The Next Twenty Years – Comprehensive Plan Updates

June 19, 2024

The City of Anacortes and Skagit County recently began Comprehensive Plan updates that are slated for completion by 2025. Comprehensive Plans provide the blueprint for local landuse planning by defining the community’s goals and policies, creating the foundation for regulations that will be adopted to implement the policies. Comprehensive Plans consist of several mandatory elements and several optional elements. Recently, the state legislature amended the Growth Management Act (GMA) to mandate a climate change and resiliency element that must address the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptations to hazards created by climate change, such as sea level rise and increased flooding.

Washington’s GMA directs most counties and cities to update these plans every 10 years, and to design them to guide development over the next 20 years. Updates to the Comprehensive Plans often address population growth, housing needs, zoning revisions, or changed community values. The Updates must also access the need for new or revised provisions to protect critical areas, like wetlands and streams, and natural resources like forests and farmland.

Related to climate change resiliency and preparing for threats and hazards associated with a changing climate, some examples of areas the City and County may address include: flooding, landslide risk, air quality related to wildfire smoke, health effects such as tick borne illnesses, and habitat changes such as harmful algal blooms in lakes.


  • The City of Anacortes is accepting requests for amendments to the Comprehensive Plan by June 30, 2024. Visit
  • Attend one of the Skagit County Comp Plan Update Open Houses to learn more. For more information and to be added to the County’s mailing list, visit

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