ex. sess.

RCW 84.34.220  Acquisition of open space, land, or rights to future development by certain entities – development rights – “Conservation futures” – acquisition – restrictions.

In accordance with the authority granted in RCW 84.34.210, a county, city, town, metropolitan park district, metropolitan municipal corporation, nonprofit historic preservation corporation as defined in RCW 64.04.130, or nonprofit nature conservancy corporation or association, as such are defined in RCW 84.34.250, may specifically purchase or otherwise acquire, except by eminent domain, rights in perpetuity to future development of any open space land, farm and agricultural land, and timber land which are so designated under the provisions of chapter 84.34 RCW and taxed at current use assessment as provided by that chapter. For the purposes of chapter 243, Laws of 1971 ex. sess., such developmental rights shall be termed "conservation futures". The private owner may retain the right to continue any existing open space use of the land, and to develop any other open space use, but, under the terms of purchase of conservation futures, the county, city, town, metropolitan park district, metropolitan municipal corporation, nonprofit historic preservation corporation as defined in RCW 64.04.130, or nonprofit nature conservancy corporation or association, as such are defined in RCW 84.34.250, may forbid or restrict building thereon, or may require that improvements cannot be made without county, city, town, metropolitan park district, metropolitan municipal corporation, nonprofit historic preservation corporation as defined in RCW 64.04.130, or nonprofit nature conservancy corporation or association, as such are defined in RCW 84.34.250, permission. The land may be alienated or sold and used as formerly by the new owner, subject to the terms of the agreement made by the county, city, town, metropolitan park district, metropolitan municipal corporation, nonprofit historic preservation corporation as defined in RCW 64.04.130, or nonprofit nature conservancy corporation or association, as such are defined in RCW 84.34.250, with the original owner.

RCW 84.34.230 Acquisition of open space, land, or rights to future development by certain entities – additional property tax levy authorized.

Conservation futures are a useful tool for counties to preserve lands of public interest for future generations. Counties are encouraged to use some conservation futures as one tool for salmon preservation purposes.
For the purpose of acquiring conservation futures and other rights and interests in real property pursuant to RCW 84.34.210 and 84.34.220, and for maintaining and operating any property acquired with these funds, a county may levy an amount not to exceed six and one-quarter cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation against the assessed valuation of all taxable property within the county. The limitations in RCW 84.52.043 shall not apply to the tax levy authorized in this section. Any rights or interests in real property acquired under this section after July 24, 2005, must be located within the assessing county. Further, the county must determine if the rights or interests in real property acquired with these funds would reduce the capacity of land suitable for development necessary to accommodate the allocated housing and employment growth, as adopted in the countywide planning policies. When actions are taken that reduce capacity to accommodate planned growth, the jurisdiction shall adopt reasonable measures to increase the capacity lost by such actions.

RCW 84.34.240 – Acquisition of open space, etc., land or rights to future development by certain entities – Conservation futures fund – Additional Requirements, authority

Conservation futures are a useful tool for counties to preserve lands of public interest for future generations. Counties are encouraged to use some conservation futures as one tool for salmon preservation purposes. 
Below are the most pertinent subsections.  Please go the link above for entire text.
(1) Any board of county commissioners may establish by resolution a special fund which may be termed a conservation futures fund to which it may credit all taxes levied pursuant to RCW 84.34.230. Amounts placed in this fund may be used for the purpose of acquiring rights and interests in real property pursuant to the terms of RCW 84.34.210 and 84.34.220, and for the maintenance and operation of any property acquired with these funds. The amount of revenue used for maintenance and operations of parks and recreational land may not exceed fifteen percent of the total amount collected from the tax levied under RCW 84.34.230 in the preceding calendar year. Revenues from this tax may not be used to supplant existing maintenance and operation funding. Any rights or interests in real property acquired under this section must be located within the assessing county. Further, the county must determine if the rights or interests in real property acquired with these funds would reduce the capacity of land suitable for development necessary to accommodate the allocated housing and employment growth, as adopted in the countywide planning policies. When actions are taken that reduce capacity to accommodate planned growth, the jurisdiction shall adopt reasonable measures to increase the capacity lost by such actions.
(2) In counties greater than one hundred thousand in population, the board of county commissioners or county legislative authority shall develop a process to help ensure distribution of the tax levied under RCW 84.34.230, over time, throughout the county.

RCW 84.34.250  Nonprofit nature conservancy corporation or association defined.

As used in RCW 84.34.210, as now or hereafter amended, RCW 84.34.220, as now or hereafter amended, and RCW 79A.15.010, "nonprofit nature conservancy corporation or association" means an organization which qualifies as being tax exempt under 26 U.S.C. section 501(c) (of the Internal Revenue Code) as it exists on June 25, 1976 and one which has as one of its principal purposes the conducting or facilitating of scientific research; the conserving of natural resources, including but not limited to biological resources, for the general public; or the conserving of open spaces, including but not limited to wildlife habitat to be utilized as public access areas, for the use and enjoyment of the general public.

 

Contact Us

Interested Parties: If you would like to be added to our Web Mail list, please click here. Staff contact: Andrew Deffobis, Associate Planner. Phone: (360) 754-3355 ext. 5467. E-mail: deffoba@co.thurston.wa.us

 

This page last updated: