Chelan County is adopting a population plan for the next 20 years. 

County commissioners Tuesday adopted a Comprehensive Plan Population Allocation, a projection of population growth and housing needs. 

Community Development Director Deanna Walter says the allocation requires preparation for the growth but does not cap growth. 

"The cities and the county need to align their development regulations to allow for that population," said Walter. "But it certainly isn't a restriction, where they say we've reached our max, nobody else can move in. That's not what this is designed for." 

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 projections are for the county and seven Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) inside the county. 

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. 

Walter says one notable outlier in Chelan County is the Peshastin UGA, which is projected to have zero growth. 

"That was based on some conversations with the community and their desires," Walter said. "It doesn't mean that growth can't happen. We're just not allocating any additional population to that area. They still have buildout capacity." 

The allocation plan is known as the 2026 Comprehensive Plan Population Allocation because it's required by the Washington State Growth Management Act on or before June 30, 2026. 

The projections are made through 2046. Walter met with county commissioners Tuesday morning, where she credited the city of Wenatchee with leading the way on the allocation. Commissioner Shon Smith told KPQ that Wenatchee set the bar with its previous formulation of a Comprehensive Plan Population Allocation in 2015.

A further explanation of the methodology involved in the Comprehensive Plan Population Allocation can be found here 

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.