By Debbie Klosowski, Mayor, City of University Place
Surplus City property and future transportation plans were among the items discussed at this week’s UP City Council Study Session.
Surplus Property – Last month, the City Council agreed to surplus a 15,000 square foot parcel of City property located on the northeast corner of Drexler Drive and 40th Street (adjacent to the “eagle” roundabout). During the study session, Council reviewed various options for the parcel including dividing the property into two lots as well as a possible rezone from residential to commercial use.
According to Planning Director David Swindale, the City will need to dedicate a portion of the property for Drexler Drive. In regard to the rezone, Council could either immediately initiate the process which would cost approximately $10,000 in related fees or undertake the same action free of charge during the annual Comprehensive Plan amendment process slated to occur in spring 2011. Council subsequently directed staff to retain the R-2 zoning (which allows duplexes, schools, daycares and similar uses) while docketing a potential rezone for consideration next spring.
Six Year Transportation Improvement Plan – Each year the City is required by State law to adopt and update a six year Transportation Improvement Plan. The proposed 2011-16 TIP is a planning document which identifies projects that the City would like to do; however, the plan does NOT commit the City to spend any funds. Many grant funding agencies require projects to appear on the City’s TIP in order to be considered for grants. The plan is also helpful in working with other jurisdictions, utilities and agencies to coordinate plans for road improvements and other projects, hopefully resulting in leveraged funds and reduced inconvenience to residents.
The proposed TIP is basically a “wish list” of projects that the City hopes to undertake IF funding is obtained in the future. Some of the proposed projects include improvements along Bridgeport Way, Mildred and Cirque, all of which are designated as “US Open Corridor” projects. Initial discussions are underway with Pierce County and adjacent cities to determine if we can work together to improve local corridors. Other TIP projects include improvements along Sunset Drive, Chambers Creek Road and Elwood. A complete list of projects is included in the proposed 2011-2016 TIP, which is available online at www.CityofUP.com. Anyone wishing to comment on the plan is invited to attend the public hearing on October 18 or email their comments to Council_at_City_Hall@CityofUP.com.
Study Session Updates
Parks Zoning – Under the City’s first Comprehensive Land Use Plan (which was adopted in 1998), all City park property was officially included within a “Public Facilities” zone which also allows other uses such as schools and fire districts. Since that time, the Park Commission has requested that a new zone be established to more clearly identify and define appropriate uses for parks and open spaces. As a result, the Planning Commission has held several public meetings regarding this issue and has concurred with this request. The City Council will consider the establishment of a separate parks and open space zone at a future meeting.
Countywide Planning Policies – The state’s Growth Management Act (GMA) requires the City to adopt a Comprehensive Land Use Plan that includes land use, housing, transportation, capital facilities, utilities, economic development and parks and recreation elements. The GMA also requires Pierce County and all of the cities and towns within Pierce County to adopt a framework of policies to ensure consistency among all of the elements within each plan. This policy framework is known as the Pierce County Countywide Planning Policies.
GMA also requires the countywide policies to be consistent with the regional plan known as VISION 2040. When Vision 2040 was amended in 2008, it included a requirement that the Countywide Planning Policies be consistent with the amendments by December 2010. UP Councilmembers Eric Choiniere and Denise McCluskey serve as our City representatives on the Pierce County Regional Council which is working on these amendments.
Under Vision 2040, Fife and University Place are considered “larger cities” and are expected to absorb a total of 16,000 additional people by 2030. Right now, University Place has an estimated population of 31,500. Although our City anticipates some growth, our Council rejected Vision 2040’s proposal for a 2030 City population of 46,060 and instead indicated that the City would plan to accommodate 39,550 by 2030. Please note that the City is only required to plan for future growth but it will be up to the private sector to determine if such growth occurs.
Town Center Plan Review – In 2004 the City Council adopted the Town Center Planned Action Ordinance for the 31-acre Town Center project which identified preferred land uses such as retail, restaurants, office and residential as well as how to mitigate their impacts. Under a planned action ordinance, any projects which are consistent with identified uses and mitigation may proceed directly to building permit phase without any additional land use and environmental reviews. Since the ordinance requires periodic review, the Council will consider it again in early December to see if any amendments are necessary.
Flood Control District – City Attorney Steve Victor, along with attorneys representing nine other cities, appeared before the Boundary Review Board this week to argue against Pierce County’s plan to form a Countywide Flood Control District. Pierce County created the district earlier this year in an attempt to raise funds to pay for flood control improvements. The BRB is expected to issue a decision within 30 days.
The Duck is Coming! – Don’t forget to join us on Saturday, October 16, at 1 p.m. for the unveiling of the bronze Duck on Market Square, directly in front of the new Civic Building. The sculpture is made possible thanks to funding from UP For Art, the Terry Reim Memorial Fund and a State grant restricted for Market Square improvements.
Budget Open House – Visit with department heads followed by a question and answer session on the proposed 2011-12 budget at a public open house on Tuesday, October 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at City Hall.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Feel free to contact me at dklosowski@CityofUP.com or 460-2500.