Spokane County Planning Commission November 2, 2006 Hearing Amend the  Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Code
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Spokane County Planning Commission November 2, 2006 Hearing Amend the Comprehensive Plan, Zoning Code

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Spokane, Washington Thursday, October 26, 2006 From: Paul Kropp 3311 E. Donora Ct. Spokane, WA 99223 To: Spokane County Planning Commission c/o Spokane County Department of Building and Planning 1026 W. Broadway Ave. Spokane, WA 99260 Re: Proposed text policy amendments and capital facilities update for the Spokane County Comprehensive Plan and specific changes to the zoning code per public notice of October 11, 2006 Members of the Planning Commission: Today I appeared before you and gave oral testimony on several of the matters subject to notice. Below are comments that reflect that testimony. I. THE MATTER OF NOTICE AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION The public participation standard for the adoption and amendment of comprehensive land use plans by jurisdictions subject to Washington’s Growth Management Act (36.70A RCW) is “early and continuous public participation”. Each such jurisdiction is expected to adopt a public participation program providing for “...broad dissemination of proposals and alternatives, opportunity for written comments, public meetings after effective notice, provision for open discussion, communication programs, information services, and consideration and response to public comments.” (36.70A.140 RCW) In the case of the material before the commission today it is doubtful this standard has even been attempted much less met. The first and only public notice for any and all of these very extensive ...

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Kropp to PC – 10/26/06
Page 1 of 5
Spokane, Washington
Thursday, October 26, 2006
From:
Paul Kropp
3311 E. Donora Ct.
Spokane, WA
99223
To:
Spokane County Planning Commission
c/o Spokane County Department of Building and Planning
1026 W. Broadway Ave.
Spokane, WA
99260
Re:
Proposed text policy amendments and capital facilities update for the Spokane
County Comprehensive Plan and specific changes to the zoning code per public
notice of October 11, 2006
Members of the Planning Commission:
Today I appeared before you and gave oral testimony on several of the matters subject to
notice. Below are comments that reflect that testimony.
I.
THE MATTER OF NOTICE AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
The public participation standard for the adoption and amendment of comprehensive land
use plans by jurisdictions subject to Washington’s Growth Management Act (36.70A RCW) is
“early and continuous public participation”. Each such jurisdiction is expected to adopt a
public participation program providing for
“...broad dissemination of proposals and alternatives, opportunity for
written comments, public meetings after effective notice, provision for open
discussion, communication programs, information services, and
consideration and response to public comments.”
(36.70A.140 RCW)
In the case of the material before the commission today it is doubtful this standard has
even been attempted much less met. The first and only public notice for any and all of these
very extensive proposals—encompassing almost 200 pages of tables and text—was dated
and published only just 15 days ago on October 11, 2006. Page 3, however, of the notice
itself states the material “is additionally accessible at...the Spokane County Library District
branches, and the City of Spokane main branch library.” In fact, the package of information
was not supplied to the libraries in advance and, upon my inquiry, I discovered that the
county library district branches in the northern part of the county received their copies on
Thursday, October 19, and the Moran Prairie branch received theirs on Friday, October 20.
For what it’s worth, the cover of the copies prepared for the libraries is entitled “Capital
Facilities Plan – Draft 2006 Update” and gives no indication whatsoever that additional
materials (the text amendment proposals) were also included.
I do not regard this performance, which is apparently tolerated by county officials, as in any
way meeting the standard of “early and continuous public participation” the Act specifies,
nor did the public hearing before you today receive “effective notice” in terms of the Act.
The members of the commission, at the very least, should extend the period allowed for
public comment to be extended at least a week.
Kropp to PC – 10/26/06
Page 2 of 5
II. PROPOSED COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TEXT AMENDMENTS
Chapter 2, Urban Land Use
Policy UL2.3 and UL2.4
(p. UL-5)
The proposal “to eliminate the need for a
design review board
and establish design review
as an administrative function” (Notice, p. 1) is inappropriate because it is arbitrary and
unfounded in public dialogue and should not be recommended for adoption.
There is no real justification supplied for this amendment proposal, save the inconvenience
of county administrators. The amendment should fail recommendation by the Commission
because the weight of extensive, detailed and careful consideration that incorporated these
provisions into the Plan is in no way matched by an observation of having received only just
“a few” proposals requiring the design review board device in the first few years of what is
intended to be a policy covering 20 years of ever-more densifying—and surely increasingly
“mixed use”—real property development. In any event, the “Planning Report” generated by
staff only mentions the paucity of “mixed-use” applications, whereas the list of project types
which are “larger, more complex developments” and which may be subject to the attention
of a design review board also includes PUDs, aesthetic corridors and large-scale commercial
and industrial developments. Thus even the supposed evidence for lack of need is slim to
none.
Finally, it should be reiterated that the participation schema for the design review board,
namely, “members from designated professional groups (architects, engineers, planners,
developers, etc.), community representatives, and a representative from each of the
affected neighborhoods or neighborhood associations”—having been proposed and ratified
by an extensive public participation process, planning commission consideration and county
commissioner ratification in 2001—cannot and should not be dismissed merely on account
of an alleged inconvenience of administration.
Chapter 2, Urban Land Use
Policy UL8.2
(p. UL-12)
The proposal to delete Plan policy UL8.2 relating to
manufactured, modular and
manufactured homes
is alleged by staff to be inconsistent with state law. This may be
true, but the Planning Commission should at the very least inspect the apparently recent
legislation that is involved to confirm the incompatibility. The staff should be required to
document, not merely assert, the basis for each of the proposals they forward for
consideration.
Chapter 2, Urban Land Use
Policy UL18.3
(p. UL-24)
The proposal to “clarify” an exception to the rule that
UGA boundaries
should follow parcel
boundaries constitutes no better guidance than the existing language and should not be
recommended for adoption.
In fact, the proposed language is poorer guidance because abstract standards—such as
“illogical” or “irregular”—are inevitably more subjective or open-ended than standards
requiring reference to concrete circumstance (“other mitigating circumstances”), even when
the applicable mitigating conditions themselves are necessarily unspecified.
Again, I believe this provision was initially carefully and thoughtfully crafted, and should not
be tweaked in a fashion that appeals to broad abstractions instead of concrete
circumstance.
Kropp to PC – 10/26/06
Page 3 of 5
Chapter 7, Capital Facilities and Utilities
Level of Service Table
(p. CF-6)
The
terminology update
(“Uniform” to “International”) proposed for the Level of Service
Standards table for the category of fire and emergency services was not itemized or
otherwise mentioned in the text of the three-page notice document for this hearing. This
may not constitute a notice defect, but the question of whether it is or not should be asked.
Chapter 7, Capital Facilities and Utilities
Policy CF16.18
(p. CF-14)
The proposal to eliminate the policy to adopt a specific
Regional Utility Corridor Plan
as a
component of the Comprehensive Plan is unsupported in any fashion except for the fact that
the “policy has not been implemented” yet.
Again, a disciplined and extensive process admitted this policy requirement into the shape
of the Plan. Any proposal to do away with such a standard should bear the same scrutiny. It
should not be recommended for adoption unless and until that has occurred and the pros
and cons substantially reconsidered.
One would expect the rationale for a Regional Utility Corridor Plan component is no different
than, for example, the Comprehensive Stormwater Plan, which is currently being
recommended for inclusion in the Comprehensive Plan as CF.8.10.
As a matter of fact, the Act itself specifically itemizes such components as these for the
capital facilities comprehensive plan element under the title of “Identification of Lands
Useful for Public Purposes”:
“Each county and city that is required or chooses to prepare a
comprehensive land use plan under RCW 36.70A.040
shall identify
lands
useful for public purposes such as
utility corridors
, transportation
corridors, landfills, sewage treatment facilities,
storm water management
facilities
, recreation, schools, and other public uses. The county shall work
with the state and the cities within its borders to identify areas of shared
need for public facilities. The jurisdictions within the county shall prepare a
prioritized list of lands necessary for the identified public uses including an
estimated date by which the acquisition will be needed. The respective
capital acquisition budgets for each jurisdiction shall reflect the jointly
agreed upon priorities and time schedule.”
(36.70A.150 RCW)
III. PROPOSED CAPITAL FACILITIES UPDATE
The “map” issue and population projections
It was admitted by county staff after public testimony was closed that the “overall updating
of the Capital Facilities Plan” (October 11, 2006 public notice document, second paragraph)
could only be based on the mapping of land use categories currently in place.
The members of the Planning Commission must recognize that this admission would imply,
in addition, that the extensive proposed revisions to Chapter 7, Capital Facilities and
Utilities, can only refer to the population growth estimates upon which the allocation of
those land use categories are based. That is to say, the incorporation of revised population
growth estimates into the current update project targeted for adoption by December 1,
2006—being based on the existing land use mapping and the original land quantity analysis
associated with each category of land use—is inappropriate and unnecessary at this juncture
Kropp to PC – 10/26/06
Page 4 of 5
and should be removed from any amendments recommended for adoption (Executive
Summary, etc).
What is the purpose of the capital facilities comprehensive plan element?
In fact the “capital facilities plan” (“CFP”) is the third of eight required elements specified in
the Growth Management Act. It is useful to review the law’s specification at this point:
A
capital facilities plan element
consisting of: (a) An inventory of
existing capital facilities owned by public entities, showing the locations and
capacities of the capital facilities; (b) a forecast of the future needs for such
capital facilities; (c) the proposed locations and capacities of expanded or
new capital facilities; (d) at least a six-year plan that will finance such
capital facilities within projected funding capacities and clearly identifies
sources of public money for such purposes; and (e) a requirement to
reassess the land use element if probable funding falls short of meeting
existing needs and to ensure that the land use element, capital facilities
plan element, and financing plan within the capital facilities plan element
are coordinated and consistent. Park and recreation facilities shall be
included in the capital facilities plan element.
(36.70A.070 (3) RCW)
Please note the CFP
is
the required element and there is
no distinction
in the law between a
CFP and a “CFE” as is urged in the proposed revisions to the introduction to Chapter 7 (p. 1,
fourth paragraph). The ambiguities of the fourth paragraph of the draft proposed for the
Introduction might be remedied as follows:
“The Capital Facilities Element (CFE), which is a chapter within the
Comprehensive Plan, is one of eight required elements of the
Comprehensive Plan. The CFP CFE sets the goals and policies for Capital
Facilities and Level of Service (LOS) within the Comprehensive Plan. The
CFE is tied to the CFP by categorizing and categorizes the services that are
provided by Spokane County and the various service districts (sewer, water,
fire, and school). In addition to the CFE and CFP, a third Also a component
of Capital Facilities Planning the CFE is the County’s annual Capital
Improvement Program (CIP). The CIP identifies current and future capital
projects as well as anticipated funding sources. Although the Transportation
Improvement Plan (TIP) is technically part of the CIP, GMA calls for
transportation to be addressed through the Transportation Element, which
includes the TIP.”
Equally importantly, it must be recognized that the capital facilities plan element is intended
by the Act to be amended annually as part of the budgeting process because it is itemized
as one of the five exceptions to the Act’s requirement that comprehensive plans not be
amended more frequently than once a year:
“... Amendments may be considered more frequently than once per year
under the following circumstances:
(i) The initial adoption of a subarea plan
that does not modify the comprehensive plan policies and designations
applicable to the subarea; (ii) The adoption or amendment of a shoreline
master program under the procedures set forth in chapter 90.58 RCW;
(iii)
The amendment of the capital facilities element of a comprehensive
plan that occurs concurrently with the adoption or amendment of a
county or city budget
...”
(36.70A.130 (2)(a) RCW)
Kropp to PC – 10/26/06
Page 5 of 5
Other comments:
A. The sequence of required elements specified in the Act is different from those itemized on
the proposed changes to the CFP Introduction and the draft should be corrected:
GMA
Introduction Draft
1991 County Comp Plan
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Ch 6. Housing
(3) Capital Facilities Plan
c. Transportation
Ch 5. Transportation
(4) Utilities
d. Utilities
[Ch 7.]
(5) Rural
e. Rural (counties only)
Ch 3. Rural Land Use
(6) Transportation
f. Capital Facilities Plan
Ch 7. Capital Facilities and Utilities
(7) Economic Development g. Economic Development Ch 8. Economic Development
(8) Park and Recreation
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Ch 9. Parks and Open Space
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B. The Introduction’s draft characterizations of the Act’s requirements for capital facilities
plans do not match the specifications of the Act and should be reviewed:
36.70A.070 (3) “A capital facilities plan element
consisting of:”
10/11/06 Proposed Draft Revisions
(a) An inventory of existing capital facilities owned by
public entities, showing the locations and capacities of
the capital facilities
• Provide an inventory of existing capital facilities owned
by the various service providers in Spokane County,
showing location and capacity of the facilities
(b) a forecast of the future needs for such capital facilities
• Provide a forecast of future needs for capital facilities
(c) the proposed locations and capacities of expanded or
new capital facilities
• Identify proposed expenditure, funding mechanism, and
capacity of expanded or new capital facilities
(d) at least a six-year plan that will finance such capital
facilities within projected funding capacities and clearly
identifies sources of public money for such purposes
• Provide a six-year plan showing how the County
proposes to build those capital projects within projected
funding capacities and clearly identified sources of public
money for such purposes
(e) a requirement to reassess the land use element if
probable funding falls short of meeting existing needs
and to ensure that the land use element, capital facilities
plan element, and financing plan within the capital
facilities plan element are coordinated and consistent
• Provide policies to reassess the Land Use Element if
probable funding falls short of meeting existing needs
and to ensure the Land Use Element, Capital Facilities
Plan and financing plan within the Capital Facilities
Element are coordinated and consistent.
Park and recreation facilities shall be included in the
capital facilities plan element