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.

When are these policies updated?

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.

When was the last update completed?

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 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.

Summary of the Recommendations

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