In both 1994 and 2004 as part of its Growth Management Plan, Clark County adopted an urban holding comprehensive plan designation as a special implementation procedure. This designation placed a "hold" on development until Clark County determined that the public facilities needed to support development were available.
In 1994, the use of urban holding was limited to a few parcels with special infrastructure needs. In contrast, the effect of the urban holding policy adopted in 2004 was to place all property designated for urban growth area expansion into the urban holding designation. As a result, no developable property has been added to urban growth areas since the first Growth Management Plan was adopted in 1994. As of May 1, 2006, this remains the case.
Both the development and environmental communities take issue with the substantive and procedural aspects of the 2004 version of the Clark County urban holding plan policy.
From the development community's perspective, the following issues raise concerns about the viability of the urban holding comprehensive plan policy:
The environmental community believes that the urban holding policy is actually contrary to the County's responsibility to comply with the capital facilities plan requirements of the Growth Management Act. It asserts that systemwide capital facilities plans are required before any land is made available for development. The environmental community believes that a case-by-case, project-by-project process for removing urban holding without systemwide capital facilities is not the proper standard.
Both the development and environmental communities appealed the application of urban holding in Clark County's 2004 Growth Management Plan to the Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board. Ultimately, upon Clark County's promise to remove the urban holding designation, the development community withdrew its appeals.
Currently, representatives of the development community are diligently working to remove the urban holding plan designation. To date, the parties have agreed to utilize development agreements to ensure that developers will pay the necessary infrastructure costs. As always, the devil is in the details. Determining whether capital improvements are or can be available is proving to be an elusive task. Stay tuned for the end result.<-- Return to blog