but the term “concurrency” is more frequently associated with ordinances adopted pursuant to the Growth Management Act (chapter 36.70A RCW, “GMA”).
Most are familiar with the situation where a municipality may deny preliminary plat approval based upon the lack of the necessary public facility improvements, but the developer is free to provide those improvements at his/her own expense. If the developer can’t construct the improvements before the final plat is filed, the developer’s obligation is secured by a performance bond. Costs of the improvements that exceed the developer’s pro rata share can often be reimbursed to the developer through a latecomers’ agreement. However, in some situations, the project may be denied because the municipality must construct the public facility improvements, such as major roadway projects, water and sewer facilities.
While the GMA provides that comprehensive plans and development regulations should ensure that the public facilities and services necessary to support development are adequate to serve the development at the time of occupancy, without decreasing service levels below locally established minimum standards, concurrency is only required with regard to transportation facilities. To implement the concurrency mandate, GMA first requires that a municipality’s comprehensive plan include a transportation element that implements and is consistent with the land use element of the plan. Level of service (LOS) standards must be included in the plan’s transportation element for all arterials and transit routes.
In addition, local governments are required to adopt and enforce ordinances prohibiting development approval if the proposed development causes the LOS on a local transportation facility to drop below the LOS standard adopted in the jurisdiction’s comprehensive plan. Even so, a proposed project forecasted to cause such a drop in the LOS may be approved, as long as transportation improvements or strategies to accommodate the impacts of development are made concurrent with the development. For purposes of this requirement, these improvements and strategies (or a financial commitment to complete the improvements or strategies) must be in place within six years of the time of development. A “financial commitment” means that “sources of public or private funds, or combinations thereof have been identified, which will be sufficient to finance public facilities necessary to support development and that there is reasonable assurance that such funds will be timely put to that end.”
B. Features of Concurrency Ordinances. Most GMA cities have adopted transportation concurrency ordinances, and many cities have extended these ordinances to water and sewer. Features common to most concurrency ordinances are:
1. The area of the community within which the concurrency ordinance will apply. A water concurrency ordinance that requires issuance of a capacity certificate to reserve capacity may not be appropriate where the local jurisdiction is not the water purveyor.
2. The public facilities and services that will be included in the concurrency ordinance. In Washington, cities and counties planning under GMA are required to have a transportation concurrency ordinance. Concurrency ordinances relating to other facilities such as water and sewer are encouraged.
3. Current and projected public facility and service capacities. The concurrency ordinance will address the LOS standards and reference plans for future capacities as identified in the capital facilities plan.
4. The types of development/land uses to which the concurrency ordinance will apply. Under RCW 36.70A.070(6)(b), local jurisdictions cannot create exemptions to its concurrency ordinance for transportation facilities. However, concurrency regulations should not apply to construction activities that do not affect public facilities.
5. The stage in the process for determining adequacy of public facilities. Some local governments allow a developer to request a concurrency determination even if a project permit application has not been submitted. Other jurisdictions require that a concurrency application be submitted in conjunction with a project permit application – and concurrency is determined before any further processing of the application. (See, WAC 365-195-840(4), “planning jurisdictions should consider integrating SEPA compliance on the project specific level with the case-by-case process for concurrency management.”)
6. The conditions and mitigation requirements that may be imposed on concurrency approval. The local jurisdiction is required to deny the project if the development causes the level of service of a transportation facility to decline below the standards adopted in the transportation element of the comprehensive plan, unless improvements or strategies to accommodate the impacts of development are made concurrent with the development.
7. The response to a lack of concurrency. Some examples of responses to a lack of concurrency are:
a. development of a system of deferrals, approving proposed developments in advance but deferring authority to construct until adequate public facilities become available at the location in question;
b. conditional approval through which the developer agrees to construct the public facilities that will mitigate the impact;
c. denial of the development, subject to resubmission when adequate facilities are made available;
d. revision of the application to reduce the density or intensity of the proposed development; or
e. phasing of the development.
8. Reservation of capacity. Approvals should specify the length of time that a concurrency determination will be effective, such as the life of the underlying permit.
C. Allocation of Capacity. In order to allocate available capacity, a determination must be made as to how much capacity is available and how much is used by each specific type of development. There are a few ways local governments throughout the United States have allocated capacity:
1. First-come, first served. Most local governments consider applications on a first-come, first-served basis as development applications are processed.
2. Goals and Objectives. The local government might consider allocating capacity only to those projects that achieve important goals and objectives of the comprehensive plan, or that should be granted preferential treatment for hardship or other reasons.
3. Set-aside. Under a set-aside system, a percentage of available capacity is reserved for certain types or categories of development.
4. Variation of the Level of Service (LOS) standards. The LOS standards may vary. 
D. Concurrency vs. Utility Moratoria. Concurrency ordinances are effective methods of keeping track of a municipality’s available water or capacity in its sewer system. As an alternative to the imposition of a moratorium that must be renewed every six months for a utility-related shortage, consider adoption of a concurrency ordinance. The concurrency ordinance requires an evaluation of the availability of water and/or sewer capacity for each application, and without water and/or sewer capacity, the application is denied. Under a moratorium, the procedures in a concurrency ordinance allow an applicant to request approval of a development application if there is an acceptable alternative to the provision of water/sewer from the City’s system, and to appeal the decision. These features of a concurrency ordinance make it a good alternative solution to a blanket moratorium, which involves the risk of litigation and may be politically unpalatable.
In addition, the prohibition on development resulting from a moratorium may attract more litigation than the concurrency ordinance because the developers are usually left without an appeal process once the moratorium is adopted. Some municipalities have adopted a hardship variance or exception process allowing permits to issue during the moratorium, which invite equal protection challenges.
E. Comparison of concurrency ordinances/statutes. One interesting aspect of concurrency ordinances from jurisdictions outside Washington is the participation of local governments in the concurrency process through state law or interlocal agreements. In Broward County, Florida, concurrency is determined by the county for all plats, both in the county or in any municipality within the county. In the area of Concord and Cabarrus County, North Carolina, the concurrency ordinance (or Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance) was successfully enacted through interlocal agreements with state agencies, independent water/sewer districts, and adjacent local governments.
In Washington, local jurisdictions are allowed to adopt different level of service methodology, which means that there are many responses to a lack of concurrency. In Broward County, Florida, traffic concurrency is measured as follows:
The capacity of each link of the regional roadway system is compared to the sum of:
– the actual traffic on the road;
– the projected traffic from approved, unbuilt developments; and
– the projected traffic from the proposed development.
If this total traffic exceeds the road’s capacity, the road is considered overcapacity and a ‘traffic impact area’ is created.
A ‘traffic impact area’ is a circular area around a proposed development having a radius from 1 mile to 3 miles, depending upon the proposed use. Commercial projects larger than 1 million square feet have a radius of 3 miles. Commercial between 200,000 and 1,000,000 square feet, and all office and industrial uses, as well as regional parks, have a radius of 2 miles; all residential uses have a radius of 1.5 miles, and all other uses have a radius of 1 mile.
Development within a traffic impact area cannot be approved unless one of the conditions below are satisfied [this is a summary only]:
1. If the development is on an approved list for urban infill, urban redevelopment, downtown revitalization, etc., the application satisfies transportation concurrency.
2. If there is no impact, the concurrency requirement is satisfied.
3. If the improvements to the overcapacity roadway are under construction, under contract, or funded by the State or local government, they may be counted as part of the capacity of the roadway.
4. Concurrency may be satisfied if improvements to the overcapacity roadway are provided for in an enforceable developer agreement. The methodology used to calculate a developer’s proportionate fair share obligation is established in state law as: The cumulative number of trips from the proposed development expected to reach roadways during peak hours from the complete buildout of a stage or phase being approved, divided by the change in the peak hour maximum service volume of roadways resulting from the construction of an improvement necessary to maintain the adopted level of service, multiplied by the construction cost, at the time of developer payment, of the improvement necessary to maintain the adopted level of service.
5. If there is an action plan approved by the County Commission to accommodate the impacts of the development.
Interestingly, Florida’s ordinances include all manner of facilities in the concurrency ordinance. The code includes the level of service for transportation facilities, water, sewer, parks and schools, and requires that each application meet the concurrency requirements. Instead of a six year timeframe between the date of development approval and the availability of the transportation facilities, Florida only allows two years.
F. Judicial Challenges. The seminal case on concurrency involved a challenge to a Town’s denial of development based on an 18-year tiered growth plan, with no enabling statutory concurrency legislation.  The court held that phased growth was well within the ambit of existing enabling legislation. As stated by the court in Golden v. Planning Board of Town of Ramapo:
Without a doubt restrictions upon the property in present case are substantial in nature and duration. They are not, however, absolute. The amendments contemplate a definite term, as the development points are designed to operate for a maximum period of 18 years and during that period, the Town is committed to the construction and installation of capital improvements. The net result of the on-going development provision is that individual parcels may be committed to a residential development use prior to the expiration of the maximum period. Similarly, property owners under the terms of the amendments may elect to accelerate the date of development by installing, at their own expense, the necessary public services to bring the parcel within the required number of development points. While even the best of plans may not always be realized, in the absence of proof to the contrary, we must assume the Town will put its best effort forward in implementing the physical and fiscal timetable outlined under the plan. . . . [W]here it is clear that the existing physical and financial resources of the community are inadequate to furnish the essential services and facilities which a substantial increase in population requires, there is rational basis for ‘phased growth’ and hence, the challenged ordinance is not
No Washington case was found involving a developer’s challenge to a local government’s refusal to issue a permit due to lack of available infrastructure under a concurrency ordinance. Based on the concurrency challenges outside this jurisdiction, here are a few of the issues to consider when denying or conditioning development under a concurrency ordinance:
1. Is the concurrency problem related to the developer’s project or to the local government’s failure to provide for growth?
2. Is the local government attempting to solve the infrastructure problem?
3. Does the concurrency ordinance allow for alternative solutions?
A moratorium is an emergency measure adopted without notice to the public or public hearings, designed to preserve the status quo. A moratorium suspends the right of property owners to submit development applications and obtain development approvals while the local legislative body considers, drafts and adopts land use comprehensive plans and/or development regulations (or amendments thereto), to respond to new or changing circumstances not addressed in current laws.
A. Permit Moratoria. A “permit moratorium” is usually adopted pending adoption of amendments to a comprehensive plan or development regulations. Permit moratoria have the following purposes:
— to prevent a potential rush for permits whenever a community decides to review and update its comprehensive plan or development regulations (there is a possibility that the new regulations could reduce the development level);
— to bar the submission of applications during the moratorium period and thereby prevent an applicant’s ability to vest rights under the existing development regulations, to prevent development inconsistent with the new regulations that might be approved.
Cities and counties have statutory authority to impose permit moratoria and interim zoning for specific purposes. See, RCW 35.63.200; 35A.63.220; and for counties and cities planning under the Growth Management Act, RCW 36.70A.390. These statutes authorize a municipality to adopt a six-month moratorium or interim zoning without holding a public hearing. However, the public hearing must be held within sixty days after adoption, and if the moratorium or interim zoning is extended longer than six months, the process must be repeated. Here is the pertinent language from the statute:
A legislative body that adopts a moratorium or interim zoning ordinance, without holding a public hearing on the proposed moratorium or interim zoning ordinance, shall hold a public hearing on the adopted moratorium or interim zoning ordinance within at least sixty days of its adoption, whether or not the legislative body received a recommendation on the matter from the planning agency. If the legislative body does not adopt findings of fact justifying its action before this hearing, then the legislative body shall do so immediately after this public hearing. The moratorium or interim zoning ordinance adopted under this section may be effective for not longer than six months, but may be effective for up to one year if a work plan is developed for related studies providing for such a longer period. A moratorium or interim zoning ordinance may be renewed for one or more six-month periods if a subsequent public hearing is held and findings of fact are made prior to each renewal.
RCW 36.70A.390. Keep in mind that there are certain exclusions in RCW 36.70A.390 for municipalities planning under GMA.
The Washington courts have ruled that neither RCW 35A.63.220 nor RCW 36.70A.390 authorize moratoria for shoreline management regulations under chapter 90.58 RCW (the Shoreline Management Act, “SMA”). Subsequently, the Washington Legislature adopted RCW 90.58.590, which specifically authorizes shoreline moratoria. The courts have also found “rolling” moratoria (a series of renewals) to be problematic.
B. Utility moratoria. A “public facility moratorium” or “utility moratorium” may be adopted on an emergency basis without notice to the public or public hearings, when a community faces a utility-related shortage (such as sewer and water). Because there are no procedures for the adoption of moratoria in the statutes relating to operation of municipal water and sewer systems, the most conservative course of action would be to follow the procedures set forth in the moratoria statutes.
If the moratorium is adopted for a utility-related shortage, and there is no information to suggest when it might be lifted, the conservative approach is to limit the moratorium to the statutory six-month period and follow the statutory procedures for moratorium adoption. A public hearing should be held every six months (or one year with a work plan) on the moratorium, and the staff should present the legislative body with updated information regarding the status of the shortage. Information should be placed in the record to document the efforts made by the staff towards alleviating the shortage. Findings of fact supporting continuance of the moratorium should be adopted by the legislative body and entered into the record. Such documentation will be helpful in the event of a judicial challenge – moratoria are more likely to be validated by the courts if they are temporary, narrowly tailored to address the utility problem, involve good faith efforts toward expanding the utility service (capacity or water rights), are supported by comprehensive plan planning for the needed capital facilities and demonstrate consideration of the environment and planning goals.
C. Interim Zoning An ordinance that may be adopted on an emergency basis without notice to the public or public hearings, to adopt interim zoning regulations or change the land use designation or zoning classification of property, limiting the property to uses that will be compatible with a zoning proposal under consideration by the municipality. In a case decided prior to the adoption of the Growth Management Act, the Washington courts defined “interim zoning: as follows:
Interim zoning describes a process whereby a governmental body in response to an emergency situation temporarily establishes an ordinance to classify or regulate uses of land pending either revision of the existing zoning code or adoption of a final, comprehensive zoning plan.
D. Judicial Challenges to Moratoria.
The United States Supreme Court has approved moratoria as an acceptable planning technique. However, this does not mean that all moratoria will sustain a legal challenge, or that a developer may not prevail on his/her damage claim for delays associated with a valid moratorium. The U.S. Supreme Court, in upholding a planning moratorium, still reiterated that a temporary takings analysis of the moratorium would involve a parcel-specific factual inquiry into the character and effect of the regulation.
Therefore, several issues should be carefully analyzed before a moratorium is adopted.
First, consider the issue whether the moratorium is within the municipality’s authority. While the courts have ruled that municipalities have broad power under the Washington State Constitution (art. 11, sec. 11,) to impose moratoria, not every moratorium will be upheld. For example, in Biggers v. Bainbridge Island, the Washington Supreme Court invalidated a shoreline moratorium it found to be “unreasonable” based on a number of factors, including: (1) the ordinance adopting the city’s three-year “rolling” moratorium, stated that it was necessary to allow the city adequate time to update its Shoreline Master Program, although the relevant statutes didn’t require such updating until 2011; (2) prior to the time the lawsuit was filed challenging the moratorium, “the City had years to make any required plan changes but did not do so;” (3) the moratorium was based on potential, rather than actual, demonstrated harm to shoreline habitat; (4) after adoption, the first extension changed the scope of the moratorium to remove an exemption for normal maintenance, normal repairs or emergency repairs, thereby “suspending the application process [which] private property owners to bear the costs associated with the denial of process (including property erosion and economic loss).”
The Biggers case demonstrates that the municipality should re-evaluate the need for a moratorium every time the moratorium is extended. As stated in the Biggers dissent:
A reasonable moratorium may be a valid exercise of a municipality’s power as such an exercise of power may give the city time to create a comprehensive plan. . . . But a reasonable moratorium must be in place no longer than necessary to accomplish the necessary planning by a body exercising diligence to accomplish that planning. Then, the moratorium must be removed.
Biggers, 169 P.3d at 26.
As shown above, the likelihood of a challenge to a moratorium increases in direct relation to the length of time that the moratorium is in place. Although the statutes authorizing moratoria for zoning ordinances do not place restrictions on the number of times a moratorium may be renewed, this does not mean that it may be renewed indefinitely.
Be aware of the requirement in the zoning moratoria statutes for the adoption of a work plan if the moratorium is to be in place for one year, as opposed to six months. A year-long moratorium is acceptable as long as the municipality has identified the steps in the process for lifting the moratorium, and established dates for accomplishing these steps within the year. If the municipality has adopted a six month moratorium without a work plan, and the legislative body intends to extend the moratorium, consider the conservative approach to another six-month extension, and develop a work plan to be consistent with the statute.
Another consequence of repeated renewals of a moratorium is a determination by a court or the GMA Board that it is actually a zoning ordinance, not a moratorium. A finding that it is a zoning ordinance would mean that the moratorium was invalid because it was not adopted as required by law (with the required public notice and public hearing(s)).
In one pre-GMA case, a County adopted an “interim zoning ordinance” to be effective for four years. It was challenged, and the court held that “interim zoning ordinances” are meant to be temporary, stop-gap measures, so a zoning ordinance that was proposed to be in place for four years should have been adopted under the procedures in the Planning Enabling Act.
One more issue to consider prior to imposing a moratorium is the vested rights doctrine. The Washington courts have determined that a municipality’s adoption of a moratorium does not violate the vested rights doctrine. However, this ruling applies to the adoption of the moratorium and the bar it places on a developer’s ability to vest under the zoning and land use controls in existence prior to adoption. It does not apply to the situation where complete applications have been submitted to the municipality for processing, prior to the adoption of the moratorium. Careful attention should be paid to the drafting of the moratorium ordinance to exempt those applications that are subject to the vested rights doctrine, in order to eliminate any unnecessary legal challenges.
 Chapter 35.91 RCW for water and sewer facilities.
 RCW 36.70A.070(6)(a)(iii)(B).
 RCW 36.70A.070(6)(b).
 See, WAC 365-195-210, definitions of “adequate public facilities,” “available public facilities,” and “concurrency.”
 WAC 365-195-210, definition of “financial commitment.”
 City of Bellevue v. East Bellevue Community Municipal Corporation, 119 Wash. App. 405, 81 P.3d 148 (2003).
 The author is not aware of any local government using this method in Washington.
 For example, projects defined as affordable housing may be approved where the available capacity in the applicable impact area has been exceeded. The author is not aware of the use of this method in any Washington jurisdiction.
 As stated by the court in Bellevue v. East Bellevue Community Council, 119 Wash. App. at 415:
If a city is unable to properly measure traffic impacts from a development proposal for compliance with the GMA, the city can alter the methodology it uses to calculate traffic volume. And, if a proposed development project violates the city’s adopted LOS, the city has a variety of options available to it. These may include changing the relevant LOS, modifying traffic patterns so as to reduce nonresident commuter traffic, thus reducing traffic congestion, or creatively addressing traffic mitigation expenses.
 Some cities adopt moratoria with a provision allowing a “hardship variance,” which gives the legislative body the ability to grant individual exemptions from the moratorium. These variances can be problematic, if there are no standards to guide the use of discretion. It can also raise questions about the need for the moratorium – after all, if the city has adopted a moratorium because it has no sewer capacity to allow additional connections, the public may question the city’s decision to issue sewer hook-ups during the moratorium under the hardship variance.
 This is not to say that the moratorium itself cannot be appealed, but when it is acknowledged that the moratorium is justified, a property owner will not mount a useless appeal.
 Broward County, Florida, Development Review Requirements, Sec. 5-182, available at http://www.broward.county.fla/planning.
 Concord, North Carolina, Unified Development Ordinance, 188.8.131.52, available at http://www.ci.concord.nc.us/planning/udo/Index.htm.
 Golden v. Planning Board of the Town of Ramapo, 30 N.Y.2d 359, 285 N.E.2d 291, 334 N.Y.S.2d 138 (1972), app. dismd. 409 U.S. 1003, 93 S.Ct. 436, 34 L.2d 294.
 RCW 36.70A.390 does not apply to the designation of critical areas, agricultural lands, forest lands and mineral resource lands and the protection of these areas under RCW 36.70A.060 prior to such actions being taken in a comprehensive plan adopted under RCW 36.70A.070 and implementing development regulations adopted under RCW 36.70A.120, if a public hearing is held on such proposed actions. See, Matson v. Clark County Board of Commissioners, 79 Wn. App. 641, 904 P.2d 317 (1995) (“it is not that moratoriums and interim zoning controls cannot be imposed on resource lands, but rather that actions involving resource lands under RCW 36.70A.060 and .170 are not considered to be moratoriums or interim zoning controls for the purposes of RCW 36.70A.390.”)
 Biggers v. Bainbridge Island, 169 P.3d 14, 25 (2007).
 Id., 169 P.3d at 26.
 See, Covington Greens Associates v. Covington Water District, 931 F. Supp. 738 (W.D. Wash. 1996); see, RCW 35A.21.160, RCW 35.67.020, “every city has full jurisdiction and authority to manage, regulate and control” a system of sewerage. RCW 35.92.010, “a city or town may operate, construct waterworks, with full power to regulate and control the use and distribution of water, for all purposes, public and private.
 For cities, RCW 35.63.200; 35A.63.220.
 Smith v. Skagit County, 75 Wn.2d 715, 453 P.2d 832 (1969); Mayer Built Homes, Inc. v. Town of Steilacoom, 17 Wash. App. 558, 564 P.2d 1170 (1977). See also, Byers v. Board of Clallam County Comm’rs., 84 Wn.2d 796, 801, 529 P.2d 823 (1974) (the court found that a detailed zoning ordinance 30 pages long, scheduled to be effective for 4 years, without a determination that there was an emergency requiring “interim zoning,” was not an interim zoning ordinance).
 Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 535 U.S. 302, 122 S.Ct. 1465, 152 L.Ed.2d 517 (2002).
 Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 535 U.S. 302, 122 S.Ct. 1465, 152 L.Ed.2d 517 (2002); First English Evangelical Lutheran Church v. County of Los Angeles, 482 U.S. 304, 107 S.Ct. 2378, 96 L.Ed.2d 250 (1987). Keep in mind that there may be a different analysis for utility related moratoria. See, Lockary v. Kayfetz, 587 F. Supp. 631 (N.D. Cal. 1984) (12 year water hookup moratorium states taking cause of action), subsequent proceedings, 908 F.2d 543 (9th Cir. 1990) (water hookup not a taking if due to water shortage thereby precluding summary judgment), superceded, 917 F.2d 1150 (9th Cir. 1990) (unless it denies viable economic use, no confiscation by enactment of restriction; facial challenge rejected, may be illegal discrimination.); Kawaoka v. City of Arroyo Grande, 17 F.3d 1227 (9th Cir. 1994) (temporary water moratorium valid as meets rational basis test and even if it lasts a year it is a reasonable time.)
 Biggers v. Bainbridge Island, 169 P.3d 14 (2007).
 Id., 169 P.3d at 18.
 Master Builders Ass’n. v. Sammamish, CPSGHMB No. 05-2-0030c, Order Segregating Case No. 05-3-0027 from the Consolidated Case and Final Decision and Order in Case No. 05-3-0027, August 5, 2005.
 RCW 35.63.100, RCW 35A.63.070, RCW 36.70A.140.
 Byers v. Board of Clallam County Commissioners, 84 Wn.2d 796, 529 P.2d 823 (1974).
 RCW 35.63.100, RCW 35A.63.070.
 Matson v. Clark County Bd. Of Comm’rs., 79 Wash. App. 641, 648, 904 P.2d 317 (1995).
 See, WCHS, Inc. v. Lynnwood, 120 Wn. App. 668, 86 P.3d 1169 (2004). Although the city in this case adopted an interim zoning ordinance, not a moratorium, the consequences to a municipality imposing a moratorium would be the same. If complete applications have been submitted to the municipality, and these applications are subject to the vested rights doctrine, the municipality cannot adopt a moratorium to frustrate the development.