Current use taxation in King County and additional resources
State and County Laws and Policy for Current Use Assessment
The following provides more information on King County and Washington State policies and laws that govern the administration of the four Current Use Assessment programs.
Revised Code of Washington (RCW)
Chapters 84.34 and 84.33 of the RCW detail the definitions, policies and procedures for the administration of current use assessment in Washington State. Please refer to Chapter 84.34 for PBRS, Timber Land and Farm and Agriculture and Chapter 84.33 for Forestland.
Washington Administrative Code (WAC)
Chapter 458.30 of the WAC offers further guidance and clarity to the RCW and ‘’provides definitions for the terms used in conjunction with land classified under the Open Space Taxation Act, codified as chapter 84.34’’ of the RCW.
King County Code, Chapter 20.36
The intent of Chapter 20.36 of the King County Code “is to implement Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Chapter 84.34, by establishing procedures, rules and fees for the consideration of applications for public benefit rating system assessed valuation on ‘open space land’ and for current use assessment on ‘farm and agricultural land’ and ‘timber land’ as those lands are defined in RCW 84.34.020.”
Open Space Taxation Act
The Open Space Taxation Act, first enacted in 1970, is the state law that enables landowners to enroll their land in PBRS, Timber Land or the Farm and Agricultural Land program. This Washington State Department of Revenue publication provides a good summary of many of the most critical policies, procedures and requirements of these three programs.
The following provides more information on resources available to county residents conducting farm and agricultural activities on their property.
King County Agriculture Program brings together the County’s efforts to preserve prime agricultural soils with efforts to protect water resources and ensure the continuing economic vitality of agriculture in the County.
Livestock Program supports the raising and keeping of livestock in the county in an environmentally sound manner. This entails providing technical assistance in compliance with the county’s Livestock Management Ordinance (LMO): manure management, stream and wetland setbacks, livestock densities, and clean water diversion. The Livestock Program includes cost-share assistance for implementing best management practices (BMPs) with a farm management plan from the King Conservation District (KCD). The list of BMPs includes, but is not limited to: heavy use area (mud prevention), manure storage, clean water diversion, stream and wetland buffer fencing, pasture renovation and roof runoff management.
King Conservation District (KCD) is a non-regulatory agency that provides private landowners with financial assistance, technical support and information. The focus of the support includes balanced water usage, water quality protection, habitat enhancement, farm management / conservation planning, soil health, slope stability, native plant, manure management, volunteer opportunities, stream restoration/enhancement assistance and many other natural resource topics. KCD staff also produce farm management plans , which are required to receive credit for the PBRS farm and agricultural conservation land category.
King County Forestry Program focuses on the retention of forestland for its environmental, social, and economic benefits. The Program provides education, technical assistance, and economic incentives aimed at retaining the forest resources of King County. County forestry staff is responsible for approving forest stewardship plans for PBRS and Timber Land enrollees.
Forest Stewardship Coached Planning is a six-to-nine week course offered by the Washington State University Extension, in cooperation with King County forestry staff, designed to assist private forest landowners in writing their forest stewardship plans. Classes are usually held each year both online and at select locations in the county and provide landowners personalized forest planning instruction from natural resource professionals.
Forestry Consultant Directory and Washington State Society of American Foresters Certified Foresters are searchable directories of forestry consultants, based on location, available for hire for technical assistance and producing forest stewardship plans.
Transfer of Development RightsTransfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program is a voluntary, incentive-based, and market-driven approach to preserve land and steer development growth away from rural and resource lands into King County’s Urban Area. The purpose of the TDR Program encourage builders, usually in urban areas, to increase development capacity in their projects by purchasing of development rights from farm, forest, and open space landowners.
For questions about the King County's current use taxation programs, please contact Bill Bernstein, PBRS and Timber Land Coordinator, WLR Rural and Regional Services Section.