Council Legislation

Proposed Ordinance No. 2020-102s

Title: An Ordinance of the Pierce County Council Adopting Amendments to the Pierce County Code Related to Community Plan Updates; Amending Title 17B, "Construction and Infrastructure Regulations – Road and Bridge Design and Construction Standards," Title 18A, "Development Regulations – Zoning," Title 18B, "Development Regulations – Signs," Title 18J, "Development Regulations – Design Standards and Guidelines," and Section 18A.10.030, "Zoning Atlas," and Adopting a New Chapter 18A.16, "Centers and Corridors Use Table," Chapter 18A.41, "Small Animal Boarding Business," Section 18B.30.130, "Towne Center and Corridor Zones," and Section 18J.17.025, "Exemptions," and Repealing Section 18J.30.095, "SR-7 Tree Enhancement and Incentive Program"; Adopting Findings of Fact; and Setting and Effective Date. (Development Regulations and Construction and Infrastructure Regulations Amendments -Implementing Community Plan Updates)

Effective: February 1, 2021

Status: Passed

Sponsors: Councilmembers Dave Morell, Douglas G. Richardson

Final votes

October 29, 2020
Aye Excused Aye Aye Aye Aye Aye

Additional legislative records are available below Collapse All  Expand All

Public Comments

Name Date Comment
James Halmo 10/11/20 9:27 PM October 11, 2020 TO: Mr. Chairman and Members of the Community Development Committee Pierce County Council Ref: Proposed Ordinance 2020-102 I have a number of comments to make about the proposed Ordinance. First, the draft regulations do not take into account previously adopted changes found in Ordinance 2020-48, which reversed a number of changes made earlier in Ordinance 2019-53 (its Exhibit A), with an effective date of May 16, 2020. That action was in response to a Petition for Review filed with the States Growth Management Hearings Board. Ordinance 2020-48 ensured that the Rural Farm (RF) land use classification would not be encumbered with uses which are inconsistent with farming and agricultural land use polices and regulations. Four major changes stood out: 1) agricultural supply stores of unlimited size are no longer permitted; 2) the so-called ‘motel/hotel’ provision hidden in the term ‘retreat center,’ as visually presented to the Council, was eliminated; 3) the provision for municipal solid waste facilities on rural farm lands was eliminated; and 4) cell towers of unlimited height were removed. The changes affected the regulations of Gig Harbor Peninsula, Mid-County, and Upper Nisqually Valley Community Plan areas and the non-community plan areas. All of the agreed upon changes, as adopted in Ordinance 2020-48, should be inserted into Ordinance 2020-102 Second, While Ordinance 2020-48 made necessary changes to Rural Farm lands in the Development Regulations, some additional changes must be made regarding Municipal Solid Waste Disposal Facilities (Level 5) because the current regulations allow them in areas over the Central Pierce County Sole Source Aquifer. The State Hearings Board stated back in 2007 that the County and the Board jointly agreed that such facilities would not be allowed in the future over that aquifer. I recommend that Level 5 in the regulations tables bear an asterisk (*) or double asterisk (**) with would be defined as follows: “Prohibited over the Central Pierce County Sole Source Aquifer.” I strongly recommend the following citations, found in the proposed Ordinance be amended Non-Community Plan Areas, various, Table 181A17.020 (Exhibit E, p. 23, 27, 28) Alderton-McMillan, various, Table 18A.18.010 (Exhibit E, p. 32, 37) Upper Nisqually Valley, Various, Table 18A.31.020 (Exhibit E, p. 84) In addition, the Development Regulations Use Category Descriptions of 18A.33.230 Utilities should be amended to also show this major prohibition. In particular, I do not think that the over whelming majority of the County’s citizens would welcome a new major landfill near the entrance to Mr. Rainier National Park. As found on Page 41 of Exhibit B, the Mid-County regulations regarding Agricultural Supply Stores, Levels P 1-4, should bear a note that such stores are limited to 5,000 sq. ft., in keeping with a specific formal policy (MC LU-8.2) in the Mid-County Community Plan. Third, Standards – Vegetation Retention (Exhibit D, pp 7-8) contains a new minimum retention percentage for the existing natural vegetation. It states a combination of 0.75 acre lots not exceeding 4 acres are exempt from the 15% requirements if found in a commercial or industrial lands in the Parkland-Midland-Spanaway Plan area. 4 acres is a large land parcel. This also pertains to acreage within a ½ mile of the SR-7 corridor. We are talking about both sides of the corridor, and thus one whole mile. Why? The ½ mile exception is clearly unwarranted. The exemption could, given how developers operate, permit them to cut large groves of native oak trees. Some County planners would say no, but there has been a situation in the Parkland area where oak trees were cut, with or without a county permit. The situation is not clear.. Oak trees have special protection in this County (18J.15.030). That special relationship should be highlighted in the revised Standards – Vegetation Retention section to ensure that oak trees receive the protection they deserve. Finally, I would comment that it was very difficult to access the proposed Development Regulation changes prior to the notice of this meeting. There should be some electronic linkage between the Comprehensive Plan policies being changed and the underlying Development Regulations which are being proposed simultaneously. This should not be a difficult task for any computer software designer working with the County’s website. Sincerely, James L. Halmo 9806 247th Street Ct. East Graham, WA 98338 (253) 875-1890
James L Halmo 10/18/20 7:32 PM October 18, 2020 Mr. Chairman and Members of the Community Development Committee Ref: Ordinance 2020-102 (Development Regulations/Corridors) I wrote to the Committee on October 11th and provided comments on four issues: 1) Failure to use the current Development Regulations including those changes made in adopted Ordinance 2020-48 (responding to a Petition for Review filed with the State’s Growth Management Hearings Board; 2) Changes to some community plans and the non-community plan regarding rural areas to make the County compliant with protecting the sole source aquifer from another solid waste landfill in Central Pierce County; 3) Standards on Vegetation Retention in the Parkland-Spanaway–Midland Community Plan area which affects a one mile wide strip running down State Highway 7, and; 4) Difficulty in accessing the Development Regulations prior to your last meeting. I do not find any new Amendments to be reviewed addressing those four issues. As regards Development Regulations, your last meeting was the first that they had been fully presented to the general public. Three members from the Department of Planning and Public Works spoke about all of the meetings with the general public and the land use advisory commissions. However, those general public meetings did not involve the new Development Regulations. These are the meat on the formal policy skeleton. Sincerely, James L. Halmo 9806 247th Street Ct. East Graham, WA 98338 (253) 875-1890
James L Halmo 10/28/20 4:25 PM October 28, 2020 Mr. Chairman and Members of the Pierce Council Ref: Ordinance 2020-102s (Development Regulations/Corridors) Usage of Current Development Regulations. My comments are based on the electronic format used by the Council on October 27th. Unfortunately, as of 3 pm on October 28th, they could not be found under the “Packet” listing for your meeting on October 29th. Having reviewed the latest version of draft Ordinance 2020-102s, I wish to thank the Council for ensuring that changes adopted in May 2020 by the Council in Ordinance 2020-48 have been incorporated into the latest Ordinance under review. I did find, however, that two small updates were not made. This involves the continued inclusion of the Commercial Use ‘Transportation”, Level C1, in both the Mid-County and the Upper RNisqually Valley Community Plan regulations. These should be deleted to comply with Ordinance 2020-48. They are found in the draft Ordinance as follows: Exhibit B: Mid-County, Title 18A.27.020, electronic page 1157 (page 42 of 90) Exhibit E: Upper Nisqually Valley, Title 18A.31.020 electronic page 1442 (page 84 of 91) If possible, it would be nice to "clean up" the remaining authorization for Municipal Solid Waste Facilities (Level C-5) in both the Upper Nisqually Valley and Alderton-McMillan Community Plan Regulations. The Central Pierce County Sole Source Aquifer is found under both plan areas. Exhibit E: Alderson-McMillan, Title 18A.18.020, electronic pages 1391 & 1396 (pages 33 and 38 of 91) Upper Nisqually Valley, Title 18A.18.31.020, electronic page 1442 (page 84 of 91) It would be preferable if that Level C-5 could have an asterisk which says ”prohibited on Sole Source aquifer lands" for the Non-Community Plan areas (which would include Central Pierce but might not preclude a siting on the Bonney Lake plateau), Title 18A.17.020 for R5, R10, R20, and R40 lands (electronic page 1386). Sincerely, James L. Halmo 9806 247th Street Ct. East Graham, WA 98338 (253) 875-1890
Vincenzo Ceccarelli 10/29/20 12:49 PM RE: Frederickson Overall Planning and Amendment on page D-61 of 2020-98s FR LU-8.3 The Employment Center should allow a variety of industrial, research, business and office development with an emphasis on businesses that provide a high number of employees. Commercial uses that may have visual or noise impacts that are incompatible with residential areas may be appropriate in employment centers on a case by case basis though a conditional use permit process. My wife and I are homeowners in the Frederickson community and are strongly opposed to the authorization of commercial uses in our residential neighborhood. We are choosing to email our comment to so as not to make this business known to the public out of common decency. These types of businesses cannot coexist with pre-existing developments. We are a prime example as to why not – we live next to one. It has been operating for over a year now without proper permitting and fits the description in the proposed amendment. It is a level 4 repair personal watercraft repair facility that also functions as a storage yard, which is not allowed in the EC zone we are in. It is an eyesore and meets the legal definition of a nuisance, as well as pierce county’s definition per RCW 7.48.120. It did not exist when we bought our house in 2014. This business was moved here from another location prior to securing proper permits with the county. This makes it an illegal business. We’ve had a case open with county code enforcement for roughly 5 months now and because of that case have learned that the owner is sidestepping transparency regarding his usage and is hoping to back into legal status with changes in zoning or added amendments. We, as well as our HOA, contacted our county district representative and were met with a very dismissive response, only to find shortly after that this amendment was introduced into the planning document. This business has ruined our experience in our home. We’ve essentially lost the use of our backyard because it sits on the other side of a 6’ privacy fence that borders our HOA, which is not intended to provide privacy from a yard full of boats, which range from 9-10’ tall, if not more. There is constant noise from repair work that is not contained within the workshop. Often, work is done outside. Imagine having your infant almost down for a nap only to have loud clanging and revving of boat engines from your neighboring business wake them. There is also large delivery vehicle traffic as well as hazardous waste disposal trucks that add to the noise pollution. This business utilizes a forklift on a gravel lot, and they are constantly adjusting their inventory in an effort to cram more onto an already overstuffed lot of an estimated 30-40+ vessels. Imagine the noise generated from this – the constant clanging of wheels over an uneven surface. Imagine that in your backyard. There are odors from the fumes. It is not pleasant to be forced to inhale them. Per the Frederickson Community Plan and Vision Statement: “Neighborhoods will be more livable with new developments being designed in a manner which supports interaction of residents and pedestrian mobility, and existing neighborhoods protected from incompatible or more intense uses; Commercial and industrial development will be well designed and will respect the character of residential areas…” Allowing the usage proposed by this amendment is incongruent with the plan outlined by the county’s vision of Frederickson. It also emphasizes protection for existing neighborhoods – our home, and most of those in our HOA, was built in 2002 – which would have made it existing when the community plan was adopted. Aside from the 4 years I spent in the Marine Corps, my wife and I have lived in pierce county our whole lives and planned to live here indefinitely. The idea that an illegal business right in my backyard could be legitimized is a punch to the gut. The fact that the county is allowing this business to operate with impunity is an incredibly difficult pill to swallow. Some would urge us to move. But why should we be forced out and an illegal business allowed to operate? And we would likely take a hit on the sale because of this nuisance business, which is enough to make any proud homeowner angry, especially considering the time and sweat equity we put into our home to add value. If we were to take a hit, it would likely drive down comps and property values for the homes around us. This community (between 66th and 74th to the south of 176th to Boeing) should not even be zoned as EC. This community should be zoned for more residential use as is it HOA on top of HOA. These types of businesses just to not belong. Please reconsider and reject this proposed amendment. Allowing this type of usage, even on a conditional basis, will create more situations like ours. Knowing the hell it has caused for us, we wouldn’t wish it on anyone else, especially a neighbor. Thank you. Vincenzo Ceccarelli