Incentivizing Building affordable housing along Transit Routes – Pierce County Planning and Public Works - https://www.co.pierce.wa.us/4999/Planning-Public-Works
- Tiffany O’Dell - Senior Planner, Pierce County Planning and Public Works - Odell@piercecountywa.gov
- Erik Jaszewski - Associate Planner, Pierce County Planning and Public Works - Jaszewski@piercecountywa.gov
- Powerpoint presentation at https://coalitionfiles.blob.core.windows.net/files/2019-01-04%20PC%20Homeless%20Coalition.pptx
- Tiffany – Four community plan updates – miniature versions of the Pierce County Comprehensive Plan ( https://www.co.pierce.wa.us/950/Comprehensive-Plan ) - they cover land use, community character, economic development, transportation, facilities and the environment. Comprehensive plan is for entire County. (“Community Plan” is nice and descriptive, but did they consider “uncomprehensive plan”? The poor word “Uncomprehensive” is rather neglected these days – largely out of favor since the 18th century… -ed.)
- 4 Community plans
- Mid-County area
- Frederickson Area
- South Hill
- There areas have experienced rapid growth – around 40% since those plans were originally created. We are talking with Communities to see what they need to grow.
- Mid-county – may be annexed at some point, so working with the City of Tacoma on the plan.
- Starting on public outreach – doing public hearings, meetings, some large open houses, on-line outreach. We expect the County Council to adopt updates in the summer of 2019. We are really in the beginning of the time to provide updates.
- Center and Corridors proposal – a new zoning concept
- Purpose – start to densify major transportation corridors – areas within a ¼ mile of Pacific Ave - from 96th to 224th. It is a major transit corridor with Bus Rapid Transit coming soon. Planning Town Center at terminus of the Bus Rapid Transit near Walmart on Mountain Highway. Trying to plan for infrastructure improvements for density. Prioritizing investments to get folks near transit so they have options and don’t need to rely on cars. (Bus Rapid Transit, or BRT, is a super cost-effective , fast transit solution – read more about it at https://www.itdp.org/library/standards-and-guides/the-bus-rapid-transit-standard/what-is-brt/ -ed.)
- See map (in powerpoint attached. –ed) for corridors
- Looking at types of housing we need and market incentives that might be necessary
- Centers – transit hubs where we will allow unlimited density – no cap on dwelling units per acre (most of Pierce County maxes at 25 units per acre –which is not high density). There will be a maximum 65 foot height – or 80 feet if providing affordable housing. Pierce County is looking to incentivize affordable housing.
- Corridor zones run - entire length of major roads and extends within a block of these major roads – with unlimited densities – lower 45 foot height limit, but up to 60 feet with affordable housing.
- Neighborhood corridor – single family to apartment - maxes out at 25 units per acre. Want to increase density to help justify and pay for the transit.
- Will do outreach on this – and the environmental impact – of density and transit and congestion. Doing community group and social media outreach. If you live or your organization works in these areas – you can reach out to me. I’m happy to present in more detail on these topics.
- Erik: as you can see, the centers and corridors moves the needle really far for affordable housing – allowing transit and active transportation.
- I focus on what else we can do beside the centers and corridors to see how we can increase housing (build more? –ed)
- Looking to increase “Attainable” housing – for low income, medium income, etc.
- Looking at Fee Waivers – had the program for a long time, but never activated it. We offer fee waiver for affordable housing projects, although funds are limited.
- Tiny Houses – popular – we are a bit hamstrung with the building code. Trying to help folks know what to do to get them built in the community. Want folks to be able to use them as principal residences.
- Many people want tiny houses on wheels – trying to develop what in the building code or land use can allow this option.
- Greg – is the code review to address just tiny homes, or other affordable or dense housing? Erik – looking at missing housing – the barriers to duplexes and triplexes, types of housing allowed. We are looking at other gaps or barriers. Tiny homes are what we are looking at now. Greg – are we talking about building code or land use. Lots of options that aren’t stick built. Eric – what kind? Greg – modular, container homes, there are effective and efficient ways to build that isn’t always tree-based. Eric – let’s talk after about this. Our zoning code does have a lot of restrictions on mobile homes – which covers pretty much anything not stick built.
- Patricia – there is appropriate technology now that wasn’t here 100 years ago – you don’t have to hook into the grid or into the sewers. Eric – we are going to look at that.
- Maureen – do you have a social media presence? Erik - we do for public works. Maureen – have you looked at Tacoma public housing advocates on facebook – Erik – I’ll take a look at that. Maureen - Tacoma did just publish their affordable housing action strategy. Erik - The County has a strategy as well, but it is older and we are taking a look at that.
- Theresa – If you are calling it affordable housing that doesn’t deal with 0-30% Area Median Income (AMI) – I wish you’d stop calling it affordable. Those units aren’t affordable. Erik – we are calling it attainable housing – we recognize that everyone except upper middle class and above are having trouble with housing. Theresa – 80% of AMI is not affordable housing. Calling that affordable gives a false sense of what is going on. As you work on the community input – instead of inviting the neighborhood in, work with some groups like the affordable housing consortium and the hilltop group – work with them instead of the open ended outreaches that cause no change. I’m tired of seeing a presentation pre-open house and then seeing the same as the one –post open house – where no changes resulted from the feedback received at the open house.
- Tiffany – we have researched some community groups – but not all of them. I’m happy to come out and present or workshop and talk about what might work. I appreciate this feedback.
- Maureen – Enterprise was contracted by King County and said they’d do pierce county – to look at surplus land. Eric – Pierce County is looking at a survey of surplus public land. For our buildable lands – that is part of the work that they will be doing. We have a consultant for the buildable lands – are asking them to find County land – they will look at land from all jurisdictions.
- Al – I’m concerned about creating ghettos (“ghetto” is one of those words with an interesting set of possible origins. I like the one about the word coming from a Jewish neighborhood in Venice – ghetto coming from the Venetian word for foundry, there being one near that neighborhood. Like most of Europe, the authorities in Venice segregated the Jews into their own area. So that was sucky, but I like that at least they were in Venice – there are uglier cities in the world - and they had wealth - not the case for many in the diaspora. – ed.)- – you set targets for percentages of affordable housing in various blocks of the corridor. I wouldn’t want the whole corridor to be attainable houses – what percentage is the target – that helps developers to know what they are trying to do. Tiffany – the City of Tacoma is looking at target percentages – Pierce County is looking at market incentives – but that isn’t part of the program right now. Al – why is that not the case? Tiffanny - I don’t know. Al – why not? If the County isn’t considering that, they need to declare that so we can address it? Tiffany – I’ll take that into back. The County Executive is one the first in recent time to seriously look at affordable housing. The County Council members are often from rural areas where residents have lots of stereotypes about what affordable housing looks like and how it brings in people who don’t care about the community.
- Website for more information- piercecountywa.gov/cpupdate
- People need to push Council and continually advocate for housing.
- Maureen – you can provide input every week at the County Council meeting.