Annual Awards for Excellence in Planning

Each year, the chapter presents awards to projects and plans that demonstrate excellence.

The Planning Association of Washington and American Planning Association Washington Chapter, are pleased to continue the tradition of the Annual Joint Planning Awards Program.



Let's Celebrate Successful Planning and Showcase your Projects!

2021 Joint APA/PAW Award 

2021 Excellence in Planning Award Ceremony to Be Held at Planning Association of Washington (PAW) Conference, November 15, 2021

For the 35th year, the Washington Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-WA) and the Planning Association of Washington (PAW) will jointly honor outstanding contributions to the field of planning in Washington State. The joint award program goals are to recognize great planning efforts in Washington, promote excellent planning in government and the private sector, and increase public awareness of the roles of APA-WA and PAW in supporting outstanding planning in Washington. Six projects will be presented with awards in the categories of Comprehensive Planning/Development Regulations, Transportation Planning, Community Involvement, and Implementation.

2021 Awardees

Category 2021 Award Plan 2021 Award Recipient

Comprehensive Plan/Development Regulations - Large County

2018-2038 Franklin County Comprehensive Plan 

Franklin County, in partnership with AHBL


Comprehensive Plan/Development Regulations - Large County Central Puget Sound MPO


King, Kitsap, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, in partnership with the Puget Sound Regional Council


Community Involvement Lynnwood Housing Action Plan


City of Lynnwood


Community Involvement Yakima Housing Action Plan City of Yakima, in partnership with BERK Consulting


Community Involvement and Implementation Arlington Drive Campus 

Tacoma Housing Authority, in partnership with BDS Planning & Urban Design, Jackie St. Louis and Nissana Nov


Transportation Plan Olympia Transportation Master Plan City of Olympia, in partnership with Fehr and Peers



This year’s awards will be presented in person at the PAW Conference, to be held November 15-16, 2021 in Chelan. The awards ceremony will occur at Cafe Myth at Benson Vineyards on Monday, November 15th, starting at 5:00 pm with a wine tasting. Attendance is limited to awardees and their guest, conference attendees, and volunteers. Pre-registration is required.

Celebrate successful planning and showcase your projects!

2021 award winners will have their projects/plans featured in the Western Planner Magazine, Washington Chapter of the APA Newsletter, PAW newsletter, and APA Washington's Planning Commissioner quarterly newsletter.

The awards program is intended to bring attention and deserved recognition to public and private sector planning efforts, as well as student projects in university planning programs. 

If you have any questions about the awards process, please contact the committee co-chairs:

I. Award Categories

Select the award category that best fits your project. Nominations should be made for one category only. Listing of one secondary/alternate category is permitted. The final determination of the most appropriate category will be made by the awards jury.

The award categories are as follows:

  • Students – Any project completed as part of an undergraduate or graduate program, including team efforts. Projects awarded in this category should demonstrate a positive contribution to the planning community.
  • Implementation – Examples of projects awarded in this category include site selection, site plans, constructed projects, project delivery or evaluation, capital improvement programs, shoreline management projects, projects linking planning and public health, and success in implementing Growth Management Act comprehensive planning.
  • Comprehensive Planning/Development Regulations-Large Cities & Counties – (Cities >40,000 population and Counties >60,000) Master plans, urban design standards or guidelines, comprehensive plans, downtown improvement plans, revitalization plans, historic preservation plans, natural resource plans, development codes, economic planning, strategic planning, etc.
  • Comprehensive Planning/Development Regulations-Small Cities & Counties  (Cities < 40,000 population and Counties <60,000) Master plans, urban design standards or guidelines, comprehensive plans, downtown improvement plans, revitalization plans, historic preservation plans, natural resource plans, development codes, economic planning, strategic planning, etc. This is a broad category that includes planning efforts underway across rural areas of Washington State, such as rural elements, natural resource land plans, subarea plans, and local areas of more intensive rural development (LAMIRDS).
  • Transportation Plans – Transportation planning, corridor studies, transit planning, non-motorized plans, pedestrian plans, and transportation demand management.
  • Community Involvement – Community outreach, participation or education efforts related to planning programs or constructed projects, relationship and acceptance of community stakeholders; this includes projects working with special populations such as youth or communities not typically engaged in planning.
  • Sustainability – Creating and/or implementing plans, initiatives, programs, and projects related to sustainability and climate change.

II. Review Criteria:

The nominated plan or project must demonstrate how it meets the following criteria:

  • Outstanding application of planning principles: how the nominated plan or project not only meets but exceeds sound planning principles and practices
  • Implementation of community values: how community values as contained within a planning document/vision statement, are reflected in the plan or project
  • Contribution to specific planning technologies: such as wireless devices, web-based tools, permit review & tracking systems, etc.: how the plan or project used emerging technologies and/or techniques plus how your experience can serve as a model or be applied by others
  • Furtherance of GMA: how the plan or project advanced the goals of the GMA in a local jurisdiction
  • Suitability of the solution to the problem or context: how the plan or project provides an appropriate approach to an issue and how it has been embraced or implemented by the community/client
  • Innovative and/or creative solution or project, and demonstration of applicability to other projects: how the nominated plan or project has successfully ventured a new or rarely used approach to a problem and how transferrable this innovation is to other planning scenarios

Nominated projects must also comply with the following eligibility requirements:

  • Regional projects or plans that extend beyond Washington State may be eligible but must have a substantial nexus to planning in Washington or Oregon.
  • All plans must have been completed, meaning a document has been finalized for formal consideration by local government (i.e., Planning Commissions, Councils, or Commissioners) or has been adopted.
  • For construction projects, improvements must be substantially complete by June 30, 2021.
  • For student projects, submittals must be completed as required by your degree program.

III. Submittal Process

  • Nominations shall be submitted electronically via the link provided. The nomination will be judged solely on the electronic submittal.
  • Submittals shall be a maximum of 12 single-sided 8 ½ ″ x 11” electronic document pages, minimum 11-point font. In addition, up to 5 letters of endorsement and up to 5 graphics as large as 11″ x 17″ in size may also be submitted. Submittals exceeding these page limits will not be considered.
  • Winning submittals will be retained for archival purposes.
  • The Awards Committee will attempt to notify applicants of the jury’s decisions on or before August 15, 2021.
  • Award recipients will be contacted by the Awards Committee for arrangements for the Awards Ceremony, to be held during the 2021 OAPA/APA WA Virtual Joint Planning Conference.

IV. Payment

Payment will be requested as part of the online submittal and may be made through the online form or by requesting an invoice. Payment is non-refundable.

Fees (per application):

  • Student $25.00
  • APA or PAW members $150.00
  • Non-members $200.00

Questions regarding payment should be directed to:

American Planning Association, Washington Chapter
2150 N 107th St Ste 205
Seattle, WA 98133-9009
Phone (206) 682-7436
Email: [email protected]

Applications Closed

For more information about the sponsoring organizations, including membership, visit their websites:

American Planning Association:
Planning Association of Washington:

Our thanks to this year’s APA/PAW Awards Committee Co-Chairs:

From PAW:

Jonathan Kesler, Senior Planner - Historic Preservation
City of Ellensburg
(509) 925-8608 
[email protected]

 From APA Washington:

Darby Cowles, Senior Planner
City of Bellingham
(360) 778-8389
[email protected]

The past award winners are shown below.