Know Your Planning Commission 11.14.12

***This series of articles are recaps of planning commission meetings.  They will run after each meeting and are written by District 3 resident and Planning Commission member Chris McNutt.***

The Planning Commission is a Council appointed yet independent body of citizens who act as a vetting/advisory panel for land use and zoning to the City Council. The following is a personal account and may not reflect the opinions of other Planning Commission members.

The meeting on November 14th, 2012 covered three primary topics.

  1. Continuation of PMC (Puyallup Municipal Code) Amendments (plus a new FEMA code amendment)
  2. Pre-annexation Zoning Extravaganza
  3. South Hill Neighborhood Plan Follow-up

Heading into the meeting I had high hopes of some stellar presentations. These last few months have yielded a dizzying array of experimental PowerPoint templates and I was anxious to see what was next.  Black with orange pinstripes? White with blue highlights? Scenic Glamour Shots®? Swirling page animation with Thanksgiving turkey clipart?

Sadly, we were given no PowerPoint presentations at all. It was all dialogue. Question and answer. Spirited debate….  No pictures.

1. Continuation of PMC Amendments

We reviewed the preliminary text amendments from two of the amendments previously discussed here.

The first, from section 2.B of the above referenced article…

B. SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) Comment/Appeal Period Timelines

… and the second from section 2.F.

F. RM-20 Side Yard Setbacks

These were both text clarifications based on the discussion from the October 10th meeting and no more ground was established.

The third (and all new) amendment was a late addition courtesy of FEMA. They are essentially instructing us to amend PMC 21.07.060 to remove a reference about manufactured homes being coverable under the National Flood Insurance Program. I don’t think we have much leeway in this. Passing it through the Planning Commission is likely just part of the process rather than something we can contribute to or argue with.

2. Pre-annexation Zoning Extravaganza

I have some good news and bad news. The bad news is this was a pretty quick topic. The good news is I found a picture for you!

This is an image of the area we (the city) will likely be annexing. The people of Orchard Hills have attempted to be annexed before but fell short of the required participation (number of signatures) they needed. This time around they soared through the 10% requirement to apply, and it seems they also zipped up to the 60% requirement for annexation. The community is located on Fruitland Ave E just south of 87th St E and across from Fruitland Elementary School.

Our main discussion was around the recommended zoning designation. We went back and forth on it a bit, but it really comes down to either RS-10 (Single Family Residential, 10,000 Sq ft lot size) or RS-08 (Single Family Residential, 8,000 Sq ft lot size). There are arguments for both, but we have to look at the differences.

RS-10 would “fit” pretty well given the surrounding zones, and potentially be a more appropriately stepped buffer from the abutting county land. There would however be several parcels which would be out of compliance for RS-10 and the larger setbacks could be troublesome down the road.

RS-08 wouldn’t fit the surrounding areas as well, but suites the land better. All the properties would comply with the RS-08 standards and line up well with the counties designations.

Ultimately RS-08 is a better fit because it doesn’t leave anyone out of compliance and it’s smaller setbacks make any future site modification easier given the irregular plot dimensions. Also, since the surrounding land is mostly already developed or in separate communities, buffering the neighboring areas by designating Orchard Hills RS-10 would have less impact.

3. South Hill Neighborhood Plan Follow-up

This topic was a follow-up on our homework (cruising the hill and getting impressions about what we liked and want to see in the future) and then some general discussion about the future of the South Hill Regional Growth Center. We all have slightly different takes on the hill, but the one commonality seemed to be that we don’t see how we can pack in the population that the regional organizations want us to have (or predict us having) given the small amount of undeveloped land available.  The numbers basically break down to a prescribed total of 7,600 combined people and jobs in a fairly small area currently containing about 1,600.

This is a proposed transit map from the Chapter 15 of the Comprehensive Plan (yay, another picture!), and not a very current satellite photo, but you can see how little space we have left in this Regional Growth Center.

Even 20 years of change may be a bit short to pack in five times the density within these borders. This is all part of the 2015 Comprehensive Plan cycle, so we’ll be talking about this again.

For more specific information about the meeting, please see the following list of resources.

  • Meeting agenda and distributed documents (here)
  • Audio recording (here)
  • 2012 official minutes (here)

If you have questions or concerns about this (or any other city matter) please reach out to the City Council, myself or any other Planning Commission member. Also, feel free to comment below. I’ll try my best to answer questions.

We are adjourned.

Chris McNutt
District 3
Planning Commissioner



Filed under Chris McNutt, Planning Commission

2 responses to “Know Your Planning Commission 11.14.12

  1. Steve Hastings

    Nice work Chris. Just one comment regarding the FEMA recommended code amendment. FEMA is recommending removal of the said section of code as they no longer provide an insurance premium incentive for folks that install manufactured homes into areas that are within the 100 year flood plain. The incentives used to provide a less expensive premium for each foot the home was installed above the 100 year flood plain level. So yes I agree this is more of a functionally required change than policy oriented from the perspective of Puyallup.

    As a planning commissioner myself, I am hopeful folks in the South Hill Neighborhood planning area will sound off on the plan. We would really like the feedback and direction. I expect the densities are unrealistic, as these goals are set by folks that are not from around Puyallup but lets see what the citizens say.

  2. Pingback: Know Your Planning Commission - Chris McNutt for Puyallup City Council -

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s