Washington communities take steps toward sustainability

Several communities in Washington were given awards by Governor Gregoire last week for being examples of smart growth in the state. Washington has been working on fostering smart growth projects for the last 20 years. In order to be considered for the awards, the communities had to demonstrate plans that will focus on three core areas including:

  • Innovative and wise use of land use, resource management and transportation planning resources to deliver a clear and long-term benefit to the community;
  • Effective city-county partnerships and significant public participation; and
  • The incorporation of key components in their growth plans such as affordable housing, density that supports transportation and reduces vehicle miles traveled, and downtown revitalization that draws people and business to support economic vitality in traditional business districts.

Many of the cities chosen for awards were able to achieve their goals through public-private partnerships. The projects are the result of guidance in the state’s Growth Management Act which has been the framework for smart growth planning throughout the state.

City winners included: Bellevue, Tacoma, Vancouver, Snoqualmie, Chehalis, and Duvall. Partnership awards were given to Whatcom County and the City of Bellingham for work on a county Housing Action Taskforce; and to Skagit County for their urban growth area open space plan.

Duvall, Chehalis and Snoqualmie were additionally recognized for their downtown improvement projects. They also awarded Bellevue for its Bel-Red Subarea Plan, Tacoma for its Neighborhood Centers project, and Vancouver on its Waterfront Redevelopment Plan.

“As Washington recovers from this downturn in the economy, the work of local governments and their partners in creating vibrant, quality communities is vital,” said Gov. Gregoire. “The leadership of these award winners helps to make Washington a great state in which to live and do business.”

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