Vancouver Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code
The Comprehensive Plan is one of our community’s most important tools to help plan for the future. Over the next 2½ years, community members and the City will work together to develop a plan that will guide Vancouver’s growth and development through 2045.
Since the plan was last updated in 2011, Vancouver has experienced significant growth, as well as demographic, economic and social changes. Planning for our shared future will require widespread engagement and conversations about how we realize a shared vision.
Updating the existing plan – Our Vancouver 2045
The City has recently started the process to update its comprehensive plan, in order to respond to shifting growth, demographic, economic and social trends that have emerged since 2011, the last time the plan was updated.
The comprehensive plan is a significant policy document that will help shape how the community looks and feels, and how it functions and operates over time. The plan will guide the City’s growth and development for the next 20 years, with a target year of 2045 for achieving the overall vision that is established. Washington’s Growth Management Act requires the City to adopt an updated plan and changes to its zoning code by June 30, 2025.
What exactly is being updated?
In order to meet requirements of the Growth Management Act, the City will need to do the following:
- Perform a holistic re-write of the existing Comprehensive Plan;
- Develop a detailed strategy for implementing the goals, policies, and strategies outlined within the revised plan;
- Modify the existing zoning code (Title 20 of the Vancouver Municipal Code) that is reflective of the goals and policies identified in the revised plan;
- Complete the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process outlined within the State Environmental Policy Act;
- Establish a process to develop and create the plan with members of the community, and conduct community engagement activities in a method consistent with state law.
The planning process will be guided by several big questions, including:
- How will we provide housing that is affordable and accessible to all members of the community?
- How will we address our community’s current housing deficits, which have resulted from decades of underproduction and restrictive zoning?
- How can provide housing for the most vulnerable community members, while improve safety outcomes and community well-being for all?
Land Use, Development and Infrastructure
- How will the City account for the significant population growth occurring within City limits and our urban growth boundary?
- As our community continues to grow, what types of services, facilities and infrastructure will be needed?
- How will the City’s infrastructure and land uses be resilient and responsive to natural disasters, threats, and unexpected circumstances?
Equity and Opportunity
- How can we develop an inclusive process for co-designing policy with the community, and ensure the voices of our most vulnerable and impacted community members are a central focus of the planning and policy design process?
- How will the overall vision that is established in the plan inform equitable access to opportunity, employment, investment, and the benefits from those investments?
- Who might potentially benefit the most or the least from these outcomes?
Climate and Environment
- How can we mitigate and adapt to the effects of a changing climate?
- How can we help make Vancouver a healthier community for all people?
- How do we shape growth to support our community’s climate goal of net zero emissions by 2040 and support overall state greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction requirements?
How you can be a part of the process
The City intends for this work to be a co-creative and iterative process with community members, with an emphasis on elevating the perspectives of communities that have been historically underrepresented, excluded or negatively impacted from public decision-making processes. The comprehensive plan will take around 2 ½ years to prepare and adopt, and there will be a wide variety of opportunities and formats to inform policy, provide input and feedback, and weigh in on alternatives.
- What is a Comprehensive Plan?
- Introduction to Growth Management and Comprehensive Planning in Washington
- View the City’s Existing Comprehensive Plan
- Past Workshops
- April 4, 2022: Comprehensive Plan Scope and Initiation (City Council)
- April 12, 2022: Comprehensive Plan Scope and Initiation (Planning Commission)
- February 6, 2023: Chartering Process
Comprehensive plans may be amended as frequently as once per year under state law. Property owners may submit amendment proposals to the City, including site-specific Comprehensive Plan and zoning designation change requests, during this annual review period.
Pre-application conferences are required for proposed site-specific changes. Pre-application forms will be accepted through April 30, 2023. Formal applications will be accepted from June 1 to June 15. Proposed changes are then presented during public hearings before the Vancouver Planning Commission and City Council in the fall.
The City has temporarily suspended amendment requests from individual property owners to amend their comprehensive plan designation until the larger plan update process has concluded, by June 30, 2025.
- Any general questions on the overall process can be sent to OurVancouver2045@cityofvancouver.us