Long Range Planning

Planning Department

Long-Range Planning is approaches land-use planning by analyzing both environmental conditions and the cultural landscape (including natural and built carrying capacity) to create or change relevant county policies and development regulations to carry out the vision of the community. Long range planning staff act as facilitators for public involvement in plan making and coordinate development requirements to ensure that new land use will be matched and located with necessary infrastructure and facilities. Staff also provides resources for other county departments, state agencies and the San Juan County Council (SJCC).

Long-Range Planning Work in San Juan County Includes:

  • The Comprehensive Plan. This is the baseline data on county population, resources services and facilities. The Plan uses the baseline data to formulate goals and policies for land use, transportation, housing, capital facilities, shoreline protection and maintenance of rural character.
  • The Official Maps. The maps, available in .pdf format, show legal land use designations and maximum residential density.
  • The Unified Development Code (UDC). The Land Use Code, often referred to as zoning, implements the policies developed in the Plan by making them part of the County laws regulating current and proposed land use, infrastructure and facilities.

Public Processes

The Comprehensive Plan, Maps and Code are eligible for modification once a year. Changes can be proposed by anyone, and applications are gathered during the Spring and analyzed for action by the Council at the end of each year. For more information about the annual docket of requests, please see Annual Docket | San Juan County, WA.

State laws require counties to update their comprehensive plans and development codes to maintain continuity with revisions to state laws and policies at regular intervals. Scheduled required updates are mandated by the Growth Management Act (GMA). All proposed changes to the plan, code or maps must be delivered to the State Department of Commerce for compliance with the GMA and the Department of Ecology for review of potential environmental effects. Other State agencies are also notified. All proposed changes must also be advertised for public comment and be the subject of public hearings before the Planning Commission and the Council.

For information on current projects please visit the Projects page.