Legislative News Updates

State of the County highlights: On Wednesday March 28th, Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier gave a brief summary of his State of the County address at our Coalition meeting, covering the items that pertain to the building industry. He discussed proposals to cut sewer fees, ideas to drive up wages in Pierce County to keep up with housing costs as well as keeping housing affordable, and the proposed School Impact Fee increase in Pierce County, sponsored by Councilman Derek Young.

Tacoma: A new affordable housing/zoning proposal has recently been added to the Tacoma Mall Neighborhood Subarea Plan. City staff has assembled a list of property owners, developers and housing experts to request input from on this proposed application of inclusionary zoning to the Madison District, as well as its general use as a policy option. Their proposal includes the following:

Establish a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing requirement in the core Madison District

  • Height would be increased from 60 to 75 feet
  • Development of more than 15 dwellings would be required to provide 10% of total units affordable
  • Developments over 25 dwelling units would be required to provide 20% of total units affordable
  • Incentives to promote use of this program would include the height increase and permit fee reductions
  • To implement this proposal, code updates would be made to three Tacoma Municipal Code chapters:
    • 1.39 Affordable Housing Incentives and Bonuses Administrative Code
    • 13.06 Land Use Regulatory Code
    • 13.18 Affordable Housing Inclusionary Development Areas would be adopted as a new chapter

Key Dates:        

  • April 16th: Madison District inclusionary zoning discussion, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • April 16th: Community Informational Meeting, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • April 24th: City Council Public Hearing, starts around 5:15 p.m.

Puyallup: On Wednesday March 28th, city staff gave a presentation to the Planning Commission regarding a possible packet of code amendments intended to support affordable and infill housing strategies. The code areas largely focus on short platting (increasing the quantity of lots which can be created through short plats), improvements required at the time of short plat approval, and other Associated Comprehensive Plan amendments needed to support the project.

City staff only reviewed the topics above in a short presentation and announced that they are preparing to complete community outreach on the entire package, with a public hearing on May 23rd. More information on that hearing will be provided in the future.

Gig Harbor: On Monday March 26, the City Council had a public hearing on the six month residential building moratorium they passed as a surprise agenda item back on February 12th. Several citizens spoke and discussed their projects that were affected by the moratorium. The Planning Director did not show any indication that she knew of these projects being affected by the moratorium, but went on to mention the several other projects she was aware of.

The Council expressed interest in rectifying some zoning and building codes, beginning the process in mid-April at their Planning and Building Committee. One councilmember pointed out that that meeting would be two months after the moratorium was initially passed and expressed frustration that virtually no codifying work has been done since the moratorium was issued. This councilmember spoke of the need for urgency to finish their goals in the next four months before the moratorium is lifted, while other councilmembers believed the process should take “as long as it needs to,” possibly alluding to extending the moratorium.

The week before this public hearing, the MBA met with the Mayor, Planning Director, and other planning staff members. We offered to them the help from our staff and experienced members to be resources when the city begins amending zoning and subdivision codes. This issue is being followed closely.
For more information, please contact Jessie Gamble, Government Affairs Manager.
Email: jgamble@masterbuilderspierce.com
Direct Line: (253) 278-8916