In 2015, Washington State legislators asked the William D. Ruckelshaus Center (Center), to design a process for a comprehensive and collaborative look at the Growth Management Act (GMA). To gauge support for this effort and identify an appropriate scope, the Center conducted a Pre-Assessment from October 2016 through June 2017. The Pre-Assessment consisted of a series of conversations with individuals from dozens of groups, organizations, tribal, state, and local governments. Based on input from the parties, the Center recommended a process to: (1) articulate a vision of a desired future for Washington, and (2) examine the planning framework that provides the path to reach that desired future. The growth planning framework in Washington includes the Growth Management Act, the Shoreline Management Act, the State Environmental Policy Act and other laws, institutions and policies.
The Legislature responded to the pre-assessment by allocating funds to the Center for a two year project to create a “Road Map to Washington’s Future.” The budget proviso outlined a scope, schedule, and general process for the project. The purpose of the project is to articulate a vision of Washington’s desired future and identify additions, revisions, or clarifications to the state’s growth management framework of laws, institutions, and policies needed to reach that future.
Project Components and Schedule
Provided is a brief description of the core components of the Road Map project. Given the scope, schedule, and complexity of the project, the Center’s Project Team recognizes that these components will evolve or may need to be modified.
The Project Team also recognizes it is not possible to engage every individual involved in, affected by, or interested in the growth planning framework. The Team will implement inclusive engagement including a diversity of representatives from federal, tribal, state, county, and city governments, private and non‐profit entities, advocacy organizations, associations, elected officials, underrepresented populations, and other interested parties.
Individual and Group Interviews: The purpose of interviews is to identify the strengths, weaknesses, issues, and potential solutions or improvements to the growth planning framework.
Multi-Sector Workshops: In order to understand how the framework aligns with, creates barriers to, and/or supports the desired future of the communities it is meant to serve, the Center’s project team will be conducting 26+ workshops across the state. Broad based input is needed in order for the project team to better understand what communities across the state desire for Washington’s future, what communities care about and have challenges about, and to reflect what is unique and important about different regions of the state.
Elected Official Workshops: The project team will conduct an additional 26+ workshops across the state for elected officials, in order to understand how the framework aligns with, creates barriers to, and/or supports the desired future of their communities.
Regional/State-Wide Workshops: As time and resources allow, the Project Team will conduct workshops for regional/state-wide groups and associations, including the Washington State Association of Counties and the Association of Washington Cities.
Research: Throughout the project, and during interviews and workshops, the project team will be looking to identify pertinent data needs and partnering with state public universities on targeted research. The Team will also review pertinent independent studies, as appropriate, from other entities.
Next Generation: Understanding what the next generation of Washingtonians (young adults) desire for the future, and the values that underlie that future, is an essential component of the project and will complement the workshops. The Project Team is working with university partners to create a project for students to design and implement the engagement strategy to solicit the ideas and opinions of the next generation of Washingtonians in defining that future vision.
Potential Group Convening: A potential component of the project is a convening of key parties to explore areas of agreement on additions, revisions, or clarifications to the state’s growth planning framework. Whether, and how the convening process will be crafted and conducted will be based on preliminary findings from the interviews and workshops.
Final Report: The Center will submit a final report to committees of the Legislature by June 30, 2019.
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