Council Legislation

Proposed Resolution No. R2021-2

Title: A Resolution of the Pierce County Council Amending Exhibit A to Resolution No. R2020-89s, County Council Initiated Amendments to the Comprehensive Plan for the 2021 Plan Amendment Cycle; Removing Application Number 940172 (Residential Density Calculation Formula) from Exhibit A; and Requesting the Department of Planning and Public Works Provide a Full Refund of Application Fees. (Removing Residential Density Calculation Amendment Application from Consideration in 2021)

Status: Completed

Sponsors: Councilmembers Derek Young, Ryan Mello

Final votes

January 26, 2021
Nay Nay Nay Aye Aye Aye Aye

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Public Comments

Name Date Comment
James L Halmo 1/16/21 11:56 AM I support the proposal to remove Application No. 940172 from the list of proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendments currently under review. I wrote to the Planning Commission on January 10, 2021, expressing my concerns. The text of my letter to the Planning Commission follows: January 10, 2021 TO: Members of the Pierce County Planning Commission Ref: Comprehensive Plan Amendment No. 940172 Gross Acreage Density Calculation Policy Having reviewed this proposed Amendment to the County’s Comprehensive Plan, I must express my strong opposition to the Amendment as written. First, the SEPA Environmental Checklist states (on page 5): “The proposal would allow the opportunity for more homes to be constructed on land currently designated for residential uses. However, by substantially increasing housing growth potential in urban unincorporated areas outside Centers and Corridors zones, the proposal would likely be incompatible growth with the Puget Sound Region‘s Vision 2050 Plan Regional Growth Strategy.” “The proposal would allow the opportunity for more homes to be constructed in unincorporated urban Pierce County, potentially resulting in increased vehicle trips, demand on transportation, and demand on services and utilities.” Second, among the services being impacted are transportation and schools. There is currently inadequate public bus service in the southern unincorporated parts of the urban portion of the County. Service was sharply cut in the 2008-2009 time frame, and has not been reintroduced, more than a decade later. Pierce County is the only county in the State which has been approved to site schools servicing an urban population in the rural areas. That State Legislature’s ‘slight of hand’ continues to place a sharp burden on the families who reside in the urban unincorporated areas of the County. Schools serving an urban population should be sited in the urban areas, not rural ones. This problem will only be exacerbated by approval of a new “gross acreage density calculation.” Third, it appears the other three Counties in the Central Puget Sound Region which comprise the area subject to regional planning, use the net acreage density calculation. The State’s Growth Management Hearings Board in a 2005 decision stated it was concerned about definitions used for “net buildable areas”: “…The different definitions of “net buildable area” with varying deductions could be adopted by each jurisdiction. This uncoordinated and inconsistent approach in methodology could create a balkanization in the Central Puget Sound area, and could undermine coordinated planning under the GMA.” The same could be argued when trying to compare the net vs. gross areas in the four-county regional area. In another State Growth Management Hearings Board Decision, the Board ruled that the petition, Masters Builders Association, had challenged the right of Snohomish County to move from a gross acreage density calculation to using a net acreage density calculation. The Hearings Board upheld the Amendments made by the County. Thus type of Comprehensive Plan Amendment deserves to be reviewed by the Pierce County Regional Council. The opinions and views of our cities and town in the County need not and should not be ignored. Will the County allow that review? Doubtful. I strongly recommend that you not approve the forwarding of this proposed Comprehensive Plan Amendment to the full Council. Sincerely, James L. Halmo 9806 247th St Ct East Graham, WA 98338 (253) 875-1890