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South Tacoma Groundwater Protection District

South Tacoma Groundwater Protection District (STGPD) - Code Updates

 
Upcoming City Council Meetings - Consideration of Moratorium Extension on certain high impact uses in the STGPD (Meeting Materials Coming Soon)

 

Staff is requesting an extension of the current moratorium in order to continue prohibiting the establishment of new or the expansion of existing underground storage tanks, metal recycling, and auto wrecking facilities within the STGPD, while allowing the current level of these uses and activities to be maintained for an additional six months. This is because the code amendment process has not yet been completed and further research is needed.

 

Date Meeting  Item
February 13, 2024 Study Session STGPD moratorium extension public hearing prep

February 20, 

2024

Council Meeting Public Hearing - Consideration of moratorium extension for STGPD 

February 27, 

2024

Study Session Public Hearing debrief - Consideration of moratorium extension for STGPD 

February 27, 

2024

Council Meeting Ordinance (First Reading) Consideration of moratorium extension for STGPD 

March 5,

2024

Council Meeting
Ordinance (Final Reading) -Consideration of moratorium extension for STGPD 

 

City Council Study Sessions (Begin at 12 PM)

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City Council Meetings (Begin at 5 PM)

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What is the South Tacoma Groundwater Protection District?

The South Tacoma groundwater aquifer system serves as a significant source of drinking water for the City of Tacoma. It can supply as much as 40 percent of the City’s total water demand during periods of peak summer usage.

 

Historically, accidental, or improper release of hazardous substances from spillage, leakage, or discharges by local industry has been a major source of groundwater contamination in the South Tacoma aquifer system. The City of Tacoma established the STGPD in 1988 due to the vast number of potential sources of toxic and hazardous substances within the area that recharges the aquifer system and the risk of further contamination.

 

The South Tacoma Groundwater Protection District is an overlay zone that protects the aquifer by imposing regulations on businesses in this area for the handling, storage, and disposal of hazardous substances. In order to preserve public health and safety, this overlay zoning district imposes additional restrictions on high-impact land use development.

 

By taking these steps, we hope to preserve the groundwater supply for both present and future consumers as well as protect the City of Tacoma from potential expenses should inappropriate, high-impact land uses degrade the quantity or quality of this vital source of public water supply.

 

 

 

Happening Now: STGPD Code Update

As mandated by the GMA and in accordance with City Council guidance, we are currently in the process of reviewing the City Code to determine if adjustments are needed to further protect the South Tacoma aquifer system. Concurrently, a few of city departments are updating their plans and policies that will support us in this effort. Included below are a few of these plans:

  • Comprehensive Plan and Critical Areas Ordinances Update
  • Tacoma Water Integrated Resource Plan
  • Tacoma Water Wellhead Protection Plan
  • Watershed Plan
  • Stormwater Comprehensive Plan
  • Home in Tacoma EIS

Along with the code update work, in 2023 the City Council adopted a moratorium on underground storage tanks and metal recycling/auto wrecking facilities in the STGPD which will expire in March 2024.

 

STGPD Background

Who Manages the District?

The STGPD program is managed by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (Health Department) who work in close collaboration with the City of Tacoma and Tacoma Water.

 

Permitting and Regulation in the District

The Health Department regulates businesses and facilities that use or handle hazardous substances (product or waste) over 220 pounds (roughly 35 gallons) and/or have infiltration systems on site. Regulated facilities receive a permit and biennial site inspections from the Health Department. Compliance issues or complaints may trigger additional inspections. Whenever possible, inspections are meant to provide educational and technical assistance to businesses to achieve voluntary compliance.

 

Why are we updating the STGPD code?

The Growth Management Act (GMA) requires the designation and protection of “Critical Areas” to prevent harm to the community from natural hazards and to protect natural resources. Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas are one of five defined Critical Areas under RCW 36.70A.030(11). Critical Aquifer Recharge Areas are defined as “areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers used for potable water, including areas where an aquifer that is a source of drinking water is vulnerable to contamination that would affect the potability of the water or is susceptible to reduced recharge.” The functions and values of the Critical Areas must be protected using the best available scientific information, also known as best available science (BAS). The Critical Areas Ordinances must be evaluated and revised as needed every eight years.

 

In addition to the GMA’s mandatory update, in March 2021, the South Tacoma Neighborhood Council (STNC) submitted an application to the Planning Commission for consideration during the 2022 Annual Amendment process. The STNC requested to:

  1. Update the One Tacoma Plan and the TMC applicable to the South Tacoma Groundwater Protection District (STGPD) and the aquifer recharge areas to address environmental and health risks and further prioritize protection of the STGPD;
  2. Transform the South Tacoma Manufacturing/Industrial Center into an Economic Green Zone that fosters environmentally sustainable industry specifically within South Tacoma, above and near this water source.

 

Previous Legislative Background

Links and materials are available for meetings under the “Meetings and Events” tab.

 

Planning Commission Assessment and Recommendations of the STNC application as part of 2022 Amendment to the One Tacoma Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Regulatory Code (Mar. 2021–May 2022):

The Planning Commission assessed the STNC’s application, pursuant to TMC 13.02.070.E, and considered public comments received through a public scoping hearing in June 2021, and made a determination in July 2021 to move the application forward for technical analysis following a two-phased approach:

  • Phase 1A: Work Plan (2022) - Creation of a work plan to occur during the 2022 Amendment cycle. The work plan may include review of allowed land uses, review of the One Tacoma Comprehensive Plan, refinement of allowed uses and boundaries, and periodic update of the STGPD to ensure the regulations fulfill the intent of protecting the district. (Amended Substitute Resolution No. 40985, June 28, 2022)
  • Phase 1B: STGPD Code Amendments (2022-2024) - Update TMC 13.06.070.D pertaining to STGPD, to be done in the future 2023 Amendment Cycle
  • Phase 2: Creation of an Economic Green Zone (2022-2024) - Evaluate the establishment of an Economic Green Zone (EGZ) to attract green industry to the City’s manufacturing/industrial centers, considering the recently adopted 2030 Climate Action Plan and Climate Adaptation Strategy (Resolution No. 40878, November 30, 2021).

Upon completing technical analyses and factoring in public comments, the Planning

Commission forwarded its recommendations on the 2022 Amendment Package to the City Council in May 2022. With respect to the STNC’s application, the Commission recommended that the City Council:

  1. Approve the Work Plan for STGPD Code Amendments;
  2. Consider the merits of a moratorium on future development projects, given that significant permit activity and development during the phased process could pre-empt the broader planning efforts.

 

City Council Consideration of Planning Commission Recommendations of STGPD Code Update Work Plan (Mar.-Jun. 2022):

On June 28, 2022, the City Council adopted Amended Substitute Resolution No. 40985, approving the Work Plan for the South Tacoma Groundwater Protection District Code Amendments, and directed the Planning Commission to conduct a public process to develop findings of fact and recommendations as to whether a moratorium on heavy industrial uses and storage of hazardous materials within the South Tacoma Groundwater Protection District is warranted, and if so, to recommend the scope, applicability, and duration for City Council consideration within 60 days of the effective date of this resolution.

 

Planning Commission Consideration of a Moratorium (Jul.–Aug. 2022)

The City Council’s initiation of the STGPD moratorium consideration was in response to public comments received by the Planning Commission and the City Council during the review and adoption processes for the 2022 Annual Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan. The Planning Commission conducted four meetings, on July 6, July 20, August 3, and August 17, 2022, in response to public comments regarding the moratorium. Planning and Development Services staff also conducted a community informational meeting on July 27, 2022. The Planning Commission completed its review and deliberations of the matter through a public process, and forwarded its Findings of Fact and Recommendations Report, along with a letter of recommendations, to the City Council for consideration on August 17, 2022.

 

A summary of this recommendation is included below:

  • That the City Council consider enacting a targeted and specific moratorium on the establishment of the following uses:
  • Metal recycling/auto wrecking facilities,
  • Vehicle service and repair,
  • Vehicle service and repair – industrial, and
  • Underground storage tanks.
  • The moratorium should additionally limit the expansion of existing facilities but allow for normal maintenance, repair, and replacement activities of existing uses.
  • The duration of the moratorium should apply initially for a period of one year, to be resolved through the South Tacoma Groundwater Code update.

To review the full recommendation:

 

City Council Consideration of a Moratorium (Sept. 2022 – Feb 2023)

In response, the City Council referred the recommendation to the IPS Committee for further consideration. Following that referral, the IPS Committee, on November 30, 2022, approved the following amendments to the Planning Commission proposal, and forwarded the amended moratorium proposal to the City Council:

  1. Use Categories: The IPS Committee did not find sufficient risk to groundwater resources from the establishment or expansion of vehicle service and repair or industrial vehicle service and repair uses to warrant a moratorium. Therefore, the moratorium should apply only to metal recycling/auto wrecking and underground storage tanks.
  2. Expansion of Existing Uses: The IPS Committee found that a moratorium that is too restrictive on the expansion of existing uses could have the counter effect of prohibiting improvements that provide environmental benefit or reduce the risks and impacts of existing uses. Therefore, the moratorium should allow for reasonable facility and site development that improves environmental outcomes while avoiding the introduction of new risks to the City’s groundwater resources.

On March 7, 2023, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 28872, enacting a moratorium within the South Tacoma Groundwater Protection District as recommended by the IPS Committee. The moratorium in Ordinance No. 28872 became effective March 20, 2023, and were enacted for an initial period of up to one year, to expire on March 20, 2024.

 

 

Meetings and Events

March 2021 – May 2022: Planning Commission assessment and recommendations (and public process) of the “STEGZ application”

 

Meeting Title Date Purpose of Meeting/Links
Planning Commission May 19, 2021
Assessment of “South Tacoma Economic Green Zone” amendment application, as part of 2022 Amendment to One Tacoma Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Regulatory Code
Planning Commission Packet (05-19-21)
Planning Commission June 16, 2021
Public Scoping Hearing for 2022 Amendment
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (06-16-21)
Planning Commission July 21, 2021
Review of Assessment Report, including Public Comments received on the application. Determination on applications to proceed with technical analysis. Scope of work determined with two-pronged approach adopted for “South Tacoma Economic Green Zone” application: 1. STGPD Code Amendments - Work Plan Development Implementation, and 2. Economic Green Zone Designation
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (07-21-21)
Planning Commission October 6, 2021
Review status of the 2022 Annual Amendment applications
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (10-06-21)
Community Informational Meeting December 9, 2021
Community Informational meeting on ““South Tacoma Economic Green Zone”, including presentation by applicant, and Planning, Tacoma Water, TPCHD, and Environmental Services staff.
Video Recording - Community Informational Meeting (12-09-21)
Planning Commission
December 15, 2021
The Commission reviewed a draft staff report, including the proposed “Work Plan for the STGPD Code Amendments”
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (12-15-21)
Planning Commission
February 16, 2022
Review of the Draft Staff Analysis Report; Commission released “Work Plan for STGPD Code Amendments” for Public Review
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (02-16-22)
Community Informational Meeting
March 30, 2022 Informational Meeting conducted by Staff concerning upcoming public hearing for 2022 Amendment, including STNC application.
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (02-16-22)
Audio Recording - Community Informational Meeting (03-30-22)
Planning Commission April 6, 2022 Public Hearing on 2022 Amendment
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (04-06-22)
Planning Commission April 20, 2022 Debriefing of Public Hearing on 2022 Amendment
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (04-20-22)
Planning Commission May 4, 2022 2022 Amendment Planning Commission Recommendations Packet, approved by the Commission and forwarded to City Council
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (05-04-22)

 

 

March 2022 – June 2022: City Council Consideration of application and Planning Commission recommendations, as part of 2022 Amendment

 

Meeting Title
Date Purpose of Meeting/Links
Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability Committee
March 9, 2022 Item 22-0305 - Briefing of the 2022 Amendment docket (still in Planning Commission process), including discussion on outlining the phases of the STGPD project.
IPS Committee Meeting Materials (03-09-22)
Item 22-0305
City Council Meeting
May 17, 2022 Resolution 40971 setting public hearing on the 2022 Amendment for June 7, 2022
City Council Meeting Materials (05-17-22)
Resolution No. 40971
Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability Committee
May 25, 2022 Item 22-0571 - Review of the Planning Commission’s recommendations on the proposed amendments as part of the 2022 Amendment, including on the work plan for the STGPD and Economic Green Zone, and discussion of zoning in the STGPD as it relates to the applications.
IPS Committee Meeting Materials (05-25-22)
Item 22-0571
City Council Study Session
June 7, 2022
Item 22-0643 – Review of the 2022 Annual Amendment applications, including the work plan for the STGPD code amendments. Discussion occurred on the applications, including timelines for the STGPD and Economic Green Zone, noting options for interim regulations or a moratorium.
City Council Study Session Meeting Materials (06-07-22)
Item 22-0643
City Council Meeting June 7, 2022 Item 22-0589 - Public Hearing on the 2022 Amendment
City Council Meeting Materials (06-07-22)
Item 22-0589
City Council Study Session June 14, 2022

Item 22-0675 – Debrief of public comments received during the June 7, 2022 public hearing on the 2022 Annual Amendment. Discussion of various considerations of the amendments, including regarding critical area protection and mitigation, and the option to enact a moratorium in STGPD.
City Council Study Session Meeting Materials (06-14-22)
Item 22-0675
City Council Meeting June 21, 2022 Resolution 40985 moving consideration of work plan for the STGPD amendment consideration to June 28, 2022 City Council meeting
City Council Meeting Materials (06-21-22)
Resolution No. 40985
City Council Meeting June 28, 2022 Amended Substitute Resolution No. 40985 adopted by City Council to consider moratorium on high-impact uses and storage of hazardous materials in the STGPD. Initiated 60-day review timeline for Planning Commission to assess facts and findings to issue recommendations on if a targeted moratorium is necessary in STGPD. to add a statement that the Planning Commission
City Council Meeting Materials (06-28-22)
Resolution No. 40985

 

 

July 2022 – August 2022: Planning Commission consideration of if moratorium recommendation is warranted

 

Meeting Title
Date Purpose of Meeting/Links
Planning Commission
July 20, 2022 First meeting of Planning Commission consideration of STGPD moratorium. Presentations by PDS, Tacoma Water, Environmental Services, and TPCHD staff providing known information and background on STGPD existing conditions and regulations.
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (07-20-22)
Community Informational Meeting July 27, 2022 Staff-led community informational meeting to provide information and receive comments from the public.
Planning Commission August 3, 2022 Second meeting, Planning Commission consideration of STGPD moratorium. Staff provided a summary of comments from the July 27, 2022 community informational, information about City’s permit processes and case studies within the STGPD, and other pertinent information. Tacoma Fire Department and Current Planning staff were in attendance to speak to the regulations that apply to heavy industrial uses and hazardous material storage within the Groundwater Protection District.
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (08-03-22)
Planning Commission August 17, 2022 Continue review of background information. Review, make appropriate modifications, and consider finalizing the draft Findings of Fact and Recommendations Report to be forwarded to City Council.
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (08-17-22)

 

 

September 2022 – February 2023: City Council Consideration of Moratorium
• Considering Planning Commission Findings of Fact; Moratorium enacted 2/28/2023 (include ordinance, etc.)

 

Meeting Title Date Purpose of Meeting/Links
City Council Study Session
September 20, 2022 Item 22-1029 - Presentation on Planning Commission recommendation that a one-year moratorium for the STGPD is warranted. Presentations were given by coordinating agencies and subject matter experts from Planning and Development Services, Environmental Services, Tacoma Water, and Tacoma Pierce County Health Department. Subject matter of presentations included history of the STGPD zoning overlay from 1988 to present, noting prohibited uses and other standards for storage, stormwater, infiltration, spill prevention, and inspections.
City Council Study Session Meeting Materials (09-20-22)
Item 22-1029
Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability Committee October 26, 2022 Item 22-1131 - Presentation of consideration of a moratorium in STGPD, including background on the STGPD, moratorium consideration process, agencies and subject matter experts involved, and Planning Commission process in developing Findings of Fact and Recommendations. Chris Karnes, Chair, Planning Commission provides review of Planning Commission recommendations.
IPS Committee Meeting Materials (10-26-22)
Item 22-1131
Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability Committee November 9, 2022 Item 22-1222 – Presentation of the proposed moratorium for the
STGPD, including an overview of the STPGD, City Council Direction, the Planning Commission's recommendations, a potential schedule, and background work on the proposal.

Chair Walker invited Andrea Reay, President and CEO, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce; Tim Smith, community member; Heidi Stephens, Member, South Tacoma Neighborhood Council; and Todd Ward, independent consultant and representative for owners, to join panel in considering moratorium for STGPD.
IPS Committee Meeting Materials (11-09-22)
Item 22-1222
Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability Committee November 30, 2022 Item 22-1295 – Presentation of the proposed moratorium
for the STGPD, including the Planning Commission's recommendations, noting reasons for a moratorium, suggested duration, and the work plan; and the potential schedule.

Discussion ensued regarding the PC's recommendations; service and repair for both regular and industrial vehicles; current regulations; metal recycling and auto wrecking; building a canopy in the stormwater runoff areas; possible effects of implementing the moratorium; site improvements allowed under the
moratorium; underground storage tanks, noting maintenance, replacement, and improvements and upgrades allowed; and next steps.

Motion moved and adopted to forward the Planning Commission's recommendations regarding a moratorium on certain uses within the STGPD, not to include vehicle service and repair and industrial
vehicle service and repair, and to also consider language around potential replacements or improvements to underground tanks that will promote environmental protection, to the full City Council for consideration.
IPS Committee Meeting Materials (11-30-22)
Item 22-1295
City Council Study Session January 10, 2023 Item 23-0027 - Presentation of the Infrastructure, Planning and
Sustainability Committee review process and recommendation pertaining to the consideration of enacting a moratorium in the STGPD.
City Council Study Session Meeting Materials (01-10-23)
Item 23-0027
City Council Meeting January 10, 2023 Resolution 41115 setting public hearing date for consideration of STGPD moratorium for February 7, 2023.
City Council Meeting Materials (01-10-23)
Resolution No. 41115
Community Informational Meeting February 2, 2023 Community informational meeting in advance of the February 7, 2023 public hearing regarding the STGPD moratorium.
City Council Meeting February 7, 2023 Item 22-0038 - Public hearing held for the STGPD moratorium under consideration by the City Council.
City Council Meeting Materials (02-07-23)
Item 22-0038
City Council Study Session February 14, 2023 Item 22-0149 - Debrief of the public hearing regarding consideration of a STGPD moratorium. Tacoma Water staff provided an overview of the management of the City’s water supply, ongoing work, and background on per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAs).
City Council Study Session Meeting Materials (02-14-23)
Item 22-0149
City Council Meeting February 21, 2023 Ordinance No. 28872 was continued to the meeting of February 28, 2023.
City Council Meeting Materials (02-21-23)
Ordinance No. 28872
City Council Meeting February 28, 2023 First reading of Ordinance 28872 to enact a moratorium on certain uses (new underground storage tanks and metal recycling/auto wrecking facilities) within the South Tacoma Groundwater Protection District, for an initial period of up to one year.
City Council Meeting Materials (02-28-23)
Ordinance No. 28872
City Council Meeting March 7, 2023

Final reading of Ordinance 28872, enacting moratorium on certain uses (new underground storage tanks and metal
recycling/auto wrecking facilities) within the South Tacoma Groundwater Protection District, for an initial period of up to one year.
City Council Meeting Materials (03-07-23)
Ordinance No. 28872

 

 

March 2023 – Present: STGPD Code Update and Moratorium

 

Meeting Title Date Purpose of Meeting/Links
Planning Commission June 21, 2023 Staff provided an update to the Commission on the overall scope of work, as amended following the adoption of the moratorium.
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (06-21-23)
Planning Commission October 4, 2023 Staff presented an initial comparison of critical aquifer recharge standards for Pierce County jurisdictions that have jurisdiction within the South Tacoma Aquifer with a focus Impervious Surface Standards, Landscaping Standards, and High Risk/High Impact Uses.
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (10-04-23)
Planning Commission December 20, 2023 Staff presented some approaches for Planning Commission review and consideration concerning options to update the Work Plan for the South Tacoma Ground Water Protection District Code Amendment outlining a more comprehensive approach that incorporates ongoing and upcoming initiatives led by Tacoma Water and Environmental Services relevant to the STGPD Code Update, as well as coordination with the One Tacoma Comprehensive Plan update that includes review and update to the City’s Critical Areas Preservation Ordinance, and the planned incorporation of a Health Impact Assessment process for the STGPD Code Update.
Planning Commission Agenda Packet (12-20-23)
City Council Meeting January 30, 2024

City Council adopted Resolution 41350 setting Tuesday, February 20, 2024 as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on the consideration for extending an existing moratorium on certain high impact uses within the STGPD.

City Council Meeting Materials (01-30-24)

Resolution No. 41350

 


Project Timeline

 

STGPD Project Timeline

 

Agencies Responsible for STGPD & Their Ongoing Planning Efforts

Below is the list of different agencies and their roles in managing, monitoring and implementing the STGPD program.

 

Agency
Roles and Responsibilities
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

• Regulates and Inspects businesses with hazardous substances on site and infiltration systems meeting certain criteria

Tacoma Water
• Maintains wells that access the south Tacoma aquifer
• Conducts water quality testing and compliance
Tacoma Environmental Services

• Administers Stormwater Management Program

• Inspects businesses for source control, pollution prevention, stormwater facilities and environmental compliance.

Tacoma Planning and Development Services

• Permit authority for land use, building code, site development, critical areas

• Maintains the STGPD regulations

• State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Lead Agency

Tacoma Fire Department • Administers Fire Code pertaining to hazardous materials; emergency response

 

 

Related efforts:
  • Comprehensive Plan and Critical Areas Ordinances Update
    Tacoma’s Comprehensive Plan is an important tool that establishes the City’s future vision and policy direction, as well as guiding growth and development over the next 20 years. The City of Tacoma is in the process of updating the Plan which is expected to be completed by June 2025. Concurrently, the City's Critical Areas Preservation Ordinance is being updated, which will assist us to prevent harm to the community from natural hazards and to protect natural resources including the aquifer recharge areas.
  • Tacoma Water Integrated Resource Plan
    An Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is comprised of an assessment of the future water needs and a plan to meet those future needs. It is “integrated” in that it looks at both demand side (conservation, water efficiency, etc.) resources as well as the more traditional supply side (new sources, maximizing existing sources, etc.) resources in making its recommendations on how best to meet future water energy needs for the Utility.
  • Tacoma Water Wellhead Protection Plan
    The purpose of the wellhead protection program is to prevent contamination of groundwater used for drinking water, thus protecting the health of people using groundwater for drinking water.
  • Urban Waters Protection Plan
    The purpose of Tacoma’s Urban Waters Protection Plan is to implement strategic stormwater management actions to protect our streams, lakes, wetlands, bays and Puget Sound from polluted runoff. The plan uses a data-based approach to prioritize the most effective stormwater actions and projects, at the most important locations, to build a more healthy and resilient Tacoma and a thriving Puget Sound while taking into account city planning priorities, partnership opportunities, neighborhood needs, critical habitat protection, and anticipated climate change impacts. The locations of these actions will be selected to provide more equitable stormwater services throughout Tacoma.
  • Stormwater Comprehensive Plan
    The City of Tacoma (the City) is developing the City’s first ever Stormwater Comprehensive Plan (SWCP). The SWCP will describe how the City will manage, operate, and finance stormwater-related activities within Tacoma City Limits. The purpose of the SWCP is to guide how the City will address surface water and stormwater management needs and requirements, including program management, operation and maintenance (O&M), climate change, capital facilities, and financial elements, while also balancing rates and the financial resources available to the City.
  • Home in Tacoma EIS

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a Moratorium?
    A moratorium is the suspension of accepting or processing new applications for building, zoning, subdivision, or other types of development permits in order to preclude new development from occurring for a specified period of time while new or revised policies, zoning or regulations are considered. A moratorium may be imposed on all development types or all permit applications, or just on specific types of development or permit applications and is generally applied to a specific geographic area or, if citywide, fairly specific circumstances.
  2. When should a Moratorium be used?
    There are two reasons to enact a moratorium – in response to an emergency situation or when a temporary protective measure is necessary:
    • Emergency situation: An emergency is defined as when human health and safety is jeopardized and/or public or private property is imminently endangered.
    • Temporary protective measure: A temporary protective measure is needed to protect the status quo or prevent harm from the vesting of rights to develop under existing regulations.
  3. What is the Adoption Process?
    The City Council has the sole authority to enact a moratorium, but the Council or Planning Commission can initiate the consideration of one.
    a) Initiation: To initiate consideration of a moratorium, the City Council or Planning Commission makes a determination at a public meeting that a moratorium may be warranted. If the Council initiates, that determination is then forwarded to the Planning Commission for findings of fact and a recommendation.
    b) Initial Planning Commission Review: If the Planning Commission has not already done so, the Commission is tasked with providing findings of fact and a recommendation to the Council.
    The Commission’s recommendation should include:
    • Whether the action is warranted
    • The appropriate scope and duration for the moratorium
    • The work plan and timeline for crafting the new or revised policies, zoning or regulations needed
    c) Council Enactment: After receiving findings of fact and a recommendation from the Planning Commission, the Council holds a public hearing before deciding whether to adopt the moratorium with appropriate findings justifying its action.
  4. Duration and Renewals:
    Moratoria can be in place for up to six-months but can be initially enacted for up to one-year if a work plan for related studies is developed requiring the longer period. A moratorium can be renewed for additional six-month intervals provided the Council holds another public hearing and findings of fact are made to support each renewal.
  5. TPCHD FAQs

 

South Tacoma Ground Water Protection District

STGPD Map

 

STGPD Work Plan (Updated December 20, 2023)
 
Planning Staff

Maryam Moeinian

Senior Planner

Email

 

Adam Nolan

Associate Planner

Email

 

Related Documents
Upcoming Meetings

February 27, 2024 City Council Study Session and 1st Reading of Ordinance (STGPD moratorium extension)

 



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