top of page

Comprehensive Planning 101

A comprehensive plan is the centerpiece of local planning and articulates a series of goals, policies, and actions that direct day-to-day decisions of local government. It acts a blueprint for the future character of the city and guides decisions on land use, transportation, housing, capital facilities, parks, economic development, and more. It also sets standards for roads and other infrastructure, identifies how they’ll be paid for, and establishes the basis for zoning and development regulations.

As suggested by the word “comprehensive,” it encompasses topics that address the physical, social, and economic health of the City. A comprehensive plan takes a long-range perspective—in this case 
looking toward 2044. For this reason, guidance is intentionally general, providing broad direction rather than prescribing specific implementation measures or regulatory actions. A plan is also a living document, adaptable to evolving conditions, and offers a framework for key policy changes. 

Comprehensive Plan & Growth Management Act


In accordance with the Growth Management Act (GMA), cities of a certain size in Washington State are mandated to update their Comprehensive Plans every 10 years. This includes outlining things like land use and capital projects, and gives us a chance to ask: How do we envision Sultan in 2044?

The Washington State Legislature established the Growth Management Act in 1990 to guide local governments as they plan for future growth. It was adopted to prevent uncoordinated and unplanned growth, which can threaten the environment, economy, and quality of life for Washington residents. Under the GMA, cities in fast-growing and densely populated counties are required to develop and adopt comprehensive plans. The GMA established goals to form the basis of all comprehensive plans, but the content within each city’s plan will differ based on their own goals and challenges. Early and continuous public participation is required by the GMA, which ensures that the public has a say in the vision for their city’s future.

Requirements for Sultan 2044 Comprehensive Plan Update

The Sultan2044 periodic update, expected to be adopted in 2024, will coincide with the 119th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Sultan. The project offers a chance to engage the broader community around a refreshed community vision and develop strategies to ensure the plan produces desired community outcomes. In partnership with a team of consultants, the City of Sultan will integrate the following state, regional, and county requirements into the periodic review:

  1. Minimum compliance with state laws through the Washington State Department of Commerce GMA periodic review checklist.

  2. Alignment with the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) Regional Growth Strategy through their periodic review checklist and multi-county planning policies provided in Vision 2050.

  3. Alignment with the countywide planning policies established by Snohomish County

bottom of page