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Thurston County, Washington

Community Planning and Economic Development

What is the Open Space Program?

Washington's State Legislature requires county governments to conserve agriculture and timber lands. With Thurston County government's Open Space Tax Program, owners of certain types of high-quality undeveloped land may apply for a property tax reduction in exchange for maintaining their land in a rural, undeveloped state.  

Program Requirements

  • Decide which program to apply for
    • Community Planning division manages the Open Space & Timber Land applications on this page.
    • The Assessor's Office manages Forest, Farm and Agriculture applications. Find forms and information on their Property Tax Relief Programs page under Current Use Classifications tab.
  • Fill out and submit the correct application forms below to the county's Community Planning division.
  • Pay the application fee.  (For 2023, that fee is $1,728.) 
  • Applications go through a public review & hearing process. 
    • That's because the taxes reduced for properties in the program are shifted to community taxpayers. Because of this, and other potential effects upon the general public interest, applications for the open space classification properties are subject to a public process that includes public hearings. 
    • There may be an exception to the tax shift if a taxing district's statutory rate limits have been reached. However, the district receives less tax revenue, and may reduce public services or facilities. Besides being a tax-related decision, the approval of an application for current use classification is also a land use decision. If the County grants the special privilege of reduced taxes for a specific land use, then it needs to be sure that the land use is appropriate for its location, and will not result in conflicts with neighbors.
  • There are penalties for early withdrawal.
    • A nine-year minimum time in the program applies. Applicants who leave the program early may owe back taxes, interest and penalties.

Learn more

Application Forms & Instructions

Open Space 

Application  |  Checklist  |  Instructions  |  Process  | Eligibility Criteria  | Rating System  |   Contact List

Timber Lands 

Application  |  Checklist  |  Instructions  |  Process  |  Eligibility Criteria  |  Contact List

2023 List of Applications Submitted to Date

The 2022 Approved Applicants

There was only one Open Space Tax Program application submitted in 2021, and it was approved by the Board of County Commissioners following a public hearing on August 30, 2022. Details below: