Geographic Information Council (WAGIC)

February 15th, 2001

Teleconference originating from
DIS Interactive Technologies, Lacey, WA

Introductions – Ian Von Essen, WAGIC Chair – From Spokane, Ian opened the meeting and welcomed council members from Bellingham, Tri-Cities, Seattle, Vancouver and Lacey.

Meeting Theme: GIS in support of the Growth Management Act, Buildable Lands and Smart Growth Initiatives within Washington

WA State Department of Community Trade and Economic Development – Shane Hope- Managing Director, Growth Management Program
In 1990, the Growth Management Act (GMA) was passed to guide local governments in such issues as urban growth, economic development, environmental protection and regional transportation. Last spring four roundtable groups were held throughout the state to discuss a variety of key growth and quality of life issues facing the state in the next few years. The resulting papers can be found at Shane stressed that land use is a very big issue in the state with another 1,000,000 people expected in this state within the next ten years.

Amendments to the GMA in1997 created a review and evaluation requirement often referred to as the Buildable Lands Program. The program is required by six counties and the cities within those counties (Clark, King, Kitsap, Pierce, Snohomish and Thurston) and is optional for all others. It is an opportunity for these jurisdictions to analyze; monitor and help answer growth related questions like:

The legislation requires that local governments collect and evaluate data over five year periods. The first evaluation occurring in 2002, subsequent evaluations every five years thereafter. Local government will use the data to periodically evaluate and update their GMA plans.

The Growth Management Program resides within the Office of Community Development and provides guidance to the counties, helps coordinate efforts and develops reports to the legislature.

Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) – Jerry Harless
The council is composed of 68 cities and towns within King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. PSRC is the Metropolitan Planning Organization and Regional Transportation Planning Organization for these 5 counties with primary focus in land use and transportation planning. Jerry explained the council’s interest in buildable lands. GIS data helped their efforts in forecasting accurate estimates in areas such as; travel demand and congestion, as well as land use, population and employment statistics.

PSRC works across city and county boundaries producing population and employment data. It also prepares estimates and forecasts in ten-year increments, common land use schema and provides technical assistance to the cities and counties it serves.

Thurston Regional Planning Council – Holly Gilbert
The Regional Benchmark Programs and the County’s Buildable Lands Program are two of the GMA’s monitoring efforts she discussed. In Thurston County, GIS data is generated and maintained in two places; the Thurston County Geodata Center and the Thurston Regional Planning Council. Another key data source is the County Assessor’s database. The Planning Council produces additional GIS coverages for a variety of other regional work programs from these key data sources. Four of these GIS coverages are important to the buildable lands and benchmark programs; residential building permit database, residential developed lands coverages, subdivisions coverages, and small area population and dwelling unit estimates built from 1990 census block data and integrated with other GIS coverages.

She discussed the results from four of the council’s growth related benchmarks,

the dwelling unit benchmark, the net residential density benchmark, residential subdivision lot size data and lastly at gross density in subdivisions. The results are especially timely to jurisdictions in the County as they are getting ready to prepare for the next round of GMA comprehensive plan updates.

City of Seattle – Lish Whitson, Jennifer Pettyjohn
Lish presented an overview of how the city of Seattle evaluates at its supply of land for development. Seattle as a "built city" with a limited land supply, must manage development carefully.

Lish explained that a developed site might go through many different uses over the course of 20 years. Property owners have a variety of options to consider in developing their property. A few are:

They can also redevelop the site by sub-dividing and selling part of the site, buying adjacent sites or merging sites and added a new commercial building. Owners make their decisions based on their interest and understanding of property development as well as financing, expectations, zoning and emotional considerations.

Jennifer explained how GIS helps determine development potential by looking at residential zones with density limits and considering if additional units will fit on a particular site. The City began with a series of geographic overlays on a parcel base and used King County assessor data to determine public ownership, the present use, number of units and the land and building values. They combine this tabular information with the overlay information and apply assumptions regarding value ratio and densities to calculate susceptibility to redevelop and potential development size.

In conclusion, Jennifer noted that jurisdictions set the rules by which redevelopment can occur and enforce compliance of those rules. Property owners can make a number of decisions within these rules that may or may not meet community goals and growth expectations.

Snohomish County – Steven Toy
Steve gave a PowerPoint presentation showing how the Planning Divisions in Snohomish County use ArcView GIS for the residential buildable lands analysis requirements of the GMA. They have been using ArcView for a several application purposes: to evaluate residential development and density trends to be used as the basis for calculating the remaining residential land needs, as well as using it to look at the land supply; specifically vacant, partially used and redevelopable land supplies.

Snohomish County has 20 cities and 183 square miles within its urban growth area, with nearly two thirds of that incorporated. They have a work program in place that puts them in the first one third of phase 2 of the data collection, analysis and evaluation period. They spent much of last year in the phase one stage developing agreements and resolving key issues, all to better coordinate across jurisdictional lines - a major under taking with 20 cities involved.

The County has been tracking the single family development trends since 1995. The analysis includes both gross and net residential densities for all cities in the county. They have recently added multi family residential development to the analysis. This information is used, in part, to calculate how much remaining residential growth is expected within the urban growth area to the year 2012 and to calculate the land area needed to accommodate that growth.

They are inventorying land to determine land supply using ArcView with county wide parcel data in a GIS format covering incorporated and unincorporated areas. This will help determine available vacant, partially vacant and redevelopable land supply capacities. Also, the Planning Division is currently working with a new set of data made available for testing from the Snohomish Co. Assessor’s office.

Leroy Surveyors and Engineering, Inc. – Paul Green
Pierce County, several cities and agencies have retained Leroy Surveyors and Engineering to evaluate and update critical areas information with respect to wetlands, steep slopes and streams. The project is focusing on enhancing the accuracy for the parcel database. Pierce County has invested in 6-inch pixel color ortho photos. The parcel data will be overlaid with the orthophotos to quickly identify horizontal accuracy problems.

Strategic Planning Workshop and WAGIC Business Items – Jeff Holm
Jeff announced that a Strategic Planning Workshop is tentatively scheduled for March 29th in Ellensburg. It will be a chance to review the council’s Strategic Plan, look at areas that need to be updated and decide on the next steps for achieving the council’s goals.

Jeff also announced that Paul Taylor, Deputy Director of DIS, presented Larry Sugarbaker, former WAGIC Chair, with an Outstanding Service Award at the Department of Natural Resources farewell luncheon in his honor. Larry has accepted an opportunity in Virginia with the Association for Biodiversity Information. The award acknowledged Larry's leadership in guiding the council as well as listing a number of accomplishments while chair of WAGIC. Jeff will have the award posted on the WAGIC’s website. Jeff also noted that he enjoyed working with Larry and wished him well.

Another item brought up for discussion by Jeff was Gene Thorley’s request for the council to sponsor a video teleconference with the Pacific Salmon Information Network (PSIN). The council needs membership approval to use "special project funds" for this event. Jeff noted that there is approximately $12,000 currently in that fund. The cost would be $1285 for the use of three DIS sites and one bridge to that site.

Jeff moved to approve the expenditure, not to exceed $1500, for the one time PSIN videoconference. A second to that motion was made in Lacey. The question was raised as to how the conference pertains to GIS. Jeff explained that PSIN has been focusing on issues of data sharing. A friendly amendment to the motion was offered in that council members have more information on PSIN before making their final decision.

It was agreed that the motion be tabled until more information on PSIN could be faxed to the voting members and enable them to be able to vote on the motion at the same time. The hope is that the PSIN conference takes place before the next WAGIC meeting in April.

DNR State Based Mapping Legislation Update – Carrie Wolfe
Carrie explained DNR’s efforts over the past several months to draft legislation that would 'update' DNR's state base mapping authorization. The language was review by a number of individual agencies and based on comments the original draft was changed. However, in the end DNR decided not to move forward with the bill due to internal budget constraints and timing issues. Subsequently, Senator Jacobson submitted the bill (SB5532) for legislative consideration. However, the bill did not get reported out committee of origin and will not likely survive for further consideration this session. Carrie noted there is always the possibility that the bill will resurface in the future.

Closing Site Roundtable – Ian Von Essen
Ian commented that he had received phone calls regarding the bill. He suggested that perhaps if not this time around, a future version of the bill might be presented that would be more WAGIC and less DNR centric.

He also thanked the presenters and all those in attendance at today’s meeting. In closing, all sites expressed their thanks and appreciation for today’s "Smart Growth and Buildable Lands" theme based meeting. Ian suggested that April’s meeting would also be theme based focusing on either transportation or the web and GIS. He also asked that any ideas for future meetings be submitted to either himself or Jeff.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.

Next meeting – April 19th at 10:00 a.m.