As part of the Comprehensive Plan update and urban growth area (UGA) review, the County and cities are undertaking a process to allocate population, housing, and employment growth to UGAs and the areas of the County outside of UGAs. The UGAs must have the capacity to accommodate the 20-year housing and employment projections. Public input and discussion are encouraged throughout the process.
There are several steps in the process of allocating growth, including:
Technical / Background Reports - The County and cities will hire a consulting firm to develop initial countywide population, housing needs, and employment growth projections. This report will also include preliminary growth allocations to UGAs and the area outside UGAs. The report will represent a starting point for public input and discussions by planning commissions and elected officials.
Initial Policy Based Recommendations - The County and the cities will issue recommendations to adjust the technical allocations based upon County goals, city goals, public input, infrastructure capacity, land availability, etc. This step will include Whatcom County Planning Commission review and recommendations.
Multi-Jurisdictional Resolution - The Whatcom County Council will consider a nonbinding multi-jurisdictional resolution relating to population, housing needs, and employment growth allocations. This resolution will provide preliminary growth allocations for conducting environmental review, further analyzing land capacity, developing draft land use planning proposals, traffic modeling, and formulating draft capital facility plans.
Formal Planning Commission Recommendations - The Whatcom County Planning Commission will hold public hearings on various components of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, including the population, housing needs, and employment growth projections. The Commission will issue formal recommendations to the County Council for modifications to the Comprehensive Plan.
County Council Adoption of Growth Allocations - Final population, housing and employment growth projections will be adopted in the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan update, which must be completed by June 2025.