Day Care Facilities Code Amendment

Notice of Adoption

  • March 16, 2021 -  The Board of County Commissioners adopted the Day-care Facilities ordinance at their regularly scheduled meeting on March 16, 2021 at 3pm. Select the Day-care Facilities Ordinance to view the signed and adopted ordinance. If you have questions, please contact


Thurston County is considering an amendment to the Daycare Center and Family Day Care Provider uses and standards in Section 20.54.070 of the Thurston County Code. This amends the special use chapter of the Thurston County Zoning Ordinance.  Item (#A-20) on the “2020-21 Official Docket of Proposed Development Code Amendments” Permitted Childcare Centers is a priority project to enhance access for childcare facilities throughout rural Thurston County through amendments to Title 20 Zoning Code. This is a legislative proposal designed to meet requirements under the Growth Management Act. The primary objective of the proposed update is to provide much needed childcare facilities in a wider range of zoning districts. No specific financial impacts have been identified. It is anticipated that removing barriers to these types of facilities may expand accessibility, be consistent with the Growth Management Act, decrease commute times, reduce cost due to competition, and potentially create jobs.

Project Timeline


**The project timeline is tenatitive and subject to change.


Thurston County currently restricts the allowable locations for either use. The uses are comprised of two definitions:

  • A "Day-care center" means an agency which regularly provides care for a group of children for periods of less than twenty-four hours.
  • A "Family day care provider" means a child day care provider who regularly provides child day care for not more than twelve children in the provider's home in the family living quarters.

Counties and cities may not prohibit the use of a residential dwelling as a family day-care provider’s home facility that is located in an area zoned for residential or commercial land uses, per state law, WAC 365-196-865. This allowance may be permitted by special use, and only prohibited if it would create an “incompatible use adjacent to resource lands of long-term commercial significance”, or within specific hazard areas such as crash zones around airports. Per this WAC, zoning conditions should be no more restrictive than those imposed on other residential dwellings in the same zone but may address drop-off and pickup areas and hours of operation. The proposal under consideration is to permit day-care facilities as a special use in additional zoning districts and amend certain standards.

Public Participation Opportunity 

Thank you for your interest in the Day-care Facilities docket item. If you would like to participate in the public process, please click Comment on the Day-care Facilities to provide comments on this proposal.