November 2023 Executive Director Note

November 29, 2023

Sunrise over farms in North Bend (photo cred. Dave/Unsplash)

Like the brilliant passing of Halley’s Comet or the noisy return of hungry cicadas, the coming of the comprehensive plan update to each Washington State city and county is a rare and momentous event. These updates are a once-in-a-decade opportunity to tackle the biggest issues facing Washingtonians like you and me: climate change, housing affordability, racial equity, farmland protection, and wildlife habitat conservation.

For the past three years, Futurewise has embarked on an ambitious campaign to update the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA) to reflect our most pressing challenges. Futurewise specifically took on this legislative agenda back in 2020 with an eye toward the next round of comprehensive plan updates. With your support, we’ve had tremendous success, passing four major pieces of legislation in just three legislative sessions! These updates to the GMA will ensure that we are planning for housing affordability, climate change and racial equity, while strengthening our ability to protect farmland and wildlife habitat from sprawl.

Now we need your support to make sure we see the impact of these changes reflected in local plan updates.

The update cycle comes every 10 years, starting in Central Puget Sound and radiating out across the state over 4 years. This is the moment when long-term decisions about zoning and other development regulations are made that will shape our communities for the next generation. The coming comprehensive plan updates will shape the future of Washington communities for decades to come. Our state is expected to grow by over a million people in the coming decade and we have important decisions to make about how we will respond to that growth.

Will we prioritize connected communities where people can walk to the grocery store or their daycare center? Or will we continue to sprawl ever outward, increasing traffic and pollution? Will we protect salmon habitat, wetlands and forests for generations to come? Or will we let overdevelopment pollute our waterways and destroy our wildlife habitat?

Will we preserve the family farms that provide local, healthy food to communities across the state? Or will we allow farmland to be converted to sprawling subdivisions full of oversized McMansions? Will we confront the historic inequities in our land use systems and move towards greater shared prosperity? Or will we continue to see segregation, health disparities, and a concentration of power and privilege?

Futurewise is the only organization in Washington dedicated to shaping the land use policy decisions in these comprehensive plans. Our end of year fundraising push is your opportunity to support our advocacy and organizing with people like you in every corner of the state. Over the next four weeks, you’re going to hear more from me and other Futurewise staff and board members about how you can support Futurewise with an end of year gift. If you’d like, you can start by making a donation right here:

Thank you for your support today, and every day.