Washington City General Plan


General Plan Adopted January 11, 2017

Washington City General Plan 2017 (pdf 22MB)

What Is A General Plan?


Fundamental to the concept of a General Plan is the notion that a city can be “planned”. “Plan” in this context refers to the process of gathering ideas and input from many sources and creating an overall, general system of development that will bring about orderly growth (that is, development that avoids placing incompatible land uses next to each other, that will not place undue financial burdens on the City or a particular neighborhood, and that still assures that adequate public services and amenities are in place to create a livable community).


Washington City has the land and water resources to grow from its current estimated population of approximately 15,000 to a community of 80,000 or more. If this growth occurs at a rate close to that experienced over the past decade, there will soon be significant, continuous pressures to expand the systems necessary to support growth: new roads, water, sewer, schools, churches, parks, trails, etc. Where should these facilities and services be located? Can we put them in once and not have to move them? Planning ahead will help avoid duplication and land use conflicts that have challenged other high-growth communities.


A General Plan is sometimes referred to as a “Master Plan” or “Comprehensive Plan.” It is a community’s general guide for making land use decisions. The General Plan is a reflection of the community’s values.


At the large-scale level, the General Plan describes how the community wants to grow, i.e. where the community wishes various land uses to take place and what the community wants to look like. The General Plan covers the area within the City limits as well as land anticipated to be annexed to the City in the future (planning area).


At a more detailed scale, the General Plan provides direction for the many detailed decisions made every week concerning specific street improvements, sidewalks, electric substations and building locations, etc. The cumulative effect of such decisions has a significant impact on the shape of the community and the residents’ quality of life.


In between large scale and small scale decisions, the General Plan is the document that coordinates other City plans, such as the Transportation Master Plan, the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and Water and Sewer Plans and others. It is also a basic tool to guide zoning, budgeting, capital improvement decisions and policy-making.


The basic purposes of the General Plan might be summarized as:

  • Bring consistency and reconcile conflicts in plans, policies, priorities and directions that guide both public and private sector decisions regarding land use.
  • Identify alternatives and priorities for key decisions confronting the City. These include locations of key public facilities, and actions regarding annexations, affordable housing, etc.


Please contact the Community Development Department for more information at (435) 656-6325.
Or email Drew Ellerman, Community Development Director.

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