The Chelan County Commission is holding a hearing on Tuesday on the 2026 Comprehensive Plan Population Allocation. 

Community Development Director Deanna Walter will recommend commissioners adopt population and housing need projections for the coming years. 

The projections are for the county and seven Urban Growth Areas inside the county. 

Chelan County is expected to grow by about 15,000 residents over the next 20 years while about 10,000 housing units will be needed over the same time frame. 

The population projections are established by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) which provides high, medium, and low projections.  

Staff from Chelan County and each of the seven cities and towns agreed that the medium population projection most accurately represents the historic and current population growth trends within Chelan County.  

The group also agreed that the allocation of the projected population to each city and town should reflect trends over the last 20 years, which is the same methodology Chelan County used for the last periodic update cycle. 

A law passed by the state legislature in 2021 requires the allocations to consider the projected housing need of each jurisdiction by both income level and housing type.  

The Washington State Department of Commerce provided a table as a guide for the allocation of projected housing needs, called the Housing for All Planning Tool (HAPT). 

The County/city working group agreed to use "Method A" from the HAPT which splits the countywide values based on each city and town's allocation. 

According to the county, the population and housing need projections are necessary for each jurisdiction to ensure that their respective Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) and associated densities are sufficient to accommodate urban growth in the following 20-year period. 

UGAs are areas around incorporated cities and towns within which urban growth shall be encouraged and outside of which growth can occur only if it is not urban in nature.  

Urban growth areas are to include enough land to accommodate the 20-year population growth projected for the City or Town. 

More than half of the county's population, about 42,000, is within the Wenatchee Urban Growth area. It's followed by the Chelan UGA at roughly 4,700, the Cashmere UGA at 4,200, and the Leavenworth UGA at about 3,500. 

About 75 percent of the county's population resides inside Urban Growth Areas. 

The Wenatchee UGA is projected to need 6,275 housing units by 2046, with 3,914 needed for income levels below median area income. 

Chelan and Leavenworth are projected to each need 361 housing units over the same time frame, followed by Manson at 355 and Cashmere at 340. 

Chelan will need 225 housing units for income levels below median area income while Leavenworth will need 215, Manson 222, and Cashmere 213. 

4 Awe-Inspiring Locations in Washington State

Want a new place to visit, or maybe you have visited already. Let's explore the most beautiful spots in Washington State.

Gallery Credit: Aly

More From NewsRadio 560 KPQ