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Downtown Puyallup, Washington’s Revitalization Plans: Ur...

Downtown Puyallup, Washington’s Revitalization Plans: Urban Growth with Historical Preservation

The City of Puyallup, Washington was settled in the later half of 19th Century and has transformed into a booming scenic, historical, and economic community. This likely occurred in part because of its economic anchor, the Puyallup Fair. This fair is the largest single attraction held annually in the state of Washington and continually ranks

Downtown Puyallup Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Study Area And Planned Action SEPA Area

The City of Puyallup, Washington was settled in the later half of 19th Century and has transformed into a booming scenic, historical, and economic community. This likely occurred in part because of its economic anchor, the Puyallup Fair. This fair is the largest single attraction held annually in the state of Washington and continually ranks in the top ten largest fairs in the world. Smaller historic cities such as Puyallup tend to accept the place/situation they are in; such as a small town feel, just so long as nothing changes.  But that may not be the direction Puyallup intends to go. Though small (approx. 37,022) the City is seeking further growth and further density, but they are being smart and sustainable about it; utilizing every tool in the planner's toolbox, including Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Charrette Planning; and TDRs.

Washington has a stringent State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and the environmental analyses of development can be lengthy and costly. The City’s latest draft revitalization plan calls for a Planned Action Environmental Impact Statement (PAEIS); and if approved, development in the downtown core will have a much smoother process to follow. Unfortunately, the City missed a great opportunity to utilize web-based crowdsourcing in order to maximize public comment on the draft.

The study will analyze the impacts associated with development and increases in population, employment, and building activity; and prescribes mitigation measures associated with such development. Developers who propose such uses, in keeping with the historical downtown urban design, will not have to duplicate or undergo further environmental analysis beyond that already done in the Planned Action EIS.

Three alternatives will be analyzed under the Draft EIS:

  1. No Action Alternative: Assumes growth consistent with that projected in the existing Comprehensive Plan, and assumes that individual project‐specific SEPA review continues;
  2. Study Alternative 1: Based on the assumption that modest development standard amendments are made, a Planned Action Ordinance is adopted, a TDR program is implemented, and that growth and development proposals are generally in the middle range between the No Action Alternative and Study Alternative 2;
  3. Study Alternative 2: Based on the assumption that a Planned Action Ordinance is adopted, a TDR program is implemented, and more extensive changes are made to existing codes that provide incentives for growth and
    Downtown Puyallup TDR and Planned Action EIS - Three Study Alternatives development, and that population and employment are significantly increased over existing plans.

The study is a major urban planning step in the realm of economic development because it potentially fosters and incentivizes New Urbanism growth, yet seeks to maintain environmental and historical protection. The increased density of mixed-used development with a wide range of housing and job choices, promotes walkable, compact, and transit-oriented neighborhoods in the downtown urban core of Puyallup, Washington.

Would this win for urban planners ease the development process too much, and create an unhealthy increase in the growth of the City?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

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Kennith George grew up in the Greater Seattle, Washington area and holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of Washington. His interest began in architecture, but he quickly found his passion in urban planning and policy. He views much of t...

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