This is the year of decision for Spokane city and county officials implementing state growth management policies.
In the next few months, a growth management committee advising county commissioners will determine the overall population that must be accommodated in the next 20 years and where new development would occur.
Preliminary numbers indicate that the county’s population, now 401,200, will grow by more than 30 percent in the next two decades to 530,000.
When the Growth Management Steering Committee determines the number, and it is approved by county commissioners, then the county and each city within it will submit a plan on how to serve the new residents.
The so-called urban growth boundaries must be set by October, and completed a year later.
“The amount of population you have to plan for is going to determine where the urban growth boundaries are,” said Doug Chase, a Medical Lake planner who is heading up one committee looking at population issues.
Once completed, governments would spend three years updating comprehensive land-use and zoning plans. Development inside urban growth areas that can be served with utilities would be encouraged, while development outside becomes more difficult.
Thousands of existing plats, however, many in the north suburban area, would not be affected by those restrictions and could still be developed.