2017 Comprehensive Plan Update

Chelan County was created in 1899 out of Okanogan and Kittitas Counties. According to the Census bureau, the county has a total area of 2,994 square miles and a population of 73,967. The County is led by 3 elected officials serving on the Board of County Commissioners, each representing a specific area of the county (Commissioner District 1, 2, and 3).

Chelan County’s first Comprehensive Plan dates back to 1958. This visionary document provided guidance to decision makers about what residents hoped to see in their community. In 1990, the State of Washington passed legislation creating a new framework for local land use planning and regulation, commonly referred to as the “Growth
Management Act (GMA).” Within this new framework, a wide diversity of local visions for the future can be accommodated. However, the GMA established specific goals and requirements that all local comprehensive plans and development regulations are to achieve. The GMA, as amended, is found under Chapter 36.70A of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).

The primary purpose of the periodic update is to ensure local plans and regulations comply with changes in state legislation.

Chelan County adopted a Comprehensive Plan in 2000 to comply with the GMA. The last mandated review and update to the Comprehensive Plan was completed in 2007, Resolution 2007-52, with additional updates occurring annually.

Resources

Public Comments Draft

Community Development is completing updates to several Elements of the Comprehensive Plan and is seeking public comments. As each Element is completed it will be noticed to all parties of record and a link will be added below.

Public comments and ideas are a vital part of the planning process. Comments are request by April 1st. Additional opportunity to comment will be given through the adoption hearing process. If you would like notice of new documents please provide your email or call our office.

Feel free to submit your comments by email, at cdplanning@co.chelan.wa.us, or by mail to Community Development 316 Washington Street, Suite 301, Wenatchee, WA. 98801.

Any questions can be directed to Lilith Vespier at (509) 667-6225. 

Frequently Asked Questions

A comprehensive plan is a guide for future land uses throughout the County. This guidance document provides a foundation for the creation of regulatory codes, such as zoning and development regulations. The Chelan County Comprehensive Plan includes the following Elements:

  • Land Use Element
  • Rural Element
  • Capital Facilities Element
  • Transportation Element
  • Park and Recreation Element
  • Housing Element
  • Economic Development Element
  • Utilities Element

Each element includes a list of the goals and a set of policies to achieve these goals.

The 2017 periodic amendment is mandated by the State Growth Management Act, RCW 30.70A.130. The goal is to ensure that all Counties and Cities have taken into consideration changes in State law and, when applicable, changes to the communities. 

Failure to adopt the periodic update within the set date could lead to a loss of grant funding options for the County. The GMA requires Chelan County to complete and adopt via legislative action the updated Comprehensive Plan and Development Regulations no later than June 30, 2017.

Legislative action means the adoption by the Board of County Commissioners of a resolution after receiving a recommendation from the Planning Commission after all notice and public hearing requirements are met.

The comprehensive plan reflects the values and needs of the community, guiding decisions related to planning, development, land uses, environmental issues, and other items. Through the process of updating this plan, data is collected about the County’s demographics, housing, transportation facilities, utilities, facilities, etc., therefore painting a comprehensive picture of the County’s diverse resources, limitations, and needs. This data is essential to making informed decisions that reflect the needs of the community.

GMA requires that jurisdictions use twenty-year population projections from the Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM) for comprehensive planning. These projections are developed every five years. The County and Cities have been working cooperatively to determine population projections for the 20 year planning cycle. On December 15, 2015, the Board of County Commissioners adopted resolution 2015-112 identifying population projections  to be considered during the 2017 update process.

The population projections will be used to review Urban Growth Areas (UGAs), which by definition include all incorporated cities. UGAs must allow development densities sufficient to accommodate the next twenty years of projected population and employment growth. If zoning regulations don’t authorize the densities to accommodate this growth, jurisdictions may need to increase allowed densities, expand the size of the UGAs, or both.

Any changes to UGAs must be consistent with adopted “County-Wide Planning Policies.” These policies set the general framework for coordinated land use planning between the County and Cities to ensure respective comprehensive plans are consistent with each other. The County-Wide Planning Policies are also under review.

Additionally, the Chelan County has drafted a work plan identifying required updates, determined after review of the Department of Commerce checklist . This workplan was adopted on January 19, 2016 via resolution 2016-004.

The Update process started with the County and Cities working cooperatively to determine population projections for the 20 year planning cycle. On December 15, 2015, the Board of County Commissioners adopted resolution 2015-112 identifying population projections to be considered during the 2017 update process.

The next step is using the population projections to review Urban Growth Areas (UGAs), which by definition include all incorporated cities. UGAs must allow development densities sufficient to accommodate the next twenty years of projected population and employment growth. If zoning regulations don’t authorize the densities to accommodate this growth, jurisdictions may need to increase allowed densities, expand the size of the UGAs, or both.

Any changes to UGAs must be consistent with adopted “County-Wide Planning Policies.” These policies set the general framework for coordinated land use planning between the County and Cities to ensure respective comprehensive plans are consistent with each other. The County-Wide Planning Policies are also under review.

On January 19, 2016, the Board of County Commissioners adopted a work plan, resolution 2016-04, which was based on a review of the Department of Commerce checklist. It outlines each element (chapter) and suggested updates as follows:

 

Land Use Element

The Land Use Element describes the “big picture” of how a community chooses to balance the goals of the GMA.

  1. Update data, tables and references with new population projections and any changes based on the Urban Growth Area review.
  2. Update and amend the Residential Land Capacity Analysis and Land Use Inventory Appendices.
  3. Review water quality and quantity used for public water supplies, and incorporate the County Watershed Plans.
  4. Review lands useful for public purposes such as utility corridors, transportation corridors, landfills, sewage treatment facilities, storm water management facilities, recreation, schools, and other public uses.
  5. As funding is available, update Mineral Lands Analysis. This is intended to be an inventory of existing mineral resource lands that have long term significance for the extraction of minerals, considering the resources available and the projected needs for these resources.

Housing Element

The Housing Element is an inventory and analysis of existing and projected housing needs, identifying the housing units necessary to serve the projected population. This update will review inventory, housing needs, and all text to reflect the 2016 data and new population projections.

Capital Facilities Element

The Capital Facilities Element is an inventory of existing capital facilities owned by public entities, and a forecast of future needs of expanded or new facilities. This update will review and update inventories and forecast needs based on new population projections and growth patterns.

Utilities Element

The Utilities Element is an inventory of existing utilities and current capacities, addressing the future needs to accommodate for the expected population growth. This update will review inventories, locations and capacities of existing and areas of need.

Shoreline Element

The Shoreline Element will be a new chapter to address the proposed adoption of a new Shoreline Master Program.

Transportation Element

The Transportation Element is an inventory of transportation services and facilities for water, air, and ground travel, including transit. The goal is to define existing facilities and travel levels to plan for future travel needs.

This element is being completed by Chelan County Public Works

Development Regulations

Development Regulations are rules put in place to implement the comprehensive plan and preserve the health and safety of the population and the environment. They are developed to be consistent with State regulations and requirements.

Amendments to the Zoning and Land Division codes are anticipated and may be adopted prior to completion of the Comprehensive Plan amendments.

Yes. The State Growth Management Act authorizes an annual (once a year) update of the Comprehensive Plan. This annual update is provided so that the cumulative impacts of all proposed amendments can be considered concurrently.  Some elements may be updated more often for budget consideration, such as the capital improvement plan or the transportation project plan. Additionally, the State allows for an emergency amendment action.

Individuals can make request for amendments as part of the annual update cycle. Applications are due the 1st Monday in March with the anticipated legislative action by December 31st.

Citizen participation is a valuable part of any amendment process. Comments and ideas are used throughout to help shape the changes to the Comprehensive Plan and Development Regulations to match the goals of the residents.

How to participate:

  • Sign up for our mailing list
  • Submit a comment form or email cdplanning@co.chelan.wa.us
  • Sent written comment to:

    Chelan County Community Development,
    Attn: 2017 Comprehensive Plan Update,
    316 Washington Street, Suite 301,
    Wenatchee, WA 98801

  • Attend events and public meetings/hearings using our event calendar
  • Look for legal notices

On January 19, 2016, the Board of County Commissioners adopted a Public Participation Plan, which contains more complete information.