The Council’s move to repeal two ordinances related to shared housing villages in the Residential Resource Zone is back in motion with a Council override of the Pierce County Executive’s veto of Ordinance No. 2023-24, which the Council unanimously passed on Tuesday, July 25, and the Executive vetoed on Wednesday, Aug. 9.
Ordinance No. 2023-24 repeals two ordinances:
- Ordinance No. 2023-5s authorized shared housing villages in the Residential Resource zone in the Parkland, Spanaway, Midland Communities plan area.
- Ordinance No. 2023-14 postponed the effective date of 2023-5s until after appeals filed with the Growth Management Hearings Board were decided.
Two appeals to the Growth Management Hearings Board have been filed since the passage of 2023-5s, testing the consistency of the law with the Growth Management Act and the County’s Comprehensive Plan.
Considering the litigation in front of the County and the many issues the Council is trying to balance, Council Chair Ryan Mello (District 4) said it was the right decision to override this veto and repeal shared housing villages in the Residential Resource Zone.
“I wouldn’t vote to allow this kind of high-density land use on our fragile farmland or in the middle of a forest land. There are appropriate places for appropriate land uses,” said Mello. “I commend the Executive and his team’s work to find solutions to our homelessness crisis in Pierce County, and I think it’s time to take a step back so we can more holistically review the best paths forward to balance land use with the need to provide affordable housing and address the crisis of homelessness.”
The County has one shared housing project moving through the permitting process in the Residential Resource Zone now, which is known as the Pierce County Village. The repeal of Ordinance No. 2023-5s does not stop work on that project. The Tacoma Rescue Mission is the lead entity on that project, and since its project was applied for under the law at the time, it is considered vested.
“Allowing any more of this high-density land use in our fragile residential resource zones isn’t the right answer,” said Mello. “We need to balance this crisis with what we want for the long-term future, environment, and quality of life for our County.”
Mello added that addressing affordable housing and homelessness were top priority areas of the Council, noting the passage of the Maureen Howard Affordable Housing Act and amendments to the land use code to encourage the construction of new housing types like cottage housing and shared housing in appropriate zones.