LAND USE COMMITTEECOUNCIL PRESENT:
SEPTEMBER 8, 2010
7:00 – 8:00 A.M.
Chair, Cynthia Pratt, Virgil Clarkson, Tom Nelson
Greg Cuoio, Scott Spence, Rick Walk, Carol Litten
MAYOR NELSON APPROVED THE AGENDA. DEPUTY MAYOR CLARKSON SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED. PUBLIC HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Councilmember Cynthia Pratt reported the Thurston Council of Children and Youth has created a Community Needs Assessment Report identifying three priority areas for consideration by policymakers. These priorities include reducing food insecurity for children, increasing access to affordable health care, and increasing access to early childhood education. Cynthia suggested Council explore how a public health chapter and associated land use policies might be incorporated into the City’s Comprehensive Plan to meet these needs, or whether the City has already addressed these issues through zoning and planning.
Rick Walk, Community Development Director, provided background information. He stated there are several required elements of the Growth Management Act (GMA), which include housing, stormwater, wastewater, outdoor recreation, water, capital facilities, and transportation. Optional elements, such as public health and human services, are embedded in the City’s Comprehensive Plan through components, such as trails, youth programs, senior center, community center, and many others.
Rick stated the City provides opportunities for public health and human services and addresses the key concerns of food, affordable health care, and early learning through its zoning that allows community commercial in neighborhoods for medical and dental clinics, in parks that provide summer youth programs and lunch programs, and in early learning through zoning for schools and daycares. The housing element of the plan provides housing for a broad range of income levels throughout each planning area in the City. The transportation element aligns density with transit corridors, provides connectivity between neighborhoods and access to parks, incorporates road design to promote walking, provides trails, and requires open space in urban developments.
In addition, public health and human services needs are addressed through the City’s livable community’s approach, which incorporates smart growth. The premise is to create wiser land use models to provide a full range of services for healthy, active communities.
Rick remarked the County is considering developing a new health and public services element in their comprehensive plan that would address public health issues in the urban growth area (UGA), such as obesity, mental health, and nutrition. He noted that because the County and City are two distinct communities, the same policies would not sufficiently address the needs of each individual community. However, he noted that Lacey staff has great, working relationships with Olympia, Tumwater and County staff, and will continue to coordinate land use issues, policies, and comprehensive plans where appropriate.
Mayor Tom Nelson stated the City is meeting the intent of the GMA through its current land use policies. The committee agreed that the City’s comprehensive plan provides opportunities through zoning and planning to meet the public health and human service needs of the community. Rick remarked that staff will continue to monitor emerging issues as they arise, and seek Council direction, when appropriate. STREET MERCHANT ORDINANCE
Councilmember Cynthia Pratt noted that in response to a news article suggesting a regional permitting process be developed for street merchant vendors, she requested a review of the City’s current street merchant ordinance to assess whether changes need to be made.
Rick Walk, Community Development Director, provided background information about the City’s street merchant ordinance, which was adopted in 2001 to provide opportunities for the local business community.
A business license and Site Plan Review approval is required for anyone who wants to establish a retail stand, street market, street merchant or temporary/seasonal retail stand (summer fruit and produce stands). The business license fee is $25.00 and the Site Plan Review application is $467.00. The average review time for a site plan review application under the City’s street merchant ordinance is 15 days.
Stands are allowed in commercial zones, light industrial zones, business park zone, mixed high and moderate density zone, along arterials and collectors and key multi-modal intersections and open space institutional zones. One stand is permitted at each location. However, depending on site and business circumstances, the Site Plan Review Committee may allow multiple stands in one location (special events, festivals, etc). Also, one business owner may have multiple stands at multiple sites under separate site plan review permits. Permits issued under the street merchant ordinance for locating on private property do not have an expiration date. However, the permit cannot be transferred from one person to another. If a business abandons their approved site, then approval would expire in eighteen months after abandonment.
The ordinance does contain a provision that retail stands approved to locate on public right-of-way or public property must be reviewed once a year and may be extended each year in one-year increments. This provision is based on leasing with the City and providing equal business opportunities. Cynthia asked about compliance. Rick noted that if the City receives a complaint about a street vendor, staff investigates and responds appropriately.
- Rick stated that the Site Plan Review process addresses the following concerns:
- Ensure the retail stand does not block the use of public streets, sidewalks, public amenities (benches, bus stops, etc), or inhibit the use of private parking lots or plazas for their intended purposes;
- Ensure stand is a self contained unit and provisions are made for potable water and restrooms (if applicable);
- Ensure safe and adequate electrical service is provided meeting the electrical code. Also, avoid electrical lines from being placed on sidewalks or overhead. If a electrical generator is used, ensure noise impacts are mitigated;
- Ensure there is a plan for waste cans and to keep the site clean and orderly;
- Ensure the street merchant proposal will not interfere with adjacent businesses; and
- Ensure the applicant is aware they need to receive any applicable permits from the Thurston County Health Department.
Rick commented that Olympia has traditionally treated street merchants as temporary uses. Because Olympia defines temporary uses as uses that do not operate for more than 90 days with one 90 day extension, street merchants would need to move locations and re-apply after 180 days. Rick remarked that Olympia staff has contacted Lacey for information on its ordinance, and staff will continue to provide information and assistance, as needed.
Rick stated the City’s Street Merchant Ordinance, policies and procedures are straight-forward, timely, effective and inexpensive. To staff’s knowledge, the City has not received any negative responses from applicant’s or the business community in the application of its ordinance.Initiatives 1100 and 1105 – Privatization of Liquor Sales
Councilmember Cynthia Pratt presented the Committee with a request from Jim Cooper, the Executive Director of TOGETHER, asking the Council to pass a resolution opposing Initiatives 1100 and 1105. If passed, the initiatives would privatize liquor sales and distribution. TOGETHER opposes these initiatives, because they believe privatization would make liquor readily accessible to youth, and undermine their efforts to reduce risks for teens. In addition, the loss of revenue would significantly impact their budget.
Deputy Mayor Virgil Clarkson recommended that the Council pursue this request and pass a resolution in opposition to I-1100 and I-1105. He remarked that he has discussed the request with Mr. Cooper who will speak in favor of the resolution, and he has contacted a retailer to inquire if they are available to speak in opposition to the resolution.
Committee members recommended that Councilmember Pratt, as Lacey’s representative for TOGETHER, present the request to full Council during her report at the September 9 Council meeting. If approved, Council would hold a public comment period on September 23, 2010, before considering action that evening.