Last night’s 3-2 Planning Commission vote to deny the rezone of approximately 13 acres of land from Business Park to Light Manufacturing was not the right decision, in our opinion.
We would be the first to love to see that land stay as open space and daffodil fields. The beauty of Mt. Rainier set against a sea of yellow flowers screams Puyallup to us. Look at the picture on our header here to see the importance of daffodils.
There’s two problems, though, with our want to see that land remain unchanged. First, back in 2008 the land was rezoned to commercial, manufacturing, and residential. It is not zoned to be open space and it will not be open space in the future. Second, it is not our land and therefore we have no right to say what it can and cannot be, within reason.
The land in question is made up of two parcels that total around 13 acres and is currently zoned as a business park. The land directly to the west of this land is located in the city and is zoned light manufacturing. The land directly to the north and the east are in the county and therefore do not fall under the city’s zoning requirements.
The applicant, who wants to purchase the land from Mr. Van Lierop is requesting the zoning to be changed to light manufacturing to make it compatible with the land to its west. This zoning change from business park to light manufacturing is a slight change in use and does not affect the removal of the open space. In our opinion, it falls in the category of a reasonable land use change.
The majority of citizen comments at the meeting centered around the desire to keep that land open and not allow warehouses to be built on it. The idea of keeping the land open is out of the question. The city is not in the farming business, nor should they be. They are not going to purchase this land just because nostalgia dictates they do. If a private citizen or company thinks it is viable to purchase the property to keep as a bulb field or sports fields, we would be the first to say thank you and good luck. So far no one has stepped forward.
Secondly, while warehouses are not ideal, we would argue that another strip mall or mixed use development is just as ugly and would do nothing for keeping the charm of that view. A warehouse or two does provide jobs and according to city planner Katie Baker at the meeting, would include less traffic than a business park.
Thirdly, this property does not belong to the city. Many of the comments used the term “we,” as if “we” have any stake in the property. To us, “we” means the city of Puyallup, since as citizens we make up the city. If this were owned by the city it would be a different story. It is owned by a private citizen who has had the property in his family for many years and is now interested in selling it and retiring. Why should the city council prevent him from selling his land over this minor zoning change?
Finally, as many people are aware there is a political divide in this town that rarely sees eye to eye with one another. What is most interesting is that on this issue we believe everyone agrees. We believe no one, no council member, no Planning Commission member, no citizen wants to see this land become anything other than a beautiful open field for everyone to enjoy. That is in a perfect world. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. You cannot stop change. This land is going to change, whether it be a few warehouses or another Papa Murphy’s and tanning salon. We wish we could prevent this and have daffodils blooming off Shaw and Pioneer for the next fifty years. We can’t. The city council’s job now is to do what they believe is right. We believe hundreds of new jobs and the right of a property owner to do what he wishes with his land is the right thing to do.