An urban growth boundary is a spatial designation of the land area surrounding a city that can accommodate a projected amount of future urban growth, given historical trends and patterns of land consumption.  Future growth is allowed or encouraged to occur only within the boundary, preserving open space and agriculture -- and not suburban sprawl -- in the areas outside the boundary.


Containing urban growth can enable communities to target their infrastructure expenditures and needs more efficiently and effectively to meet a growing population, while preserving natural resources and open space on the urban fringe.


Limiting the availability of land can raise land prices within the urban growth boundary, especially if future growth should exceed the forecasted rate and consume more land than initially allocated for growth within the boundary.  In such cases, the boundaries can be adjusted outward, but this might undercut the open space preservation objectives of this land use strategy.


Example 1: Minnesota

Model Ordinances(Pg 18-23)

Description: A collection of model ordinances for improving sustainable development.


Example 2: Garibaldi, Oregon

Urban Growth Boundary

Description: An urban growth boundary ordinance for a small ocean-side city in Oregon.


Example 3: Washington

RCW 36.70A.110 

Description: Legislation requiring the development of urban growth areas.  Requires counties work with eligible municipalities to create ordinances.