In 1990, the State of Washington passed the Growth Management
Act (RCW 36.70A). The legislature determined that uncoordinated
and unplanned growth, together with a lack of common goals
expressing the public’s interest in the conversion
and the wise use of lands, posed a threat to the environment,
sustainable economic development, and the health, safety
and high quality of life enjoyed by residents of the State
of Washington. The legislature also found that it would be
in the public interest that citizens, communities, local
governments, and the private sector cooperate and coordinate
with one another in comprehensive land use planning.
Cities and Counties with a population of over 50,000 and/or
a rate of growth exceeding the state guidelines are required
to plan under RCW 36.70A. Cities and Counties with a population
of under 50,000 and having a growth rate under the state
guidelines may also choose to plan under RCW 36.70A if they
so desire. In 1991 Franklin County opted in to the Washington
State Growth Management program.
1995 Comprehensive Plan
In January 1993 the County began developing its program
in earnest with the preparation of a questionnaire which
was circulated to all of the residents of Franklin County.
The purpose of the questionnaire was to inform county residents
about growth management while in turn learning what the county
citizenry thought about varying land use issues. The questionnaire
asked county residents to tell those writing the plan what
sort of county they wanted to live in, what kind of housing
was needed, what their housing situation was and what types
of alternative housing would be appropriate.
The questionnaire also asked residents what they felt were
the strengths and weaknesses of the county, what they would
like to see changed and what they would not like to see changed.
It asked about county services, how they felt about agriculture
and preserving natural resources. It asked about the economy
and what they felt was important related to jobs and the
trade-offs that can be associated with aggressive economic
The questionnaire asked for the respondents to provide their
vision of the county that they wanted to live in. There was
a ten percent response rate for this questionnaire. Once
the questionnaire was returned it was tabulated and analyzed
and the results were written up for a series of presentations
that were scheduled across the county.
In order to be assured that input into the Comprehensive
Growth Management Plan was also coming from the small cities,
Connell, Mesa and Kahlotus, special informational gathering
sessions called “one-on-ones” were held. These
were conducted by Planning Staff and involved meeting with
key officials and citizens in the community to obtain their
input on a number of questions that were asked of them. Each
session lasted approximately 30 minutes. They were asked
some of the same questions that had been asked on the questionnaire,
but more specific to their community. In addition to people
from Connell, Mesa and Kahlotus being interviewed, residents
of Basin City, an unincorporated urbanized area in Franklin
County, were also interviewed.
As results of these questions and questionnaires were tabulated
and analyzed public meetings were held across the county
to inform the communities of the input received. At that
time, Franklin County launched an extensive public participation
program in order to obtain the maximum amount of citizen
participation to develop the best possible Comprehensive
Growth Management Plan for this area. A series of four pubic
meetings were held in the Northwest, Central, Northeast and
South Central parts of the County. These meetings were advertised
in the major newspapers and posted in convenient locations
throughout the County.
During this time draft goals and objectives were formulated
and reviewed by those at the meetings. After the first round
of meetings a Vision Statement was prepared and during the
next round of meetings it was reviewed and rewritten to reflect
the attitudes of the people at the meetings.
In formulating the plan a great deal of effort went into
obtaining input from the public. In addition the Public Utilities,
Irrigation Districts, School Districts and other units of
special purpose Governments were called upon to provide the
county with information necessary to prepare Franklin County’s
Comprehensive Growth Management Plan.
In 1995 Franklin County completed and adopted their first Comprehensive
Growth Management Plan as required under RCW 36.70A.
2005 Comprehensive Plan
For a community’s plan to be effective, it must continue to evolve. A comprehensive plan that remains relevant will allow the community to address and benefit from new information and trends. This is why the Growth Management Act (GMA) requires that comprehensive plans be subject to periodic review.
Franklin County is required to review its comprehensive plan every seven (7) years and was required by the State to complete a full period review and update of its original GMA Comprehensive Plan by the end of 2007.
To begin this Update process, in 2003 Franklin County entered into a contract with the Benton-Franklin Council of Governments to obtain assistance in the development of the County’s Update to its Comprehensive Plan. In the fall of 2004, numerous public workshops and informational meetings were held to review and discuss draft topics. These workshops were held in Pasco, Mesa, Basin City, Connell and Kahlotus. Both the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners also held numerous workshops with the public and Planning Staff to discuss the land use issues affecting the County and its future.
Official Public Hearings were held in Pasco and final adoption of the County’s Update to its Growth Management Comprehensive Plan occurred in June 2005.