Downtown Planned Action EIS
Notice of Availability - Final EIS
Following issuance of a Proposed Final EIS in February and an associated 14-day public comment period, the City is now issuing the Final EIS for the Downtown Puyallup Planned Action Ordinance.
A community meeting will be held on March 28, 2018, starting at 5pm; this will be an open house format with city staff and project consultants available to discuss and answer questions about the Downtown Planned Action Ordinance.
A public hearing will be held before the Planning Commission on April 11, 2018, at 6:30pm. The purpose of the public hearing is to receive comments from the public on the Downtown Zoning Code Amendments, consistency changes to the Comprehensive Plan Capital Facility Plan and Transportation Elements, and the Draft Planned Action Ordinance.
Both of the opportunities will take place in Puyallup City Hall Council Chambers, 5th Floor, 333 South Meridian, Puyallup, 98371.
In 2011, the City undertook a project to bring together a “transfer of development rights” (TDR) program with an update to the Puyallup Downtown Plan, the preparation of a Planned Action Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and a Planned Action implementing ordinance. The City completed a number of steps in that process including holding a scoping meeting, analyzing the potential issues identified, issuing a Draft EIS in April, 2012, and receiving comments. As City staff and project consultants were preparing the response to those comments and the Final EIS, the City Council chose to terminate the project, largely due to concerns related to the TDR program component of the project.
In early-2017, City Council re-initiated the Downtown Planned Action project, with the direction to pick up only the Planned Action/EIS component where it was left off in 2012. Any work on development of a TDR program could occur under further direction at a later date. The City then rehired the consultant team working on the original Planned Action and over the summer and fall of 2017 have been working to update the analysis and proposed mitigation. At this time the bulk of that work has been completed and we are preparing to issue an addendum to the prior document. This will include a comment period followed by preparation and issuance of a Final EIS. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing and make a recommendation of a preferred alternative, which will include code and comprehensive plan amendments in order to fully implement. It is anticipated that the City Council will be presented with this recommendation in the spring of 2018.
What is a "Planned Action"?
“Planned Actions” are authorized under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA - RCW 43.21C.030), and provide more detailed environmental analysis during formulation of planning proposals rather than at the project permit review stage. Because of the upfront environmental review, projects that are consistent with City plans, the Planned Action Ordinance, and EIS mitigation measures are not subject to additional environmental review or appeals. Essentially, Planned Actions expedite the review process for developments that are consistent with adopted plans.
The advantage of the Planned Action process is an increase in certainty and predictability, and a decrease in processing time, resulting in real cost savings for applicants. The advantage for the City and citizens is improved economic development and implementation of adopted plans.
Planned Actions do not change the City’s plans. Only the City can do that through the regular planning process. Planned Actions are intended to expedite development proposals that:
- Are consistent with adopted City plans;
- Are identified in a planned action ordinance;
- Have had their significant impacts adequately addressed in the EIS.
Where planned actions exist, they can provide a significant economic development incentive.
The planned action ordinance brings the environmental analysis and mitigation measures within the EIS together with the City’s plans and development regulations, providing the basis for expedited review of development proposals. Cultivating Puyallup will bring these measures to the City, and ultimately it is the City Council who will have the final authority to adopt, amend or choose not to implement the planned action process for Puyallup.
The Downtown Planned Action considers tools that promote economic development and downtown revitalization by implementing a "Planned Action" Environmental Impact Statement (PAEIS or EIS). The PAEIS will expedite the processing or projects that are consistent with the City's adopted plans for Downtown. The proposal also includes amendments to the City's Comprehensive Plan, including the Transportation Element, and Capital Facilities Plan, and the municipal Code. Municipal Code amendments would change development standards governing the size and scale of buildings and forms of parking that would result in greater building density and intensity, and a greater amount of population and employment.
The Proposed Action(s) are:
- Comprehensive Plan Amendments (Transportation Element, Capital Facilities Plan)
- Development Regulation Amendments
- Planned Action Ordinance
This SEPA EIS is intended to address the potential for significant adverse environmental impacts that could occur as a result of approval of the comprehensive plan and development regulation amendments associated with the Downtown Puyallup Planned Action, as well as impacts from potential future development activities over the approximately 20-year buildout horizon (2035 per Comprehensive Plan). The EIS is intended to provide decision makers with relevant information needed to consider the range of Proposed Action(s) and their probable, significant adverse environmental impacts. The City is proposing that future development within the Downtown Puyallup EIS study area be designated by the City of Puyallup as a Planned Action, pursuant to SEPA (WAC 197-11-168).
For purposes of environmental review under SEPA, two study alternatives that meet the objectives of the City and a No Action Alternative have been identified. The two Study Alternatives bracket the range of land use intensities that the study area could accommodate, given the existing City of Puyallup Comprehensive Plan designations and zoning classifications of the area.
Alternatives analyzed in the Final EIS include:
No Action Alternative assumes growth consistent with that projected in the existing Comprehensive Plan and development regulations (e.g. Downtown Plan, Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use map, Zoning map, and related development standards), and assumes that individual project-specific SEPA review continues.
Study Alternative 1 is based on the assumption that modest development standard amendments are made, a Planned Action Ordinance is adopted and that growth and development proposals are generally in the middle range between the No Action Alternative and Study Alternative 2. Comprehensive Plan amendments would be made to the Transportation Element, and Capital Facilities Plan.
Study Alternative 2 is based on the assumption that a Planned Action Ordinance is adopted, and more extensive changes are made to existing codes that provide incentives for growth and development (such as increased height, FAR, lot coverage, modification of open space requirements, and reduced parking standards), and that population and employment are significantly increased over existing plans. This is considered the maximum intensity alternative studied in this EIS. Comprehensive Plan amendments would be made as described for Study Alternative 1.