Review & Evaluation Program (Buildable Lands)

The Washington State legislature amended the Growth Management Act (GMA) in 1997 to include a “review and evaluation program,” also known as the buildable lands program (RCW 36.70A.215). At that time, the review and evaluation program applied to six counties: Clark, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston. The State legislature amended the GMA in 2017 to add Whatcom County to the list of counties required to undertake a review and evaluation program (ESSSB 5254).

The review and evaluation program has two main purposes, which are summarized below:

  • Determine whether a county and its cities are achieving urban densities within urban growth areas by comparing growth and development assumptions contained in the county and city comprehensive plans with actual growth and development that has occurred; and
  • Identify reasonable measures, if necessary, to reduce the differences between growth and development assumptions contained in the county and city comprehensive plans with actual development patterns.

Components of the Review and Evaluation Program include updating county-wide planning policies, annual collection of data, developing a buildable lands program methodology, reviewing achieved densities, evaluating land suitable for development, and issuing a final report by June 30, 2022. The information contained in the final Review and Evaluation Program Report will inform the next update of the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, which is due by June 30, 2025.  

Land Owner Survey 

Whatcom County and the cities are working together to determine whether the existing land supply in urban growth areas will be able to accommodate projected growth over the 20-year planning period.  As part of this process, a survey will be mailed in late May 2020 to certain people who own property in urban growth areas.  If you receive a survey and have questions about it, please contact the appropriate planner for your jurisdiction, as shown below:


Chris Behee, Senior GIS Analyst, or 360-778-8346


Stacie Pratschner, Community Development Services Director, or 360-332-8311


Rollin Harper, Everson City Planner, or 360-733-6033


Haylie Miller, Community Development Director, or 360-685-2367


Heidi Gudde, Planning & Community Development Director, or 360-354-5532


Rollin Harper, Nooksack City Planner, or 360-733-6033


Rollin Harper, Sumas City Planner, or 360-733-6033

Whatcom County (for properties outside city limits)

Matt Aamot, Senior Planner, or 360-778-5939


Documents developed for the Review and Evaluation Program may be accessed by clicking the links below:

*  Stakeholder Interview Summary (May 2019)

*  Background Information and Key Issues Report (June 2019)

*  Public Participation Plan (April 2020)

     *  Draft Countywide Planning Policies (April 2020)

Contact Us

Matt Aamot
Senior Planner
Phone: 360-778-5939
Staff Directory