2025 Comprehensive Plan
Island County is conducting a periodic update to its comprehensive plan, due by June 30, 2025. Throughout the process of updating the comprehensive plan, the public will be encouraged to participate and help shape growth in the county over the next 20 years.
The 2016 Comprehensive Plan update was adopted on Dec. 13, 2016 per Ordinance C-139-16 (PDF).
2016 Freeland Subarea Plan Documents
- 2016 Freeland Subarea Plan (PDF)
- Freeland Project History (PDF)
- Map of Freeland NMUGA (JPG)
- 2019 Freeland Subarea Plan Amendments (PDF)
- Freeland Zoning Code
2016 Countywide Planning Policies (CWPPs) (Updated in 2017)
Comprehensive Plan Amendments
- What is a Comprehensive Plan?
Comprehensive plans are the centerpiece of local planning efforts. A comprehensive plan articulates a series of goals and policies that are intended to guide the decisions of elected officials and local government staff. The Comprehensive Plan provides long range policy direction for land use, transportation, economic development, housing, capital facilities, utilities, parks and recreation, and natural environment. It lays out a community vision and priorities and describes, where, how, and in some cases when development should occur.
- What is the Growth Management Act?
The Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) is a state law that requires state and local governments to manage Washington's growth by identifying and protecting critical areas and natural resource lands, designating urban growth areas, preparing comprehensive plans, and implementing them through capital investments and development regulations. This approach to growth management is unique among states. GMA was adopted by the Legislature in 1990 (Chapter 36.70A). The GMA was adopted because the Washington State Legislature found that uncoordinated and unplanned growth posed a threat to the environment, sustainable economic development, and the quality of life in Washington. The central premise of the GMA is that spontaneous and unstructured growth and development is wasteful of our natural resource base and costly to the provision of public services and facilities. By managing growth and development, the negative effects can be minimized, and the benefits can be maximized.
- Why do we need a Comprehensive Plan?
Counties need a comprehensive plan to ensure that decisions made today will result in efficient and sustainable growth in the future. Policies contained in comprehensive plans are meant to ensure orderly growth and protect the public’s best interests. As counties continue to grow, having a comprehensive plan in place enables local governments to identify and respond to changing community needs and desires in a thoughtful rather than reactive way.
- How do I submit changes, make recommendations, or stay involved in the process?
- Visit this page often for updates and new information.
- If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for the 2025 plan update, please submit feedback to CompPlan@islandcountywa.gov.
- Island County planning staff are available to meet with community groups and other interested parties. Please submit requests to CompPlan@islandcountywa.gov.
- Sign up for news about plan updates and Comprehensive Plan topics by joining our mailing list.
- Who is responsible for developing and approving the Comprehensive Plan?
- Island County Planning and Community Development is the department tasked with coordinating the periodic update for the 2025 Comprehensive Plan, with assistance and support from other county departments. Planning staff will conduct the public outreach efforts outlined under this Public Participation Plan. Planning staff will also perform the technical review work and draft the policy updates necessary to meet the conditions in the GMA and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
- Island County Planning Commission advises on comprehensive plan updates. The Planning Commission consists of nine members who are appointed by the Board of Island County Commissioners to make recommendations on planning related matters including growth and development. The Planning Commission will review and advise on comprehensive plan updates throughout 2023-2025 during their regular meeting and work session agendas.
- Island County Board of Commissioners is the County’s legislative authority and holds the decision-making authority on the 2025 Comprehensive Plan process. The Board of Commissioners is made up of three commissioners who represent geographic districts of Whidbey and Camano islands based on population. The Board of County Commissioners will review and act on comprehensive plan updates throughout 2023-2025 during their regular meetings and work session agendas.
- What is the difference between comprehensive plans and zoning?
The Comprehensive Plan is a policy document that acts in a guiding role to provide recommendations on how land should be utilized to meet the needs and desires of the county. The Zoning Ordinance is part of the Island County Municipal Code and regulates the type, scale, and intensity of development which may occur in specific zoning districts, as recommended by the Comprehensive Plan.