Comprehensive Plan

Longview Comprehensive Plan

What's a comprehensive plan?

A comprehensive plan is an in-depth look at all the things that make up our city – homes, businesses and industries, streets, sidewalks, environment, economy, historic resources, and others – that sets the City’s goals, objectives, and policies related to each. The plan anticipates how much our population will grow over time and what the City will need to do in terms of guiding development and facilitating economic prosperity to offer future residents a good quality of life. In turn, the plan serves as the basis for development regulations such as zoning and permit requirements. It also provides a foundation for the City’s future investments in public infrastructure such as parks, roads, and public buildings.

What’s required?
Cowlitz County and the cities within it are not subject to the full state Growth Management Act (GMA). However, Longview is subject to the planning and zoning requirements for “code cities,” a particular form of governmental organization (Chapter 35A.63 RCW). This statute sets minimal requirements for comprehensive planning, which must include land use (“the proposed general distribution, general location, and extent of the uses of land,” including environmental protection) and circulation (“the general location, alignment, and extent of existing and proposed major thoroughfares, major transportation routes, and major terminal facilities”). A number of other topics may also be included. The land-use and circulation provisions must correlate, and the development regulations be consistent with the comprehensive plan. In addition, Cowlitz County jurisdictions must designate and work toward preserving natural resource lands, as well as planning for and regulating critical areas such as wetlands and flood plains.

Why is the City updating the plan?
A comprehensive plan is intended to take a 20-year look into the future, but it’s also intended to be a “living document” that is periodically revisited to make sure it’s still on-point for the community. Longview’s current comprehensive plan was adopted in 2006, and its demographics are based on the 2000 federal census. Many of the priorities stated in the plan have either been accomplished or may have changed over time. By keeping the plan up to date and relevant, we will ensure that local decisions on laws, regulations, programs, and services are geared toward the community’s vision of Longview’s future.

Project Status:

The final draft Comprehensive Plan Update of 2019 was adopted at the October 10, 2019 City Council meeting.

The City has held public meetings over the last 24 months to get public input on the Plan and specific input on emphasis areas within the city. Those emphasis areas include: the SR 411 (First Ave and Third Ave) Corridor; the Highlands Neighborhood and Oregon Way Commercial Strip; 36th Ave and Ocean Beach Commercial Area; Barlow Point, and the West Longview Sewage Lagoons. Comments and guidance from the residents have been included in the draft plan documents for consideration.

A summary of the recommendations on the emphasis areas is included below.

SR 411/First Avenue and 3rd Avenue Corridor.

North of Hudson Street the corridor primarily has a High-Density Residential classification. South of Hudson Avenue the corridor primarily has a Light Industrial Classification.

 Staff recommendation: Keep the classifications as is.

36th Avenue (south of Ocean Beach Hwy.)

This area is classified as Regional Commercial and designated for large footprint retail.

Staff Recommendation: The initial recommendation was to retain the Regional Commercial classification, however after hearing testimony at the January 2019 public hearing, the Planning Commission opened consideration of other options. Working with staff and residents through the spring of 2019, the Planning Commission held a public hearing in June 2019 and recommended changing the classification for each side of the street to Community Commercial (west) and Mixed-use Residential/Commercial (east).

Highlands Neighborhood and Oregon Way Commercial Strip

This are is classified as High Density Residential and Community Commercial.

Staff Recommendation:  Keep the classification as is and add an Objective to develop an area plan for the Highlands neighborhood to reconcile the needs of the residents with the permitted uses and densities allowed under the zoning code.

Barlow Point

This are is classified as Mixed Use – Residential/Commercial (MU-R/C) in the Planning Area Boundary and primarily classified as Heavy Industrial inside the City limits. Staff Recommendation: For inside the City limits, keep the Heavy Industrial (HI) classification and add the one property that is not classified as HI to that classification. For outside City limits, convert the MU-R/C to HI. This is consistent with the recently adopted Cowlitz County Comprehensive Plan.

West Longview Lagoons

This area is classified as Public/Quasi-public /Institutional. Staff recommendation: Keep the classifications as is.


The Planning Commission held a public hearing to consider input on the plan as it works to finalize a draft Plan for presentation to the City Council. The Hearing was held on January 30, 2019 at 7:00 PM at the City of Longview Council Chambers, 1525 Broadway, Longview, WA. The Planning Commission is considering changes to the plan based on public input. Changes to address comments from the public were incorporated by the Planning Commission in June and July of 2019. 

The final draft Comprehensive Plan Update of 2019 is scheduled to presented to the Longview City Council at the September 26, 2019 City Council meeting. Final action to adopt of the update is anticipated to take place at the October 10, 2019 City Council meeting, starting at 7:00 pm. 

We invite you to take a look at draft Comprehensive Plan available on the City website Draft Comprehensive Plan 2019. You may provide input in person or in writing.

By mail: Adam Trimble, City of Longview, 1525 Broadway, Longview WA 98632

By email:

On Monday, September 27, 2017, the City held an open house on the comprehensive plan update to get ideas on areas or topics that might have been missed in the earlier emphasis areas workshops. Material prepared for those workshops are the links below.

The City of Longview is updating its Comprehensive Plan that provides policy on how land will be used in the future.   One of the emphasis areas for the update is the 36th Avenue area south of Ocean Beach Highway (next to Walmart).   The area is classified Regional Commercial.  This classification is for development that typically contains a mixture of high intensity uses including regional shopping (big box stores), offices, professional services, entertainment facilities, and hotels. In the 10 years since the area was classified for regional commercial uses, there has been no conversion to that use. While there has been some interest in developing small scale commercial along Ocean Beach Highway, so far there has been little or no interest in large scale development in this area.  This area continues to primarily contain single-family homes on large lots.

An open house was held in March of 2017 for residents and owners of 36th Ave properties to collect comments regarding options for the neighborhood and the Regional Commercial Classification. The Planning Commission has scheduled a workshop to consider options for the 36th Ave neighborhood and Regional Commercial zone/classification if the commission concludes that Longview is unlikely to see development of a new big box store.

The Planning Commission, after holding a public hearing on the draft Comprehensive Plan, held a second public hearing in June, 2019 to consider changes to the classifications (zoning) for the area. The Planning Commission has forwarded a recommendation to re-classify the West side of 36th Avenue, adjacent to Walmart, Community Commercial, which translates to General Commercial zoning. The East half was recommended to be classified Mixed-use Residential/Commercial- which will require a new zone district to be developed.

A map of the 36th Avenue area is below. For more information, an agenda for the workshop will be posted at under ‘Agendas & Minutes’