The city of Leavenworth can plan for denser housing areas in its Urban Growth Area under a new ruling.

The state Growth Management Hearings Board has ruled the county did not comply with established policy when it rejected the city's plan for more dense housing.

Leavenworth called for smaller minimum lot sizes in its Urban Growth Area (UGA) in an effort to achieve greater housing density.

The hearing board's ruling will allow to the city to reduce minimum lot sizes from 10,000 or 12,000 square feet to 8,000.

Leavemworth Urban Growth Area - Image from Washington Office of Financial Management
Leavenworth Urban Growth Area - Image from Washington Office of Financial Management

Leavenworth has been trying to create affordable housing and more density is seen as a key element in doing so.

The Hearing Board said the county violated the Growth Management Act in its rejection of the city's plan. It also said a 1997 agreement known as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Chelan County and five cities (Leavenworth, Wenatchee, Chelan, Cashmere, and Entiat) required the county to approve Leavenworth's zoning plan inside the UGA.

The Growth Management Act (GMA) is a series of state statutes, first adopted in 1990, that requires fast-growing cities and counties to develop a comprehensive plan to manage their population growth.

Urban Growth Areas exist under the GMA as areas where urban growth shall be encouraged and outside of which growth can occur only if it is not urban in nature.

UGA's lie in unincorporated county areas.

More From NewsRadio 560 KPQ