The long-range planning section is primarily responsible for creating and updating Lakewood’s comprehensive plan and development regulations. The comprehensive plan is a vision for achieving a healthy and vibrant city over the coming 20 years. It carries out the state Growth Management Act as applied to the local level, with the participation of individual citizens, community groups, and appointed and elected officials. Under state law, the City’s comprehensive plan can be amended no more than once a year, and all amendments must be considered as a group. Often, zoning amendments are linked with such changes in order to streamline the process. A part of the long-range planning section’s work is developing and evaluating such amendments. The City Council is ultimately responsible for adopting the plan, zoning, and any amendments.
Long-range planning also develops ordinances intended to implement the comprehensive plan such as the land use and development code ("zoning code"), the critical areas ordinance, and the City’s subdivision regulations.
The long-range planning section serves as primary support staff for the Planning Commission (PC). The PC acts as the City Council’s chief advisors about land-use issues, the comprehensive plan, and implementing regulations. This division also staffs the Landmarks and Heritage Advisory Board, oversees the designation of historic properties within the city, and administers the multifamily property tax incentive program.
The section’s goal is to help create an increasingly cohesive and attractive community whose citizens are proud to call home. We strive to protect the City’s natural resources and provide quality planning for Lakewood’s future growth, working in partnership with other City departments, citizens, and neighboring jurisdictions. But a single city’s planning cannot operate in a vacuum – staff from long-range planning also work closely with Pierce County, nearby cities, state agencies, and regional planning organizations to identify and address issues of regional importance.
In addition, long-range planning staff monitors and makes recommendations about responding to pending and new legislation, case law, and other factors that may shape the City’s planning activities; as well as working on emerging issues throughout the year.