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.
Blue Mountain Regional Trails Project
In an unprecedented regional effort, the cities of College Place, Dayton, Milton-Freewater, Waitsburg, and Walla Walla, joined forces with the counties of Columbia, Umatilla, and Walla Walla, the county health departments, the Partnership for Greater Burbank, the ports of Columbia and Walla Walla, as well as the Walla Walla Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Community Council to develop a "Blue Mountain Region Trails - Ridges, Towns, and Rivers" plan that will span all local jurisdictions. The desired project outcome is the development of a community driven, and locally supported regionwide non-motorized trail and transportation network that will integrate existing and planned urban sidewalks and bike routes with urban and regional trails. This network will provide access to outdoor recreation opportunities, increased walking and biking options, and connectivity among community centers and cultural, historical, and natural resource sites throughout the region.
More information available here.
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.
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 available below.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Walla Walla County has recently completed an update of the Shoreline Master Program (SMP). The County worked with the Cities of Prescott, Waitsburg and Walla Walla on the update; information on the Regional SMP Update process is available here. The new SMP went into effect on July 30, 2018.
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 Zoning Map
Burbank Zoning Map