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PDFWAC 365-196-415

Capital facilities element.

(1) Requirements. The capital facilities element of a comprehensive plan must contain at least the following features:
(a) An inventory of existing capital facilities owned by public entities, also referred to as "public facilities," showing the locations and capacities of the capital facilities;
(b) A forecast of the future needs for such capital facilities based on the land use element;
(c) The proposed locations and capacities of expanded or new capital facilities;
(d) At least a six-year plan that will finance such capital facilities within projected funding capacities and clearly identifies sources of public money for such purposes; and
(e) A requirement to reassess the land use element if probable funding falls short of meeting existing needs and to ensure that the land use element, capital facilities plan element, and financing plan within the capital facilities plan element are coordinated and consistent. Park and recreation facilities shall be included in the capital facilities plan element.
(2) Recommendations for meeting requirements.
(a) Inventory of existing facilities.
(i) Counties and cities should create an inventory of existing capital facilities showing locations and capacities, including the extent to which existing facilities have capacity available for future growth.
(ii) Capital facilities involved should include, at a minimum, water systems, sanitary sewer systems, stormwater facilities, reclaimed water facilities, schools, parks and recreational facilities, police and fire protection facilities.
(iii) Capital facilities that are needed to support other comprehensive plan elements, such as transportation, the parks and recreation or the utilities elements, may be addressed in the capital facility element or in the specific element.
(iv) Counties and cities should periodically review and update the inventory. At a minimum this review must occur as part of the periodic update required by RCW 36.70A.130(1). Counties and cities may also maintain this inventory annually in response to changes in the annual capital budget.
(b) Forecast of future needs.
(i) Counties and cities should forecast needs for capital facilities during the planning period, based on the levels of service or planning assumptions selected and consistent with the growth, densities and distribution of growth anticipated in the land use element. The forecast should include reasonable assumptions about the effect of any identified system management or demand management approaches to preserve capacity or avoid the need for new facilities.
(ii) The capital facilities element should identify all capital facilities that are planned to be provided within the planning period, including general location and capacity.
(A) Counties and cities should identify those improvements that are necessary to address existing deficiencies or to preserve the ability to maintain existing capacity.
(B) Counties and cities should identify those improvements that are necessary for development.
(C) Counties and cities may identify any other improvements desired to raise levels of services above locally adopted minimum standards, to enhance the quality of life in the community or meet other community needs not related to growth such as administrative offices, courts or jail facilities. Counties and cities are not required to set level of service standards for facilities that are not necessary for development. Because these facilities are not necessary for development, the failure to fund these facilities as planned would not require a reassessment of the land use element if funding falls short as required by RCW 36.70A.070 (3)(e).
(c) Financing plan.
(i) The capital facilities element should include creation of at least a six-year capital facilities plan for financing capital facilities needed within that time frame. Counties and cities should forecast projected funding capacities based on revenues available under existing laws and ordinances, followed by the identification of sources of public or private funds for which there is reasonable assurance of availability. Where the services and capital facilities are provided by other entities, these other providers should provide financial information as well. If the funding strategy relies on new or previously untapped sources of revenue, the capital facilities element should include an estimate of new funding that will be supplied. Adoption of the development regulations or other actions to secure these funding sources should be included in the implementation strategy.
(ii) The six-year plan should be updated at least biennially so financial planning remains sufficiently ahead of the present for concurrency to be evaluated. Such an update of the capital facilities element may be integrated with the county's or city's annual budget process for capital facilities.
(d) Reassessment.
(i) Counties and cities must reassess the land use element and other elements of the comprehensive plan if the probable funding falls short of meeting the need for facilities that are determined by a county or city to be necessary for development. Counties and cities should identify a mechanism to periodically evaluate the adequacy of public facilities based on adopted levels of service or other objective standards. The evaluation should determine if a combination of existing and funded facilities are adequate to maintain or exceed adopted level of service standards.
(ii) This evaluation must occur, at a minimum, as part of the periodic review and update required in RCW 36.70A.130 (1) and (3) and as major changes are made to the capital facilities element.
(iii) If public facilities are inadequate, local governments must address this inadequacy. If the reassessment identifies a lack of adequate public facilities, counties and cities may use a variety of strategies including, but not limited to, the following:
(A) Reducing demand through demand management strategies;
(B) Reducing levels of service standards;
(C) Increasing revenue;
(D) Reducing the cost of the needed facilities;
(E) Reallocating or redirecting planned population and employment growth within the jurisdiction or among jurisdictions within the urban growth area to make better use of existing facilities;
(F) Phasing growth or adopting other measures to adjust the timing of development, if public facilities or services are lacking in the short term for a portion of the planning period;
(G) Revising countywide population forecasts within the allowable range, or revising the countywide employment forecast.
(3) Relationship between the capital facilities element and the land use element.
(a) Providing adequate public facilities is a component of the affirmative duty created by the act for counties and cities to accommodate the growth that is selected and allocated, to provide sufficient capacity of land suitable for development, and to permit urban densities.
(b) The needs for capital facilities should be dictated by the land use element. The future land use map designates sufficient land use densities and intensities to accommodate the population and employment that is selected and allocated. The land uses and assumed densities identified in the land use element determine the location and timing of the need for new or expanded facilities.
(c) A capital facilities element includes the new and expanded facilities necessary for growth over the 20-year life of the comprehensive plan. Facilities needed for new growth, combined with needs for maintenance and rehabilitation of the existing systems and the need to address existing deficiencies constitutes the capital facilities demand.
(4) Relationship to plans of other service providers or plans adopted by reference. A county or city should not meet their responsibility to prepare a capital facilities element by relying only on assurances of availability from other service providers. When system plans or master plans from other service providers are adopted by reference, counties and cities should do the following:
(a) Summarize this information within the capital facilities element;
(b) Synthesize the information from the various providers to show that the actions, taken together, provide adequate public facilities; and
(c) Conclude that the capital facilities element shows how the area will be provided with adequate public facilities.
(5) Relationship between growth and provision of adequate public facilities.
(a) Counties and cities should identify in the capital facility element which types of facilities it considers to be necessary for development.
(i) Counties and cities should identify facilities as necessary for development if the need for new facilities is reasonably related to the impacts of development.
(ii) Capital facilities must be identified as necessary for development if a county or city imposes an impact fee as a funding strategy for those facilities.
(iii) In urban areas, all facilities necessary to achieve urban densities must be identified as necessary for development.
(b) For those capital facilities deemed necessary for development, adequate public facilities may be maintained as follows:
(i) Transportation facilities are the only facilities required to have a concurrency mechanism, although a local government may adopt a concurrency mechanism for other facilities that are deemed necessary for development. See WAC 365-196-840.
(ii) Counties and cities should determine which capital facilities will be required as a condition of project approval, but not subject to concurrency. These may include, for example: Capital facilities required to ensure adequate water availability, capital facilities necessary to handle wastewater, and capital facilities necessary to manage stormwater.
(iii) For capital facilities that are necessary for development, but not identified in subsection (2)(b)(ii)(A) or (B) of this section, counties and cities should set a minimum level of service standard, or provide some other objective basis for assessing the need for new facilities or capacity. This standard must be indicated as the baseline standard, below which the jurisdiction will not allow service to fall. Policies must require periodic analysis to determine if the adopted level of service is being met consistent with this section.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 36.70A.050 and 36.70A.190. WSR 23-08-037, § 365-196-415, filed 3/29/23, effective 4/29/23; WSR 15-04-039, § 365-196-415, filed 1/27/15, effective 2/27/15; WSR 10-03-085, § 365-196-415, filed 1/19/10, effective 2/19/10.]
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