LAND USE COMMITTEE
JANUARY 24, 2011
7:00 - 8:00 A.M.
Chair, Cynthia Pratt, Virgil Clarkson, Tom Nelson
Greg Cuoio, Scott Spence, Rick Walk, Dave Burns, Troy Woo, Carol LittenDEPUTY MAYOR CLARKSON MOVED TO APPROVE THE AGENDA. MAYOR NELSON SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED.
2011 PLANNING COMMISSION WORK PROGRAM
Rick Walk, Community Development Director, stated on February 17, 2011, the City Council will hold a joint work session with the Lacey Planning Commission for consideration of the 2011 Comprehensive Plan Amendment docket.
This year’s proposed work program consists of plan updates, amendments and code revisions initiated by staff, by joint planning with Thurston County, or are updates required by the Growth Management Act. The City did not receive any requests for applicant initiated amendment.
Consistent with previous years, staff has prepared a three year calendar. In 2010, the Planning Commission completed updates to the Shoreline Master Program, Plan for Outdoor Recreation, Six Year Transportation Improvement Program, the Drainage Design and Erosion Control Manual, Development Guidelines and Public Works Standards and amended the maximum building size provisions in the Light Industrial Ordinance, and established the Saint Martin University Zoning District. The Planning Commission also began work on the Housing Element Update and development of a Condominium Ordinance.
The 2011 work program continues to reflect the need to maintain a work schedule to meet the required seven year update to our Comprehensive Land Use Plan to be completed on December 1, 2014. This requires updating all of the Comprehensive Plan elements, including the Land Use, Housing, Transportation, Environmental, Capital Facilities, and Utilities elements. Also, updating the City’s Economic Development element and additional updates to the Parks element will be a part of this seven year update cycle. Coordination of the Sewer and Water Elements will also need to be incorporated into the 2012 Comprehensive Plan update. A Comprehensive update of all of the elements included in the seven year Comprehensive Plan update will require the full three years available.WOODLAND DISTRICT UPDATE
Rick also requested Council direction on whether review of the Woodland District should be added to the Planning Commission’s 2011 Work Plan.
The Woodland zoning district was established by the Council’s adoption of the Downtown 2000 plan—a nearly two year collaborative planning process. The impetus for this planning effort was that Lacey had historically lacked a distinct downtown core. In response to a community desire to revitalize and redevelop the downtown area into a destination and community gathering place, the City commenced the downtown sub-area planning effort.
In order to review the Woodland District Plan, a Planning Commission sub-committee would be formed, consisting of 9 members representing citizens, community organizations, business interests and property owners. The focus for the Woodland District sub-committee would include: 1) determining if there are opportunities or actions that can stimulate investment within Woodland district today, and 2) identifying opportunities, incentives, or concepts the Planning Commission should consider to realize the 2020 vision of the Downtown 2000 plan.
It is the intent to have the Woodland District sub-committee hold four focused meetings a week a part. The Committee will pass their recommendations to the Planning Commission for further review and recommendations to Council. If actions are identified to stimulate investment today, they may be acted upon by the Council with the annual Comprehensive Plan Amendment cycle in July.COMMITTEE MEMBERS AGREED TO RECOMMEND TO FULL COUNCIL THAT A REVIEW OF THE WOODLAND DISTRICT BE ADDED TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S 2011 WORK PLAN.
It was also suggested that the term downtown be changed to central business district, central business core, or woodland district to more accurately reflect the description of the area. Council requested staff to offer a snapshot of how the area has changed during the past 25 years. SIGN ABATEMENT ORDINANCE UPDATE
Rick Walk, Community Development Director, reported the Land Use Committee was briefed on the abatement provisions of the City’s sign ordinance at its October 13, 2010, meeting. LMC 16.75.140.B “Abatement” requires all signs that are considered nonconforming to be brought into compliance by the year 2010. Implementation of these provisions will require City staff to conduct enforcement actions to ensure business owners remove their non-conforming sign within a reasonable amount of time.
Prior to pursuing the implementation of the abatement provisions in LMC 16.75.140.B, the Community Development Department requested this issue be scheduled for review by the Planning Commission. The purpose of this review was to consider whether 1) the abatement provisions should implement per the ordinance as written, 2) if a time extension is warranted, or 3) determine if other alternatives to achieving conformance are appropriate.
The Land Use Committee recommended the Planning Commission review the sign abatement provisions with consideration of a five year extension.
At a public meeting, the Planning Commission invited representatives of the Lacey Chamber of Commerce and Thurston Chamber of Commerce to attend and discuss the non-conforming signage issue with the Commission. The purpose was to get additional background and perspective from the business community. The Planning Commission then scheduled a public hearing for January 4, 2011. The Hearing provided opportunity for the Commission to receive community feedback and perspective. At the public hearing, the Planning Commission heard testimony from eleven affected business owners and community representatives.
After two public meetings and one public hearing, the Commission discussed the issue with consideration to staff information and public testimony. The discussion also explored amendment language that would eliminate a specific compliance date. However, with a 6 to 2 vote the Planning Commission adopted a recommendation. The key points of the Planning Commission recommendation include:
- Extending the compliance deadline five years from the date of ordinance adoption.
- Require any action that triggers a sign alteration permit to bring a non-conforming sign into conformance.
- Establish a program to provide technical and financial assistance to minimize financial impacts to existing business.
- Provide notice to property owners and new business owners of the non-conforming sign provisions, the conformance deadline, and of technical and finance assistance available.
Council discussed options for sign variances through a public hearing process, and the financial assistance process which is only available within the Woodland District. DEPUTY MAYOR CLARKSON MOVED TO RECOMMEND TO FULL COUNCIL APPROVAL OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION’S RECOMMENDATIONS, AND TO DIRECT STAFF TO ACCRUE A FUNDING RESERVE OF $5,000 PER YEAR. COUNCILMEMBER PRATT SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED.