By the narrowest of margins — a 4-3 vote — the Pierce County Council on June 15 passed an ordinance adopting amendments to the Pierce County Code to resolve challenges to the “Centers and Corridors” legislation.
Said legislation involved previously adopted October 2020, updates to the community plans of Frederickson, Mid-County, Parkland-Spanaway-Midland and South Hill that encourages denser development near the planned Pacific Avenue bus rapid transit line. The plans formalize transportation corridors in the communities by rezoning them with new development standards to mostly allow for more multi-family and commercial development.
A trio of organizations, including Futurewise — a nonprofit that focuses on what the group calls “livable communities” via influencing environmental and economic policies — sued Pierce County based on claims that the plans violate the Growth Management Act.
“And while this is to settle a conflict, I think it’s a symptom of a broken system — a system that is dividing people, and I don’t know how entrepreneurs and citizens can keep their sanity after trying to navigate the zoning and the regulatory and legal systems that have been piled on top of each other for over 30 years,” said Councilmember Amy Cruver in indicating her opposition to R2021-49. “I mean this is a tangled mess.”
Councilmember Ryan Mello, in urging passage of the ordinance, said the legislation would protect limited industrial lands from mixed-use requirements.
“In short, it does come down to incompatible land uses and supporting higher-paying jobs and the land uses that support that,” he said.
In addition to Mello, other members of the council voting yes included Marty Campbell, Jani Hitchen and Derek Young. No votes included the aforementioned Cruver, Hans Zeiger and Dave Morell.
The council passed an ordinance amending Title 17A of the Pierce County Code regarding site development and stormwater drainage and repealing the Pierce County stormwater management and site development manual and adopting a new manual.
“So, these are all in concert with our state and federal partners,” Young explained. “This would seem like a routine update based on Ecology changing some of their standards as the department has indicated.”
The council passed a resolution ratifying an agreement to sell county-owned property at 23100 Mountain Highway East, also known as the “Elk Plan Road Shop Property."
A resolution celebrating Pierce Transit CEO Sue Dreier and her accomplishments was passed by the council. Dreier has announced plans to retire this summer after 30 years in the transit industry, starting as a bus operator. She has served as Pierce Transit CEO since May 2015.
Finally, the council passed a resolution recognizing June 19 as Juneteenth in Pierce County. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger announced in Galveston, Texas, the end of slavery in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
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