Comprehensive Plan Amendments

Amending the City's Comprehensive Plan

By state law, cities can update their comprehensive plans only once per calendar year (36.70A.130 RCW). The City has established an annual docketing process in order to identify and review all proposed amendments to the comprehensive plan together. Once all proposed amendments for the calendar year are received by the City, planning staff reviews each amendment for compliance with state and city regulations and then prepares a written analysis and recommendation to the Planning Commission. This is known as the Preliminary Docket.

The Planning Commission reviews the Preliminary Docket at a public hearing and makes a recommendation to the City Council on which proposals should be included on the Final Docket. After the City Council reviews the recommendation of the Planning Commission, they have the final say in which proposals will be placed on the Final Docket. Proposals that do not make it on the Final Docket will not be processed further by the City.

Who Can Propose Comprehensive Plan Amendments

Any person, business, or organization may submit an application for a proposed amendment to the City's Comprehensive Plan. The City can also propose amendments to the comprehensive plan. 

Pre-Submittal Meeting

Prior to submitting an application for an amendment, schedule a meeting with planning staff. They will give you an idea of whether your proposal is feasible, what SEPA environmental work will need to be done, and other helpful information. You can schedule a meeting by calling the department main line at 360-403-3551.

Application Deadline

Applications are due by the last business day of January for each calendar year.

Review of Proposals

Planning and Land Use Division staff will review all proposed plan amendment applications. Staff will then make a formal recommendation on each proposed plan amendment to the Planning Commission.

Planning Commission Public Hearing

The City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider all of the proposed amendments. The date and time of the hearing will be advertised at least 15 days prior to the hearing. The Planning Commission will then make a recommendation to the City Council regarding each proposed amendment.

City Council Public Hearings

The City Council will then take into consideration the Planning Commission's recommendation for each proposed amendment and will review each proposed amendment. The City Council may hold its own public hearing to consider all of the proposed amendments. Dates and times of any hearing will be advertised at least 14 days prior to the hearing.

City Council Adoption

The Arlington City Council will adopt any approved amendments. This opens the “window” for amendment applications for the next calendar year.

Proposed Amendment Evaluations

In their report to the Planning Commission, planning staff will include recommendations on each proposed amendment based on the following criteria:

  • Is the proposed amendment consistent with current land uses, growth projections, and remaining provisions of the Arlington Comprehensive Plan?
  • Is the proposed amendment compatible with neighboring land uses and surrounding neighborhoods?
  • Does the proposed amendment comply with the requirements of the Growth Management Act?
  • Will the proposed amendment address the needs of the City as a whole?
  • Does the amendment address a change in circumstances that the City as a whole is facing?

Application Submittal Requirements

Applications for Comprehensive Plan Amendments must be submitted it accordance with the Application Submittal Matrix (PDF). Please submit your completed application to:

City of Arlington
Department of Community and Economic Development, Permit Division
18204 59th Avenue NE
Arlington, WA 98223
Phone: 360-403-3551