Tom Glover, AICP, Director
Second Floor, Suite 200
310 West Poplar
Walla Walla, WA 99362, US

Staff Directory

Community Development Home



Contact Information
509-524-2610 Main
509-524-2611 Inspection Requests
509-524-2612 Daily Burn Decision

Document/Application Submttals:

Office Hours
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM*
*closed at 3:00 PM on Wednesdays



Annual Amendment Cycle
Comprehensive Plan
Countywide Planning Policies
Critical Areas
Marijuana Land Uses
Pre-application Meetings
State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA)
Voluntary Stewardship Program
Shoreline Master Program

Annual Amendment Cycle
Applications for amendments to the County's development regulations, zoning map, and Comprehensive Plan are considered annually. The annual amendment process is designed to solicit from the public and outside agencies suggested amendments to the Walla Walla County Comprehensive Plan and development regulations for future consideration. Please contact us if you have questions regarding the amendment process.

The Board of County Commissioners set the 2018 Final Docket by resolution on March 20, 2018. Information on the applications on the 2016 Docket is available here.

Comprehensive Plan
The Walla Walla County Comprehensive Plan is an official document adopted by the Board of County Commissioners as a guide to making decisions about the future development of Walla Walla County. The Comprehensive Plan is a legal document with goals and policies and a series of maps, tables, figures, and appendices. It strives to balance the community’s financial ability to support growth with its projected increase in population and employment and the need for environmental protection. As part of these efforts to manage growth, the Comprehensive Plan establishes broad land use designations (see handout) for all unincorporated areas of the county.

Volume 1: Comprehensive Plan (Title Page)
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Critical Areas Element
Chapter 3: Shorelines Element
Chapter 4: Housing Element
Chapter 5: Land Use Element
Chapter 6: Rural and Resource Lands Element
Chapter 7: Parks and Recreation Element
Chapter 8: Transportation Element
Chapter 9: Utilities Element
Chapter 10: Capital Facilities Element
Chapter 11: Economic Development Element
Chapter 12: Burbank Subarea Plan
Chapter 13: Compiled References
Appendix A: Growth Management Act Legislative Act Summary
Appendix B: 2007 Public Involvement Process
Appendix C: 1998 Agricultural Lands Survey
Appendix D: Federal Functional Classification System
Appendix E: Roads Inventory by Federal Functional Classification
Appendix F: Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program 2012-2017
Appendix G: Projects Eligible to Receive Economic Development Sales Tax Funds

Countywide Planning Policies
In order to facilitate the coordination of planning and provide a written policy statement to guide the development of Comprehensive Plans under the Washington State Growth Management Act, the County and the cities of Walla Walla, Prescott, College Place, and Waitsburg adopted Countywide Planning Policies in 1993.

Critical Areas
There are five primary types of critical areas in Walla Walla County: fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, wetlands, geologically hazardous areas, critical aquifer recharge areas, and frequently flooded areas. These areas are regulated under Walla Walla County Code (WWCC) Chapter 18.08. The purpose of these regulations is to "designate and classify ecologically sensitive and hazardous areas and to protect these areas and their functions and values, while also allowing for reasonable use of private property" (WWCC 18.08.005). Critical areas maps are avalable below.

Pursuant to WWCC 18.08.015A, until the County completes a Shoreline Master Program Update, the critical areas regulations enacted by Resolution 95-219 shall apply within shoreline jurisdiction, not the standards in WWCC Chapter 18.08.

BAS Document (2008)
Map 1: Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas
Map 2a: Wetlands 
Map 2b: Wetlands
Map 3: Frequently Flooded Areas
Map 4a: Geologically Hazardous Areas - Potential Liquefaction Susceptibility (Seismic Hazard Areas)
Map 4b: Geologically Hazardous Areas - Steep Slope/Landslide Hazards
Map 4c: Potential Water Erosion Susceptibility
Map 4d: Potential Wind Erosion Susceptibility
Map 5: Riparian Habitat Areas
Map 6:Terrestrial Habitat Areas
Map 7: Walla Walla River Shallow Gravel Aquifer - CARA Map
Map 7a: Walla Walla River Shallow Gravel Aquifer - CARA Map - Walla Walla Valley
Map 8: Walla Walla River Shallow Gravel Aquifer - Recharge Vulnerability Map
Map 8a: Walla Walla River Shallow Gravel Aquifer - Recharge Vulnerability Map - Walla Walla Valley

Marijuana Land Uses
In 2014 the County adopted Ordinance 425, which prohibits land uses relating to recreational marijuana, including but not limited to, production, processing, storage and retail sales of recreational marijuana and recreational marijuana-derived products.  More documents relating to the these amendments are available here.

On Thursday, June 30, 2016 the Board of County Commissioners adopted Ordinance 448 in response to new state laws relating to medical marijuana.  This ordinance enacted a 6-month moratorium and interim zoning, effective until December 30, 2016, which establishes cooperatives, marijuana producers, marijuana processors, marijuana retailers, and the sale of marijuana and/or marijuana products as prohibited land uses in unincorporated Walla Walla County.

On Friday, December 23, 2016 the Board of County Commissioners adopted Ordinance 461 in response to new state laws relating to medical marijuana; prohibiting cooperatives, marijuana producers, marijuana processors, marijuana retailers, and the sale of marijuana and/or marijuana products in unincorporated Walla Walla County.

Pre-application Meetings
A pre-application meeting is a meeting between County staff and a project applicant that takes place before an application is made to the County. The purpose of a pre-application meeting is to help the developer be aware of the regulations and processes that will affect his or her proposal as well as to give an initial indication as to the major issues and requirements that various County departments may have regarding the proposal.

SEPA Determinations
The County is required to review projects under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) as prescribed in RCW 43.21(C). Projects are reviewed under SEPA unless they fall within the exemptions of the act. All of the documents are on file in the WWJCDA office and are available for public inspection. Copies can be made for a nominal fee after filing a written request. The County's SEPA responsible official is the Community Development Department Director.

The responsible official reviews the environmental checklist and makes one of three decisions known as a "threshold determination." All threshold determinations fall into one of the following categories:

  • determinations of significance (DS);
  • determinations of non-significance (DNS); or
  • mitigated determinations of non-significance (MDNS).

An environmental impact statement must be prepared if a determination of significance is issued. Threshold determinations can be appealed pursuant to the provisions in the County code. Please contact County staff if you have questions about public comment periods and appeals of SEPA determinations.

You can learn more about SEPA at the Washington State Department of Ecology's website.  Threshold determinations made by Walla Walla County's responsible official can be found on the SEPA Register.

Voluntary Stewardship Program
Staff memorandums to the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) with background information on the Voluntary Stewardship Program (VSP), authorized by ESHB 1886 (Ruckelshaus Process Bill), are included below.

Shoreline Master Program
Under the Washington State Shoreline Management Act (SMA) local governments have the primary responsibility for initiating the planning program and administering the regulatory requirements of the Act. The Department of Ecology acts in a supportive and review capacity. Walla Walla County adopted a Shoreline Master Program, which was approved in May 1975, in order to implement requirements of the SMA. 

Information on shoreline permits is available here. You can also go to the Department of Ecology website for more information on the SMA and shoreline regulation.

Walla Walla County is currently in the process of updating the Shoreline Master Program (SMP). The County is working with the Cities of Prescott, Waitsburg and Walla Walla on the update; information on the Regional SMP Update process is available here.

Walla Walla County Shoreline Master Program

Title 17 of the Walla Walla County Code establishes zoning districts, zoning maps, and development standards to regulate land use in the unincorporated areas of Walla Walla County. The establishment of zoning districts is intended to implement the growth management goals and policies identified for each land use designation in the Land Use Element of the Walla Walla Comprehensive Plan.
Countywide Zoning Map
Walla Walla/College Place Area Zoning Map