Letter: Concerns About Cultivating Puyallup

From:             Charley Stokes

To:                 Tom Utterback                  Katie Baker                  Puyallup Planning Commission members

Date:              September 14th, 2011

Re:                 ‘Cultivating Puyallup’ project; public comments.

 Concern 1              According to data available from the PSRC website, Puyallup’s 2010 population of 37,022 is (4.5%) ahead of total city-wide population targets of 35,396 for 2014, with 1,221 vacant housing units available for occupancy (from 2010 Census data). 

      These 1,221 empty housing units would, at an average occupancy rate of 2.5 residents, accommodate an additional 3,052 residents.  This would allow for a Puyallup population of 40,074 residents with existing residential housing stock.  The PSRC 2030 target population for Puyallup is 50,000.

     Given that the target population accommodation for Puyallup by 2030 (a 19 year horizon) would be an increase of (approx.) 525 residents per year. Given that estimates for housing unit density will drop to 2.3 residents per unit, we should plan for 228 new residential units per year (on average). 

                             What percentage of these new units should be directed to the downtown RGC and what percentage should be directed to the South Hill RGC?  There are no allocation estimates given in the ‘Cultivating Puyallup’ proposal as it focuses only on the downtown RGC.  I believe this allocation planning should be part of the public discussion of ‘Cultivating Puyallup’.

 Concern 2             Cumulative height bonuses allowing (up to) 51’ in the RM-Core is too great and does not fit in with the vision of a historic Puyallup skyline, regardless of setback allowances. TDR and other allowances should be used only to justify building up to the current 36’ limit in the RM-Core.

  Concern 3            Considering the current and on-going lack of parking in the Downtown Core; there should be no relaxation of the required 1.75 spaces per unit in RM-Core in any TDR or other bonus formula.

                            Assumptions about empty nesters, seniors and first-time buyers being the target markets are just that, assumptions.  The builder will sell to whomever presents a check.  There is no way to guarantee buyers would not have one or more cars they would wish to accommodate on-site.

Concern 4           Language in the RM-Core zoning should be changed to a “specified maximum number of units” from the current unlimited number of units per acre (upa).   

                           I suggest a maximum of 44 upa, which is double the current maximum density allowed outside the RM-Core.  Unlimited’ is simply too broad a description’.

 Concern 5           The “Puyallup Comp Plan”Environment Element under Volcanic Hazards, denotes the danger posed by future lahar flows coming from Mt. Rainier, based on historic events.  Current plans are for warning sirens to alert valley residents to evacuate in the event of a lahar.  The Puyallup School District holds periodic evacuations of valley schools.  No such practice evacuations are possible for the general valley population at current levels, so it is unclear how effective this evacuation planning would be in a real-life event.  How is this danger to be mitigated at the higher population densities proposed in ‘Cultivating Puyallup’?     

 Concern 6           There is no notice on the City “Notice’s” website that the period for public comment starts September 1, 2011 and ends September 23, 2011 as regards the upcoming ‘Cultivating Puyallup’ meeting on September 21.  This information should be posted prominently on all sites referencing ‘Cultivating Puyallup”.

 Concern 7            The Herald article of August 31, 2011 could easily mislead the reader to think the 21-day comment period begins the day of the meeting on September 21, 2011.

   The City has a responsibility to insure notice is clearly published.

                       Concern 8          The information summary of the ‘Cultivating Puyallup’ open house held in Council Chambers on July 13, 2011 was not posted to the City website until Aug 26, 2011, less than a full week before the start of the public comment period.

                          Pictures posted with the summary suggest a small turnout of residents mixed with representatives of the development community and planning commission and is not a representative community audience.

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1 Comment

Filed under Election 2011, Making a Better Puyallup

One response to “Letter: Concerns About Cultivating Puyallup

  1. This is excellent.
    I have commented that even the current standards jeopardise Historical property.I support a roll-back to the pre City Hall standards of three story max.

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