Annotated Resources for Planning Commissioners and Elected Officials




U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

EPA’s Brownfields Program provides grants and technical assistance to communities, states, tribes and others to assess, safely clean up and sustainably reuse contaminated properties.   To learn about EPA’s broader efforts to put previously contaminated properties back into productive use, read about our Land Revitalization Program.

WA. State Dept. of Commerce The Department of Commerce’s Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (BRLF) helps local and regional governments, non-profit agencies and private businesses cleanup and redevelop Brownfields sites. Brownfields sites are properties that were once used for industrial purposes, but need to be cleaned up before they can once again support businesses and create jobs. 


Municipal Research & Services (MSRC) This page provides information about capital facilities planning for cities and counties in Washington State, including statutes and regulations, useful resources, and sample plans and policies.
WA. State Public Works Board The Public Works Board functions in partnership with local governments to assist in addressing and funding infrastructure needs.


Short Course on Economic Development Short Course on Economic development (scroll down to videos).


Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - Hazard Mitigation Planning Hazard mitigation planning reduces loss of life and property by minimizing the impact of disasters. It begins with state, tribal and local governments identifying natural disaster risks and vulnerabilities that are common in their area. After identifying these risks, they develop long-term strategies for protecting people and property from future events . Mitigation plans are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.
WA. State Hazard Mitigation Plan The Washington Emergency Management Division leads and coordinates mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery in Washington State to minimize the impact of disasters and emergencies on the people, property, environment and economy.


Earth Economics We all rely on services provided by nature, often without realizing it or in ways we don’t fully recognize. Earth Economics identifies and quantifies those benefits to ensure they are included in the decision-making process at all levels, so communities can mitigate risk, increase resilience, and protect their natural capital wealth.
Municipal Research & Services (MSRC) Provides an overview of a variety of environment-related topics.
WA. State Dept. of Ecology (DOE) A comprehensive resource for information regarding air, climate, water, shorelines, waste, toxins, etc.
WA. State Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) A great resource for information regarding geology, forestry, aquatics, etc.
WA. State Dept. of Commerce - Critical Areas A good resource for information regarding critical areas.


American Planning Association (APA) NEW: APA Launches Equity in Planning Video Series. Check out this short introductory video: Equity: The Planner’s Responsibility
American Planning Association (APA) Planning for Equity Policy Guide
American Planning Association (APA) Social Equity Research Knowledgebase
American Planning Association (APA) Diversity and Inclusion Strategies
American Planning Association (APA) Diversity and Inclusion Strategies
American Planning Association (APA) Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Webpage


Municipal Research & Services (MSRC) Provides an overview of a variety of finance-related topics.


Municipal Research & Services (MSRC) A great resource for newly elected/appointed officials regarding key topics associated with governance.


WA. State Dept. of Commerce Provides a comprehensive review of the history, purpose, objectives, and requirements of the Growth Management Act (GMA) in Chapter 3 of A Short Course on Local Planning Resource Manual (2016). The Dept. of Commerce is undertaking a periodic review and update to the Short Course Manual.
Municipal Research & Services (MRSC) Provides an overview of the Growth Management Act (GMA) in Washington State, including its legal requirements for counties and cities which are fully, optionally, or partially planning under GMA, as well as links to related MRSC pages and other helpful resources. 


Association for Washington Archaeology (AWA) Founded in 1981, the Association for Washington Archaeology is a non-profit organization committed to the protection of archaeological and historical resources in the State of Washington.
National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC)  A nationwide private non-profit organization providing technical assistance, materials, and advocacy for local historic preservation commission members and staff. Support includes training for commission members, newsletters, a journal, and biennial conference. 
National Alliance of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO) Founded in 1998, the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO) is a national non-profit membership organization of Tribal government officials who implement federal and tribal preservation laws. NATHPO’s overarching purpose is to support the preservation, maintenance, and revitalization of the culture and traditions of Native peoples of the United States. This is accomplished most importantly through the support of Tribal Historic Preservation Programs as acknowledged by the National Park Service.
National Park Service Historic Preservation The National Park Service (NPS) provides historic preservation assistance and leadership nationwide by partnering with state and local preservation programs. This site links to NPS preservation programs such as the National Register of Historic Places, tax incentives, and rehabilitation standards.
National Trust for Historic Preservation A non-profit organization dedicated to saving America's historic sites; telling the full American story; building stronger communities; and investing in preservation's future. It is also the sponsor of the "Main Street" Program.
Washington Trust for Historic Preservation A nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the places that matter in Washington State and to promoting sustainable and economically viable communities through historic preservation.
WA. State Dept. of Archeology & Historic Preservation (DAHP) On this site you will find information on historic buildings, the archaeology of Washington State, how to navigate our regulatory processes and how to nominate properties to the State and National Register of Historic Places.  Be sure to explore Washington State's historic places through our WISAARD Portal. And enjoy our image gallery! 
WA. State Dept. of Archeology & Historic Preservation (DAHP) WISSARD is the State's depository and searchable data based for archeologic and historic properties in Washington.
Preservation Briefs A comprehensive list of standards and guidelines for preserving historic buildings.


WA. State Dept. of Commerce - Housing A good resource, with links, regarding affordable housing, homelessness, housing needs and action plans.

HAZARD MITIGATION PLANNING - Also see the section titled "Emergency Management" 

WA. State Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) - Wildland Fire Protection Strategic Plan Good overview, with links, addressing the range of considerations related to wildland fire protection.


Municipal Research & Services (MSRC) Learn about comprehensive planning and zoning.
WA. State Dept. of Commerce - Civilian-Military Land Use Compatibility The Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA) (RCW 36.70A.530) cites the military’s significant role in the economy and declares a state priority to prevent incompatible development near military installations. Incompatible development also poses health and safety concerns for neighboring community members and military personnel operating or training for active duty. 


WA. State Growth Management Hearing Board Growth Management Hearings Boards – search the regional digests for key topics.
Municipal Research & Services (MSRC) Good overview of the Open Public Meeting requirement resources.


Municipal Research & Services (MSRC) Good overview of planning, design, funding and administration of park & recreation facilities.
WA. State Recreation & Conservation Office Provides statewide leadership and funding to protect and improve the best of Washington’s natural and outdoor recreation resources.


Municipal Research & Services (MRSC) A good resource for a variety of information regarding permitting and impact fees.


Municipal Research & Services (MRSC) Provides a comprehensive overview of a variety of finance-related topics.
WA. Stormwater Center The Washington Stormwater Center's goal is a future where communities are knowledgeable about stormwater research and apply planning and tools to minimize flooding, protect clean water, and promote thriving ecosystems.


Municipal Research & Services (MSRC) This site provides a good overview of the elements of urban design, as well as links to examples in Washington.
Municipal Research & Services (MSRC) This is a great overview of the important of urban design in your community.
Partners for Livable Communities A website dedicated to improving the quality of life and economic and social wellbeing of low- and moderate-income individuals and communities. The resource list contains a number of articles regarding programs throughout the US.
Walk Score Walk Score is available for any address in the United States and Canada. We've also ranked more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment.
Project for Public Spaces (PPS) A great website focusing on planning, design, and education dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities.
The Urbanist - Visualizing Density Excellent overview of a range of residential densities, including corresponding aerial and streetscape views with a brief description of the defining urban design elements.
Strong Towns A non-profit organization dedicated to assisting smaller towns with becoming more sustainable. Includes a series of articles regarding key elements which help build a strong community using innovative approaches and limited resources.


WA. State Dept. of Ecology (DOE) Shoreline Master Program Handbook - An excellent comprehensive guide to compliance with the State Shoreline Management Program and regulations.


WA. State Dept. of Ecology (DOE) SEPA Handbook developed by DOE to assist WA. Counties and Cities with compliance with the State Environmental Policy Act.


The Sustainable Sites Initiative SITES is used by landscape architects, designers, engineers, planners, ecologists, architects, developers, policy-makers and others to align land development and management with innovative sustainable design.
LEED for Neighborhood Development We believe green buildings are the foundation of something bigger: helping people, and the communities and cities they reside in—safely, healthily and sustainably thrive. The heart of our green building community’s efforts must go well beyond construction and efficiency, and the materials that make up our buildings. We must dig deeper and focus on what matters most within those buildings: human beings.


National Complete Streets Coalition A Division of the "Smart Growth America" organization focusing on transportation improvements.
Context Sensitive Solutions A Program sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration focusing on transportation infrastructure.
Round Abouts & Traffic Engineering While this is a traffic engineering consultant website, there are a couple of You Tube videos under the "Links" heading that show functioning roundabouts.
Street Films Short films showing how smart transportation design and policy can result in better places to live, work and play.
Feet First Feet First is a Puget Sound based non-profit organization formed to promote walkable communities.
Municipal Research & Services (MSRC) Great overview of the resources available for transportation planning, design, funding, construction, and management.
Federal Highway Administration – Scenic Byways Under the National Scenic Byways Program, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation recognizes certain roads as National Scenic Byways or All-American Roads based on their intrinsic qualities. The Federal Highway Administration promotes the collection as America's Byways®. To be designated a National Scenic Byway, a road must possess characteristics of regional significance within at least one of the intrinsic qualities. All-American Roads must possess characteristics of national significance in at least two of the intrinsic qualities: Archaeological; Cultural; Historic; Natural; Recreational; and Scenic. In addition to promoting scenic qualities, Scenic Byways also can promote related tourism and economic development.
WA. State Dept. of Transportation (WSDOT) – Scenic Byways Washington State Scenic Byways Routes are designated as part of the Scenic and Recreational Highway System by RCW47.39.020 and RCW47.42.140. E, which is administered by the WA. State Dept. of Transportation.
National Scenic Byway Foundation The National Scenic Byway Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization serving as The National Voice of Scenic Byways and Roads, dedicated to strengthening Byways and actively involved in the quest for renewed Byway Federal funding. 


WA. State Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) Great resource, with links, regarding urban forestry.
Arbor Day Foundation Excellent resource for promoting the planting of trees, and the sponsor of the "Tree City USA" Program.
Casey Trees Great resource for the identification, protection, restoration and enhancement of the tree canopy.
North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative Good resource regarding forest management and rehabilitation.


American Planning Association (APA) - Washington Chapter This is an excellent resources for teachers, planners, and public officials to engage youth in planning processes that generate lasting value. 
American Planning Association (APA) - Washington Chapter Washington, By and By, is an educational graphic novel about community planning illustrating how empowered teens can engage and shape the future of their state.