Council Legislation

Proposed Ordinance No. 2021-26s

Title: An Ordinance of the Pierce County Council Adopting the 2021 Amendments to Title 19A of the Pierce County Code, “Pierce County Comprehensive Plan," Relating to Comprehensive Plan Policies and Land Use Designations; the “Alderton-McMillin Community Plan”; the “Browns Point—Dash Point Community Plan”; the “Gig Harbor Peninsula Community Plan”; the “Graham Community Plan”; and the “Key Peninsula Community Plan”; Adopting Findings of Fact; and Setting an Effective Date.

Effective: October 1, 2021

Status: Passed

Sponsors: Councilmembers Derek Young

Final votes

May 11, 2021
Aye Aye Aye Aye Aye Aye Aye


Documents
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Public Comments

Name Date Comment
Lucinda Wingard 4/16/21 7:31 AM Insufficient public notice of opportunity to read and comment on Gig Harbor Community Plan. Revision has errors. November 2020 PAC refused to consider public input.
James L Halmo 4/16/21 1:13 PM April 16, 2021 TO: Members of the Pierce County Council’s Community Development Committee Ref: Comprehensive Plan Amendment Application No. 940161 Addition of GOAL LU-127 - Redesignation of Land I wish to provide comments regarding this new policy redesignation criteria being added to the County’s Comprehensive Plan., particularly about the inclusion of a variety of land use classifications, such as Master Planned Resorts, New Fully Contained Communities, etc. plus “schools.” I have reviewed briefly the newly adopted four-county Puget Sound Regional Planning Document VISION 2050. That planning document requires all four counties to review and modify their Countywide Planning Polices by the end of calendar year 2021. Undoubtedly Comprehensive Plans and Development Regulations will also need to be reviewed and modified. The proposed amendment makes no distinction between urban and rural land use classifications. Accordingly, a review of this proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment shows that Application No. 940161 might be incompatible with VISION 2050’s Regional Growth Strategy. Two examples from the document follow: New Fully Contained Communities MPP-DP-34 Avoid new fully contained communities outside of the designated urban growth area because of their potential to create sprawl and undermine state and regional growth management goals. MPP-DP-35 In the event that a proposal is made for creating a new fully contained community, the county shall make the proposal available to other counties and to the Regional Council for advance review and comment on regional impacts. p. 97 Schools Serving an Urban Population Sited in Rural Areas MPP-DP-36 Use existing and new tools and strategies to address vested development to ensure that future growth meets existing permitting and development standards and prevents further fragmentation of rural lands. p. 96 MPP-DP-38 Maintain the long-term viability of permanent rural land by avoiding the construction of new highways and major roads in rural areas. MPP-DP-45 Avoid growth in rural areas that cannot be sufficiently served by roads, utilities, and services at rural levels of service. p. 97 MPP-PS-26 Work cooperatively with school districts to plan for school facilities to meet the existing and future community needs consistent with adopted comprehensive plans and growth forecasts, including siting and designing schools to support safe, walkable access and best serve their communities. MPP-PS-27 Site schools, institutions, and other community facilities that primarily serve urban populations within the urban growth area in locations where they will promote the local desired growth plans, except as provided for by RCW 36.70A.211. MPP-PS-28 Locate schools, institutions, and other community facilities serving rural residents in neighboring cities and towns and design these facilities in keeping with the size and scale of the local community, except as provided for by RCW 36.70A.211. p. 146 The provision for new development which provides for “contiguous expansion of an existing land use designation,” particularly in rural areas may be considered suspect. This type of “leap frogging” development is not rationale planning, but a spurious one. For example, over time, more contiguous land parcels could be added as part of a continuous wave. Some relevant Comprehensive Plan Policies on the issue are noted: LU-78.3 Ensure coordination between the County and each school district siting schools in the rural area. LU-78.3.1 Each school district siting schools in the rural area shall participate in the County’s periodic updates to its Comprehensive Plan as required by RCW 36.70A.130(1)(b) by: • Coordinating its enrollment forecasts and projections with the County’s adopted population projections; • Identifying school siting criteria with the County, cities, and regional transportation planning organizations; • Identifying suitable school sites with the County and cities, with priority to siting urban-serving schools in existing cities and towns in locations where students can safely walk and bicycle to the school from their homes and that can effectively be served with transit; and • Working with the County and cities to identify school costs and funding for the capital facilities plan element required by RCW36.70A.070(3). LU-78.5.2 School districts must make a finding, with the concurrence of the County Council and the legislative authorities of any affected cities, that the district’s proposed site is suitable to site the school and any associated recreational facilities that the district has determined cannot reasonably be collocated on an existing school site, taking into consideration the policy adopted in LU78.5.1 and the extent to which vacant or developable land within the growth area meets facility needs and educational program requirements; LU-78.5.4 If a sanitary sewer line is extended beyond the urban growth area to serve a school, private property in the rural area may connect to the sewer utility if:….” I focus on schools because Pierce County is the only County in the State of Washington permitted under State law to site schools serving an urban population in the rural areas. There is a long history on that legislative action. However, I am concerned that the inclusion of “schools” in this proposed amendment will only exacerbate the problem in this County. As a result of the "Corridors Project," which provides for a major “rezone” of urban lands, it can be argued that much of the County could be considered to be, in play, for new school sites. Thus, the County must ensure that any action to provide for the expansion of any school sited in the rural areas has been fully vetted against that standard. School accessibility is part of the whole "Corridors Project." Where are the new rezones for schools? I found none. Why do developers continue to ignore the issue? We hear the argument that there is insufficient land in the urban area. That is tantamount to saying that the Urban Growth Area (UGA) is undersized relative to OFM population and employment growth projections. The Comprehensive Plan gives priority to first siting schools for urban kids in urban areas. The County cannot shift the burden for providing services to urban kids in the rural areas solely to the school districts. Consideration must be given to some conditional uses or rezones in the urban areas. That would include the so-called “contiguous” rezone of lands. The “head-in-sand” approach by the County should end. The actions being proposed in LU-127 should be ones found traditionally in a normal Comprehensive Plan Amendment cycle. What is being proposed seems to lay the ground work for just a simple land use application. Who would have the review authority? Just Planning and Public Works? The Hearing Examiner? The Planning Commission? It is unclear. The County has failed in its own responsibility to ensure that school facilities will be available locally as part of the whole projected increase of the County’s urban population. The provisions for such type of schools in rural areas, and the provision of sewer lines to these schools, is a troubling one for rural residents, particularly in the Graham Community Plan area. The cost of sewer expansions and road improvements needed to service urban-residing students in rural–sited facilities falls primarily, and unfairly, on rural taxpayers. I strongly recommend that the text of Application No. 940161 be deleted from the proposed changes to the Comprehensive Plan. The County Council and the Pierce County Regional Council have some work to do. The current proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment might find a better review during that update process for Vision 2050 later this year. If you are going to include some of this proposed language, please ensure that the text pertains solely to “urban areas.” It is hard to believe that the text as drafted would pass muster in a legal challenge. As currently drafted, this proposed Amendment is ripe for a legal appeal. Sincerely, James L. Halmo 9806 247th Street Ct East Graham, WA 98338 (253) 875-1890 jimh1890@hotmail.com
James L Halmo 4/18/21 9:17 PM April 18, 2021 TO: Mr. Chairman and Members of the Pierce County Councils Community Development Committee Ref: Committee Amendment No. 4, Proposed Ordinance No. 2021-26 Comprehensive Plan Amendment SimonCRE, LLC I have reviewed proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment No. 4, and recommend denial of the proposed Amendment. The Application (No. 940347) was included initially with all of the Applications being reviewed, as appropriate, by individual Land Use Advisory Commissions (LUACs) and the County’s Planning Commission. It was not carried forward to the Council. According to State law, a Limited Area of More Intensive Rural Development, or a LAMIRD such as a Rural Neighborhood Center (RNC), is actually neither urban nor rural, but a concentrated area of commercial development in the rural area which existed on July 1, 1990. State Law states clearly Quote on July 1, 1990 End quote. The State Legislature wanted to stop the constant increase of urban sprawl which lacked the necessary urban features such as sewers, proper paved roads with sidewalks, bus transportation, etc. The application highlights the previous existence of a Veterinary Hospital. The County official records include County’s permit application No. 158755 for land parcel 0419131062 which calls for “Change Ex House into Animal Hospital.” The application is dated 07/02/1993, with subsequent dates for the review and approval process. Thus, this land parcel did not have commercial development on July 1, 1990, the crucial date to be considered in establishing and/or expanding a Rural Neighborhood Center. The RNC commercial lands are to be confined with identifiable borders, such as sharp geographical topography, roadways, railroad tracks, etc. Also, in-fills with vacant lands are to be minimized. The proposed Amendment describes property located in the Alderton-McMillin Community area. Its Community Plan was adopted by Ordinance 2007-41s2, with an effective date of June 1, 2008. The Alderton-McMillan Community Plan must be considered when reviewing this request to increase the size of the Rural Neighborhood Center (RNC). The Community Plan’s formal policies on “Rural Neighborhood Center” includes Goal AM LU-7 with its Principles. In particular, Principle AM LU-7.3 states: “Prohibit commercial activities from sprawling along SR 162 or other major arterials through the establishment of a RNC.” Also, Principle AM LU-7.8 states: “Allow infill development within the logical outer boundary of established RNC.” The Community Plan does not call for any additional development outside the RNC. The Amendment’s Finding of Fact No. 39 states: “The properties included in the amendment area are within the logical boundary of the existing LAMIRD.” That is incorrect. They are not. A new logical boundary has not been identified with this application, which should acknowledge the requirements of State law. State law RCW 36.70A.070(5)(d)(iv) states, at length: “A county shall adopt measures to minimize and contain the existing areas or uses of more intensive rural development, as appropriate, authorized under this subsection. Lands included in such existing areas or uses shall not extend beyond the logical outer boundary of the existing area or use, thereby allowing a new pattern of low-density sprawl. Existing areas are those that are clearly identifiable and contained and where there is a logical boundary delineated predominately by the built environment, but that may also include undeveloped lands if limited as provided in this subsection. The county shall establish the logical outer boundary of an area of more intensive rural development. In establishing the logical outer boundary, the county shall address (A) the need to preserve the character of existing natural neighborhoods and communities, (B) physical boundaries, such as bodies of water, streets and highways, and land forms and contours, (C) the prevention of abnormally irregular boundaries, and (D) the ability to provide public facilities and public services in a manner that does not permit low-density sprawl….” “(v) For purposes of (d) of this subsection, an existing area or existing use is one that was in existence: (A) On July 1, 1990, in a county that was initially required to plan under all of the provisions of this chapter….” It is noteworthy that the one RNC land parcel 0491131070 immediately adjacent to the proposed Amendment property borders both SR 162 and 128th Street. It is vacant land, per the photographic information provided with the review. The County Assessor- Treasurer website records confirm this -- “Vacant Land Undeveloped.” These are three land parcels bordering the three land parcels being request to be included in the RAC. They are zoned Rural 10 (R10): 0419131008, 0.51 acres (single family dwelling) 0419131011, 1.840 acres (detached garage – only building) 0419131010, 0.88 acres (single family dwelling) If this formal application should be approved, what is to preclude the landowners of those three bordering land parcels from requesting similar treatment and reclassification of their lands? Where is the logical outer boundary for this RNC which would adhere to State law, or would commercial sprawl continue along SR 162? I understand from the County’s planning staff that the SR-162/128th Street intersection may be reconfigured into a major traffic “roundabout.” That has significance for how this RNC is configured in the future. The Amendment’s Findings of Fact No. 39 states: “The future planned traffic volumes at this location make it unreasonable for the amendment area to remain as a rural residential land use designation.” Quite the contrary. Making the land commercial at or near a major “roundabout,” with flowing traffic focusing on the driving conditions, is almost illogical. Having navigated towards and through hundreds of them at home and abroad for a couple of decades, I understand the mechanics of proper driving at roundabouts. Sightseeing for commercial activity is not one of them. In sum, based on the foregoing, there is an existing RNC. The proposed applicant calls for an expansion of the RNC. The three land parcels are not included currently in the LAMIRD. The Alderton-McMillan Community Plan policies cannot be ignored. The proposal has some vacant lands which are not “infill.” There does not appear to be a clearly defined logical outer boundary on at least two sides, and the proposed property addition had no commercial development on July 1, 1990. Thus, the application would appear to be inconsistent with State law. I recommend that the Council’s Community Development Committee vote to deny the continued processing of this proposed Compressive Plan Amendment as being inconsistent with State law. Should this Amendment be approved subsequently by the County Council, it may be ripe for an appeal for review by the State’s Growth Management Hearings Board. Sincerely, James L. Halmo 9806 247th Street Ct. East Graham, WA 98338 (253) 875-1890 jimh1890@hotmail.com
James L Halmo 5/9/21 10:09 PM May 9, 2021 Mr. Chairman and Members of the Pierce County Council Ref: Proposed Ordinance 2021-26s I will begin my comments by addressing Appendix F, page 2 of 12, Vested Formal Subdivision Applications in the Graham Community Plan area. Changes are being made to correct the land use zoning citations from Reserve 5 to Rural 5. However, at least four of the listed vested projects have expired or been overturned. Those are Numbers 9 (Mountain View Plaza), 12 (Sterling Silver Estates), 19 (Tiger View I & II, and 31 (Rhoades County Estates). No. 9 (Mountain View Plaza) was challenged in court proceedings which went all the way to the Washington State Supreme Court. The Planning Staff should review the entire list to ensure that the information on each project is correct and deletions made. I addressed the Council’s Community Development Committee on April 16, 2021 regarding Comprehensive Plan Amendment LU-129 Redesignation of Land, found on page 25 of Exhibit A. In addressing my concerns, the Planning and Public Works Staff stated that the normal procedures would be followed. This involved LU-127 Redesignation of Land (Application No. 940161). I have three specific questions for which I wish answers included in the formal record. First, since LU-127.1 states “Redesignation should be of an area-wide nature or contiguous expansion of an existing land use designation," one would assume that a Comprehensive Plan amendment would be required for such approval. Is that correct? YES or NO? If “NO’ please explain in some detail why it would not be required? Second, a two part question. Since LU-127.2 states that this should include Master Planned Communities, Master Planned Resorts, Employment Planned Communities, or New Fully Contained Communities, one would assume that these would require an approved Comprehensive Plan Amendment (particularly in rural areas)? Is that correct? YES or NO? If NO, please provide a detail response on how and which legal body (ies) would review the applications. Also, in some instances review by the Pierce County Regional Council and also possibly by the Puget Sound Regional Council might be required. I noted in my April 16th letter that VISION 2050 (which the County must comply with by December 31, 2021) calls for advance review and comment on region impacts for new fully contained communities. Thus, as regards these proposed expansion, would they require coordination with the County’s Regional Council and/or the four-county Regional Council? Third, in the previously adopted "Corridors" legislation, the County noted that provisions should be made for schools addressing the projected new population increases. Critical to that Corridors project was the broad changes of land use designations. Major rezoning would take place. However, the Council failed to address the specific location of necessary schools. LU-127 adds “schools” to the list of single parcels or single ownership (which could be large a large number of parcels) should be allowed when contiguous to an exiting land use designation." Thus, the question: Will any future application for redesignation of land contiguous with schools in the County (both urban and rural) be submitted through the Comprehensive Plan Amendment procedures and will the County finally comply with the guidelines for reviewing lands in the urban area prior to the adoption of any new additions to schools already located in the rural areas? If the answer is “NO,” please provide a legal answer detailing why. By way of background, as regards schools, as a result of a challenge to the last major Comprehensive Plan Update, the State’s Growth Management Hearings Board addressed the school issue and asked sharp questions of the County and the interested School Districts lawyers about sitting criteria. In the State decision it was noted that the Franklin Pierce School District cited 60 acre had been made available for residential housing. The Board asked why the County had not reviewed the land for the sitting of a new school! Clearly, the Hearings Board placed a higher hierarchical priority of school sitting needs over expanded residential housing. As for the addition of land contiguous to schools, any expansion in the rural areas should be subject to review in accordance with Comprehensive Plan Policies LU-78.3 to ensure that the County has worked with the concerned school districts in an analysis of needs of urban schools students to attend schools in rural areas. What follows are portions of the VISION 2050 requirements and the County’s Comprehensive Plan Policies. Schools Serving an Urban Population Sited in Rural Areas (VISION 2050 MPP-DP-36 Use existing and new tools and strategies to address vested development to ensure that future growth meets existing permitting and development standards and prevents further fragmentation of rural lands. p. 96 MPP-DP-38 Maintain the long-term viability of permanent rural land by avoiding the construction of new highways and major roads in rural areas. MPP-DP-45 Avoid growth in rural areas that cannot be sufficiently served by roads, utilities, and services at rural levels of service. p. 97 MPP-PS-26 Work cooperatively with school districts to plan for school facilities to meet the existing and future community needs consistent with adopted comprehensive plans and growth forecasts, including siting and designing schools to support safe, walkable access and best serve their communities. MPP-PS-27 Site schools, institutions, and other community facilities that primarily serve urban populations within the urban growth area in locations where they will promote the local desired growth plans, except as provided for by RCW 36.70A.211. MPP-PS-28 Locate schools, institutions, and other community facilities serving rural residents in neighboring cities and towns and design these facilities in keeping with the size and scale of the local community, except as provided for by RCW 36.70A.211. p. 146 Some relevant Comprehensive Plan Policies on the issue are noted: LU-78.3 Ensure coordination between the County and each school district siting schools in the rural area. LU-78.3.1 Each school district siting schools in the rural area shall participate in the County’s periodic updates to its Comprehensive Plan as required by RCW 36.70A.130(1)(b) by: • Coordinating its enrollment forecasts and projections with the County’s adopted population projections; • Identifying school siting criteria with the County, cities, and regional transportation planning organizations; • Identifying suitable school sites with the County and cities, with priority to siting urban-serving schools in existing cities and towns in locations where students can safely walk and bicycle to the school from their homes and that can effectively be served with transit; and • Working with the County and cities to identify school costs and funding for the capital facilities plan element required by RCW36.70A.070(3). LU-78.5.2 School districts must make a finding, with the concurrence of the County Council and the legislative authorities of any affected cities, that the district’s proposed site is suitable to site the school and any associated recreational facilities that the district has determined cannot reasonably be collocated on an existing school site, taking into consideration the policy adopted in LU78.5.1 and the extent to which vacant or developable land within the growth area meets facility needs and educational program requirements; I trust that the responses to my letter will add some clarity to the issues. Sincerely. James L. Halmo 9806 247th Street Ct East Graham, WA 98338 (253) 875-1890 jimh1890@hotmail.com
James L Halmo 5/10/21 1:56 PM CORRECTED COPY May10, 2021 Mr. Chairman and Members of the Pierce County Council Ref: Proposed Ordinance 2021-26s I will begin my comments by addressing Appendix F, page 2 of 12, Vested Formal Subdivision Applications in the Graham Community Plan area. Changes are being made to correct the land use zoning citations from Reserve 5 to Rural 5. However, at least four of the listed vested projects have expired or have been overturned. Those are Numbers 9 (Mountain View Plaza), 12 (Sterling Silver Estates), 19 (Tiger View I & II, and 31 (Rhoades County Estates). No. 9 (Mountain View Plaza) was challenged in court proceedings which went all the way to the Washington State Supreme Court. The Planning Staff should review the entire list to ensure that the information on each project is correct and deletions made, as appropriate. I addressed the Council’s Community Development Committee on April 16, 2021 regarding Comprehensive Plan Amendment LU-129 Redesignation of Land, found on page 25 of Exhibit A. In addressing my concerns, the Planning and Public Works Staff stated that the normal procedures would be followed. This involved LU-127 Redesignation of Land (Application No. 940161). I have three specific questions for which I wish answers included in the formal record. First, since LU-127.1 states “Redesignation should be of an area-wide nature or contiguous expansion of an existing land use designation," one would assume that a Comprehensive Plan Amendment would be required for such approval. Is that correct? YES or NO? If “NO’ please explain in some detail why it would not be required? Second, a two part question. Since LU-127.2 states that this should include Master Planned Communities, Master Planned Resorts, Employment Planned Communities, or New Fully Contained Communities, one would assume that these would require an approved Comprehensive Plan Amendment (particularly in rural areas)? Is that correct? YES or NO? If NO, please provide a detail response on how and which legal body (ies) would review the applications. Also, in some instances review by the Pierce County Regional Council and also possibly by the Puget Sound Regional Council might be required. I noted in my April 16th letter that VISION 2050 (which the County must comply with by December 31, 2021) calls for advance review and comment on region impacts for new fully contained communities. Thus, as regards these proposed expansions, would they require coordination with the County’s Regional Council and/or the four-county Regional Council? Third, in the previously adopted "Corridors" legislation, the County noted that provisions should be made for schools addressing the projected new population increases. Critical to that Corridors project was the broad changes of land use designations. Major rezoning would take place. However, the Council failed to address the specific location of necessary schools. LU-127 adds “schools” to the list of single parcels or single ownership (which could be a large number of parcels) should be allowed when contiguous to an exiting land use designation." Thus, the question: Will any future application for redesignation of land contiguous with schools in the County (both urban and rural) be submitted through the Comprehensive Plan Amendment procedures and will the County finally comply with the guidelines for reviewing lands in the urban area, prior to the adoption of any new additions to schools already located in the rural areas? If the answer is “NO,” please provide a legal answer detailing why. By way of background, as a result of a challenge to the last major Comprehensive Plan Update, the State’s Growth Management Hearings Board addressed the school issue and asked sharp questions of the County and the interested School Districts’ lawyers about siting criteria. In the State decision it was noted that the Franklin Pierce School District cited 60 acre had been made available for residential housing. The Board asked why the County had not reviewed the land for the siting of a new school! Clearly, the Hearings Board placed a higher hierarchical priority for school siting needs over expanded residential housing. As for the addition of land contiguous to schools, any expansion in the rural areas should be subject to review in accordance with Comprehensive Plan Policies LU-78.3 to ensure that the County has worked with the concerned school districts in an analysis of needs of urban schools students to attend schools in rural areas. What follows are portions of the VISION 2050 requirements and the County’s Comprehensive Plan Policies. Schools Serving an Urban Population Sited in Rural Areas (VISION 2050 MPP-DP-36 Use existing and new tools and strategies to address vested development to ensure that future growth meets existing permitting and development standards and prevents further fragmentation of rural lands. p. 96 MPP-DP-38 Maintain the long-term viability of permanent rural land by avoiding the construction of new highways and major roads in rural areas. MPP-DP-45 Avoid growth in rural areas that cannot be sufficiently served by roads, utilities, and services at rural levels of service. p. 97 MPP-PS-26 Work cooperatively with school districts to plan for school facilities to meet the existing and future community needs consistent with adopted comprehensive plans and growth forecasts, including siting and designing schools to support safe, walkable access and best serve their communities. MPP-PS-27 Site schools, institutions, and other community facilities that primarily serve urban populations within the urban growth area in locations where they will promote the local desired growth plans, except as provided for by RCW 36.70A.211. MPP-PS-28 Locate schools, institutions, and other community facilities serving rural residents in neighboring cities and towns and design these facilities in keeping with the size and scale of the local community, except as provided for by RCW 36.70A.211. p. 146 Some relevant Comprehensive Plan Policies on the issue are noted: LU-78.3 Ensure coordination between the County and each school district siting schools in the rural area. LU-78.3.1 Each school district siting schools in the rural area shall participate in the County’s periodic updates to its Comprehensive Plan as required by RCW 36.70A.130(1)(b) by: • Coordinating its enrollment forecasts and projections with the County’s adopted population projections; • Identifying school siting criteria with the County, cities, and regional transportation planning organizations; • Identifying suitable school sites with the County and cities, with priority to siting urban-serving schools in existing cities and towns in locations where students can safely walk and bicycle to the school from their homes and that can effectively be served with transit; and • Working with the County and cities to identify school costs and funding for the capital facilities plan element required by RCW36.70A.070(3). LU-78.5.2 School districts must make a finding, with the concurrence of the County Council and the legislative authorities of any affected cities, that the district’s proposed site is suitable to site the school and any associated recreational facilities that the district has determined cannot reasonably be collocated on an existing school site, taking into consideration the policy adopted in LU78.5.1 and the extent to which vacant or developable land within the growth area meets facility needs and educational program requirements; I trust that the responses to my letter will add some clarity to the issues. Sincerely. James L. Halmo 9806 247th Street Ct East Graham, WA 98338 (253) 875-1890 jimh1890@hotmail.com