Countywide Planning Policies


Countywide Planning Policies (CPPs) provide a countywide framework for coordination on important issues such as transportation, housing, and planning for growth. While Walla Walla County and each City have their own independent comprehensive plans, coordinating together and developing joint policies can result in better overall results for our communities as we grow. The CPPs articulate those areas where we want to work together towards a shared future.

The original CPPs were adopted over 30 years ago. Since that time state laws have changed and the communities throughout Walla Walla County have as well. This is a great opportunity to refresh the CPPs prior upcoming comprehensive plan updates for each community which will begin later this year.

Where CPPs fit

Countywide Planning Policies are a requirement of the Growth Management Act (GMA). While updating them is not required, having policies which align with issues communities are currently facing is important. While planning under the GMA is a bottom-up planning process, consistency between plans and regulations is required. As Walla Walla County and each City updates their comprehensive plan and regulations/programs by June 2026, updated Comprehensive Plan policies will have to be consistent with the GMA and CPPs. It is also important that policies link to other important regional plans. This emphasizes the importance of making sure any revised policies in the CPPs align with the vision for each community.

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Timing of Process

The timing of this project is important and sets a foundation for Comprehensive Plan updates, which the jurisdictions expect to begin later this year. This project is scheduled to be completed by October 2024. Along with the CPP update, Walla Walla County, in consultation with the Cities, will be allocating population, housing, and employment targets (growth targets) to each community in preparation for Urban Growth Area reviews during the coming Comprehensive Plan updates. The growth targets will be used to assist each community as the plan for growth out to 2046.

CPP Timeline

To make sure the update process is collaborative and productive, a project management team (PMT) has been established. The PMT is made up of officials representing each community. We have also hired a consultant team who is working under PMT direction to prepare CPP updates for the PMT to consider.

The PMT is meeting monthly to review and make recommendations on changes to each of the CPP elements. The schedule below outlines the various elements of the CPPs and when the PMT is scheduled to take them up. The PMT is meeting monthly through July 2024. They will then make a formal recommendation on the revised CPPs to the Walla Walla County Board of Commissioners.

CPP Schedule

Approval Process

Once the PMT makes a recommendation to the Walla Walla County Commissioners on the draft CPP amendments, the Commissioners must decide whether to send the final draft to each city for review and approval. The Commissioners may make changes to recommended CPPs at this stage, but no changes may occur after the Final Draft is sent by the Commissioners to the Cities. From this point on, only up or down votes may occur.

If the CPPs are sent to the Cities, they will have 90 days to act on the draft they are presented. Once this step is complete the County Commissioners will hold a hearing. In addition to public engagement through the website and communication by the Cities and the County, this time will also be utilized to hear from the public on whether or not the changes should be adopted.

The goal is that PMT members work together so that by the time they produce a final set of recommended changes, everyone feels comfortable with the revised language, and it can be supported by the community and by each legislative body.

If you have questions about the CPP update or would like to get involved, please contact:

Melissa Shumake
Deputy Community Development Director
509-524-2617 direct | 509-524-2610 main