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Sustainable building

Envision, then build

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Wetlands in King County, Washington State

Land stewardship in King County

As of 2010, owners of one-third of the land zoned Rural and Agriculture demonstrate stewardship with a farm plan, forest plan and/or enrollment in conservation incentive programs.

As a landowner in King County, you are the best steward of your land and its natural resources. To help you manage your land, King County offers four "tracks" to help you carry out a range of development activities including building or remodeling a house, farming or raising livestock, or managing forestland or other natural resources. These four tracks include farm planning, forest planning, rural stewardship planning, and the standard development regulations.

Who are these programs for?

These land development and planning programs are for landowners in unincorporated King County. Specific programs may have additional restrictions. For instance, the Rural Stewardship Planning program applies to property zoned Rural Area residential (RA), and the Farm Planning program applies to property used primarily for agriculture.

What do the programs cost?

Costs will vary depending on the program you choose and what activities you are planning.

  • Farm Planning: Free technical assistance is available from King Conservation District to help you develop your plan.
  • Forest and Rural Stewardship Planning: Free technical assistance is available from King County to help you develop your plan. Forest Stewardship Courses are offered for a nominal fee to help you develop a Forest Plan.
  • Permit review: If your activities require development permits, you will need to pay for permit review. These costs will be the same, or possibly less, than under the standard permitting processes.
  • Other costs: In some cases, you may want to hire a consultant or pay for a special study; this cost would be separate.
  • Plan implementation: You may be eligible for cost-sharing to help you implement a Farm Plan.

Development regulations and stewardship planning programs

Stewardship planning programs are optional and may not suit everyone's property or objectives. The standard development permitting process is available to all unincorporated property owners regardless of their zoning and property objectives. For more information about permitting, please see contact the Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES).

Three stewardship planning programs

  • Farm management planning – Farm Planning is a good option if you are primarily farming or managing livestock. A Farm Plan can be used to determine appropriate habitat protections that are consistent with agricultural practices. This track provides free assistance from the King Conservation District in developing your Farm Plan as well as free technical assistance from King County. A Farm Plan can offer reduced stream buffers for agricultural activities and other flexibility from standard critical areas regulations.
  • Forest management planning – Forest Planning is a good option if you want technical assistance to manage forest resources on your property. This track allows flexibility from standard critical areas regulations for forest management activities on developed property.
  • Rural stewardship planning – Rural Stewardship Planning is a good option if you are in the rural (RA) zone and want to tailor habitat protections to your property and goals. This track provides free technical assistance from King County, comprehensive land management planning, flexibility on stream and wetland buffers, and a simpler, potentially less expensive permitting process for development projects.

Who to contact

For questions about these programs, please contact Pesha Klein, Environmental Scientist III, DPER Critical Areas Review.

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