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Joint Land Use Study - Airport Compatibility

Project Status - City Council Public Hearing, June 4, 2019

The City Council will conduct a public hearing on the proposed Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) Airport Compatibility Overlay District in a portion of South Tacoma, as recommended by the Planning Commission with a modification suggested by the Infrastructure, Planning and Sustainability Committee.

  • City Council Public Hearing
    Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 5:00 PM
    Council Chambers (747 Market Street)
  • How to Make Comments?
    1. Speak at the public hearing on June 4; and/or
    2. Submit written comments by Monday, June 3, 2019  

Recent Development of the Project


April 27, 2019 – Infrastructure, Planning and Sustainability Committee:

The Committee reviewed the Planning Commission's findings and recommendation on the proposal, along with a staff report.  The Committee, while in general concurrence with the Commission's recommendation, requested staff to improve clarity in the intent statement regarding the expansion of public assembly facilities.  The staff response is as follows:

"Limit increases in densities and congregations of people which are incompatible with the APZ II designation, which includes the density threshold goal of 50 people per acre maximum and strict limitation on any expansion of occupancy capacity of public assembly including but not limited to; assembly facilities, schools, religious assembly, theaters, carnivals, cultural institutions."

January 16, 2019 – Planning Commission:

The Planning Commission modified the proposal based on public comments received at the November 7, 2018 public hearing and the Commissioners' deliberations thereafter.  The Commission voted to forward the proposal to the Infrastructure, Planning and Sustainability Committee with a recommendation for approval. 


The changes to the original proposal were to remove any restriction (beyond what the code already contains) on single family properties, and to be more flexible regarding neighborhood commercial uses.  What remains in the proposal are restrictions on expansion of existing public assembly uses, and on industrial uses which involve hazardous materials or could generate conditions detrimental to air operations (such as factories with large smoke/steam emanations).  The AICUZ calls out uses that will create congregations of greater than 50 persons per acre to be avoided within the APZ II, uses such as schools, daycare centers with greater than 12 children, nightclubs, movie theaters, public and private recreational entertainment facilities such as stadiums and under the proposal most of these uses would be prohibited. 


November 7, 2018 – Planning Commission Public Hearing:

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on the proposal at the STAR Center (3873 S. 66th Street) received comments from area residents, business owners, church members and Arlington Elementary School parents.  The concerns were primarily related to the original proposal which would have placed restrictions on existing and new single family development as well as neighborhood commercial establishments.

Project Intent

This project will evaluate the findings and recommendations of the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) for Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM), and implement strategies for addressing compatibility with the airport and its Accident Potential Zone (APZ). The key proposal involves regulatory changes to promote the safety of Tacoma’s citizens by minimizing hazard impacts in an area which is within JBLM’s Accident Protection Zone II (APZ II).


What is the JLUS?

The JLUS is a collaborative process among federal, regional, and local governments and agencies, tribes, the public, and the south Puget Sound region’s military installations of JBLM and Camp Murray. The study is designed to create a collective regional dialogue around complex issues of balancing military operational demands and mission changes with the region’s and local communities’ land use plans, economic development and infrastructure needs, and goals for environmental sustainability. Serving as the point of coordination for the JLUS is the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership (SSMCP). For more information on the JLUS, visit SSMCP's website.  


Proposed Airport Compatibility Overlay DistrictWhat Area is Being Evaluated?

The City of Tacoma is evaluating an approximately 200-acre area of South Tacoma located within JBLM's APZ II.


The area’s approximate boundaries are:

  • Western: 170 feet east of S. Tacoma Way
  • Northern: 240 feet north of S. 72nd Street
  • Eastern: 85 feet east of S. Fife Street
  • South: City limits (S. 80th Street alignment)


What is an Accident Potential Zone?

Clear Zones and Accident Potential Zones (APZ) represent the most likely impact areas if an aircraft accident occurs, based on Department of Defense historical accident data.


Based on the elevated risk around aircraft safety, the JBLM JLUS Implementation Plan recommends the creation of an Airport Compatibility Overlay within the APZ II. The Overlay would prevent further risk to life and safety by limiting increases in population, employment and public assembly within the APZ.  


Latest News

  • November 9, 2018: Deadline for submitting written comments  
  • November 7, 2018: Planning Commission Public Hearing, 5:30 PM, STAR Center (3873 S. 66th St., Tacoma)  
  • October 24, 2018: Community Meeting, 5:30-7 PM, STAR Center (3873 S. 66th St., Tacoma) 
  • September 19, 2018: Planning Commission review of draft proposal

Staff Contact

Larry Harala

Senior Planner

(253) 591-5640