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Tideflats Subarea Plan

Tideflats Subarea Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 

Notice of Environmental Impact Statement and Public Scoping 

The City of Tacoma has determined that the Tacoma Tideflats Subarea Plan is likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact. An EIS under RCW 43.21C.030(2) (c) will be prepared. Agencies, affected tribes, and members of the public are invited to comment on the scope of this proposed EIS. You may comment on the alternatives, probable significant adverse impacts, proposed mitigation measures, and licenses or other approvals that may be required. Methods for presenting your comments are described below. The expanded scoping process is being provided pursuant to the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 197-11-410 and will include one public scoping meeting. Due to continued precautions for COVID-19, this meeting will be held virtually. 

Plan and EIS Alternatives

On October 18, 2022, the City Council affirmed the Steering Committee's recommended Alternatives as the basis for the Plan and EIS. The Alternatives include a No Action Alternative and three Action Alternatives. It is anticipated that the alternatives will be based on variations of elements such as the mix of industrial zoning and land uses, employment growth scenarios, transition areas, housing types and location, sea level rise adaptation strategies, fish and wildlife habitat restoration, and shoreline public access and recreation.

For purposes of the No Action Alternative, it is assumed that development would occur within the Tacoma Tideflats Subarea based on existing zoning and development standards. Development or redevelopment that is proposed within the Tacoma Tideflats Subarea in conjunction with the No Action Alternative would undergo environmental review on a project-by-project basis. Such projects would be subject to site-specific mitigation and potential SEPA-based appeals.


Public Scoping Comments and Summary

This document summarizes public comments received by the City of Tacoma (City) during the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping period for the Tacoma Tideflats Subarea Plan and Planned Action between June 21 and August 5, 2022.


This summary contains an overview of the Tacoma Tideflats Subarea Plan (Plan) and Planned Action project, the EIS SEPA scoping process, a discussion of EIS scoping public engagement efforts, and a summary of comments provided during the 45-day EIS scoping comment period.

Tideflats Subarea Planning Project

The Tideflats subarea planning process is intended to create a shared long-term vision and more coordinated approach to development, environmental review, and strategic capital investments in the Tideflats. Completion of the subarea plan will support the ongoing eligibility for and prioritization of transportation funding in the regional manufacturing and industrial center.


The overarching themes for the subarea planning process will include:

  • Economic Prosperity for All
  • Environmental Remediation and Protection
  • Transportation and Capital Facilities Planning
  • Public Participation and Outreach

See the Tideflats Subarea Work Plan for more detailed information on anticipated planning outcomes.





Project Updates and Milestone Status

Community Informational Meeting Held on June 6, 2022

Thank you to everyone who attended the informational meeting on June 6, 2022, to learn about the Tideflats Subarea Plan and the upcoming SEPA Scoping Process. If you were unable to attend, you can review the presentation or watch the recording here:  



Steering Committee 

On March 24, 2022 the Steering Committee recommended Preliminary Alternatives for the EIS Scoping phase of the process. 

Steering Committee 

On August 12, 2021 the Steering Committee reviewed the consultant report summary of key findings from the Community Visioning Process. 

Steering Committee and Tideflats Advisory Group

On March 11, 2021 the Steering Committee met jointly with the Tideflats Advisory Group to review and provide feedback on the draft Baseline Conditions Report. 

Steering Committee

On July 9, 2020 the Steering Committee approved the Public Engagement Plan for the Subarea planning process. 

Steering Committee

As a follow-up to the July 9 Steering Committee meeting, the intergovernmental Staff Leadership Team has provided the following briefing memo in lieu of a meeting on August 13, 2020. The memo is in response to the Steering Committee's request to explore options to expedite the review and replacement of the Tideflats Interim Regulations.

Staff Briefing Memo (July 31, 2020)


Steering Committee meeting May 14, 2020 

The Tideflats Steering Committee met to discuss project impacts resulting from COVID-19. 


Planning Commission meeting March 4, 2020

The Planning Commission provided input on engagement goals and strategies on March 4, 2020.  


Tideflats Advisory Group meeting February 20, 2020

The Tideflats Advisory Group met on February 20, 2020 to begin discussions to develop a public engagement plan for the Tideflats process. 


Steering Committee meeting Nov. 7, 2019

The Steering Committee met to review and recommend a consultant for the Tideflats Subarea Plan. The recommendation is provided to the Tacoma City Council.


February 8, 2019

The Tideflats Subarea Plan Steering Committee approved the following Work Plan and supporting documents: 

September 25, 2018

On September 25, 2018, the City Council adopted a resolution approving the City of Tacoma to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement concerning cost sharing for the Tideflats Subarea Plan. The resolution also directed the City Manager to work with the indicated partners to develop a mutually satisfactory subarea planning and approval process no later than 60 days after the agreement is signed by all indicated parties. 


Read Resolution No. 40113


November 21, 2017:

The City Council adopted Ordinance No. 28470 Tideflats Interim Regulations for an initial one-year period. To learn more, visit the Interim Regulations web page.


May 9, 2017:

The Tacoma City Council adopted Resolution No. 39723 initiating a subarea planning process for the Port of Tacoma/Tideflats.


Past Event Recordings

Community Visioning Report Out 

Listen to the Community Visioning Report Out below or review our summary of the Visioning Process here: Community Visioning Engagement Summary



Online Survey and Community Visioning Sessions

As an early step in the planning process, we wanted to hear your thoughts on what kind of future you want to see in the Tideflats. We hosted an online survey in the Spring 2021.


We also held three educational vision sessions on March 17, 18 and 20, 2021. Thank you to everyone who attended these virtual community events. You can watch the recordings under the Visioning Session below. 


Visioning Session: Land Use & Economic Development  

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 from noon to 1 PM




Visioning Session: Environment & Health 

Thursday, March 18 from 6-7 p.m.  



Visioning Session: Transportation and Infrastructure

Saturday, March 20 from noon to 1 p.m. 




Tideflats Kick-Off Meeting

English Version




Spanish Version





Ongoing Engagement Opportunities 

Tideflats Steering Committee


The Tideflats Steering Committee consists of two elected leaders from each of the participating governments as outlined in the Intergovernmental Agreement.  The governments that are members of the Steering Committee include the City of Tacoma, the City of Fife, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, the Port of Tacoma, and Pierce County.  The Tideflats subarea planning process will include regular consultation and information sharing with the Steering Committee, and the Steering Committee will be responsible for developing an initial draft Subarea Plan for consideration by the Tacoma Planning Commission and the City Council.

The Steering Committee is comprised of the following membership:

  • Victoria Woodards, Mayor, City of Tacoma
  • Kristina Walker, Councilmember, City of Tacoma
  • Bill Sterud, Chair, Puyallup Tribe of Indians
  • Annette Bryan, Councilmember, Puyallup Tribe of Indians
  • Dick Marzano, Commissioner, Port of Tacoma
  • Deanna Keller, Commissioner, Port of Tacoma
  • Bruce Dammeier, County Executive, Pierce County
  • Ryan Mello, Councilmember, Pierce County
  • Kim Roscoe, Mayor, City of Fife
  • Lisa McClellan, Councilmember, City of Fife

 Meetings and Agendas 


Meeting Date Agenda Packet Recording Presentations

June 20, 2019

Agenda Packet
Audio Handouts
November 7, 2019  Agenda Packet


May 14, 2020 N/A

July 9, 2020 Agenda Packet
November 12, 2020 Agenda Packet
January 14, 2021 Agenda Packet Audio Presentation
March 11, 2021 (Joint meeting with Tideflats Advisory Group)   Agenda Video Presentation
August 12, 2021 Agenda Packet


January 13, 2022 Agenda Packet


March 24, 2022 Agenda Packet


November 10, 2022 Agenda Audio Presentation


Tideflats Advisory Group


The Tideflats Advisory Group (TAG) will act as a "sounding board" for policy discussions, providing support to the Steering Committee and City of Tacoma during their respective parts of the process.  In addition to its role as a sounding board, the TAG members will serve as liaisons to the broader stakeholder groups they represent.


The TAG is intended to reflect a broad and diverse representation of interests and perspectives on the future development of the Tideflats area. The composition of the TAG was agreed to by the Steering Committee in the Work Plan. 


TAG meetings will be open to the public. 


Tideflats Advisory Group Membership

Meetings and Agendas


Meeting Date  Agenda Packet Meeting Summary Presentations
February 20, 2020 Agenda



March 12, 2020 CANCELLED    
October 28, 2020 Agenda Packet
February 18, 2021 Agenda    
March 11, 2021 (Joint Meeting with Steering Committee) Agenda



April 15, 2021 Agenda Packet
September 16, 2021 Agenda Summary Presentation
October 14, 2021
Audio Presentation
June 2, 2022   Audio Presentation
June 23, 2022
Audio Presentation
February 22, 2023   Audio  
March 23, 2023 Zoom Link

April 26, 2023 Zoom Link    
May 24, 2023 Zoom Link    
June 28, 2023 Zoom Link    



Environmental, Cultural and Economic Importance

The Tideflats is a unique environment containing shoreline, river deltas, tidal creeks, freshwater and salt marshes, naturalized creeks, and river channel corridors.


With an area of over 5,000 acres of waterfront land providing vital saltwater and estuarian habitat for salmon, shellfish and other marine life, the Tideflats is an economic center that includes industrial and manufacturing and maritime activity in a world class port and is the ancestral lands of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians.


The area is also designated as the Port of Tacoma Manufacturing Industrial Center (MIC). The MIC is home to Tacoma and Pierce County’s highest concentration of industrial and manufacturing activity and is the work site for about 9,800 employees.

In recognition of the regional significance of the MIC, the City of Tacoma, Port of Tacoma, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, City of Fife, and Pierce County have partnered to develop a Tideflats Subarea Plan for adoption by the City of Tacoma as part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan.


Geographic boundaries

The Plan area is based on the current Port of Tacoma Manufacturing Industrial Center (MIC) which is defined both in the Puget Sound Regional Council’s VISION 2040 as well as the City of Tacoma Comprehensive Plan.  However, studies and recommendations from the Plan process will likely extend beyond this Plan area, including the lands immediately adjacent to the MIC and depending on the topic under review (air and water quality, traffic impacts, freight corridors, land use transitions, economic impacts and strategies, etc.).


Planning for the Future

The Subarea Plan process will provide:

  • Potential text and map amendments to other elements of the City’s Comprehensive Plan
  • Potential Amendments to the City’s Land Use Regulatory Code
  • Potential amendments to City Zoning districts
  • Amendments to the Shoreline Master Program
  • Information to support local and regional Capital Facilities Programs
  • An environmental impact statement (EIS).


Frequently Asked Questions:

What State laws or planning requirements affect the subarea and development of the Subarea Plan?

The State of Washington has multiple layers of policies that come into play when developing a subarea plan. The Tideflats Subarea Plan must be consistent with the following:

  • State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) environmental review
  • Growth Management Act (GMA)
  • Shoreline Management Act (SMA)
  • The Puyallup Land Claims Settlement
  • The Container Port Element and elements for certification of a Manufacturing and Industrial Center (MIC) by the Puget Sound Regional Council (PRSC)

How long will it take to complete the Tideflats Subarea Plan?

A Draft Subarea Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement are anticipated to be completed by the end of 2022. 


Once completed, the Tideflats Subarea Plan (TSAP) Steering Committee will provide the City's Planning Commission with a recommendation on the Draft Subarea Plan. The City legislative process for approval of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment will then begin. This includes Planning Commission review and recommendation followed by City Council review and action. This legislative process could take up to an additional year.

Who approves the Tideflats Subarea Plan?

In accordance with the Comprehensive Plan, One Tacoma, the City Council has approval authority for the subarea plan.


In some cases, additional approvals or certifications may be required after the Council approves the plan. Any modifications to the City’s Shoreline Master Program, for example, must be reviewed and approved by the State Department of Ecology before those modifications take effect. In addition, the City must receive plan certification from the Puget Sound Regional Council to maintain transportation grant eligibility.


What is the Role of the Steering Committee and who is represented on it?

The Tideflats Subarea Plan is being jointly funded and developed through an interlocal agreement between the City of Tacoma, the Port of Tacoma, Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Pierce County and City of Fife. The Steering Committee is  comprised of two elected officials from each the partner governments. The role of the Steering Committee is to develop and recommend a draft Subarea Plan to the City of Tacoma Planning Commission and to provide continued comment and feedback throughout the City adoption process.

What is the role of the Tideflats Advisory Group and who is represented on it?

The Tideflats Work Plan specifies the stakeholder group, called the Tideflats Advisory Group (TAG), to include adjacent jurisdictions, neighborhood councils, business and industry professionals, labor groups, environmental subject matter experts and regional economic professionals. 


How can I provide comment during development of the Tideflats Subarea Plan?

The Tideflats Subarea Plan (TSAP) will be developed through an extensive public process. There will be opportunities for public comment on the scope of work and environmental review, opportunities to provide feedback on specific studies and plan proposals, and both the Planning Commission and City Council will conduct a public hearing on a Draft Subarea Plan.


The TSAP Steering Committee approved a Public Engagement Plan (PEP) that will guide outreach and engagement efforts and strategies.

Is the Northeast Tacoma Buffer Zone application being considered in the Tideflats Subarea Plan?

Yes, the application will be considered within the scope of work for the planning process. In March, 2017, the Northeast Tacoma Neighborhood Council submitted an application to amend the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Regulatory Code to implement a buffer zone between the residential areas of Northeast Tacoma and the industrial tideflats along Marine View Drive. On May 9, 2017, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 39723, initiating the subarea planning process for the Tideflats. In addition, this Resolution directed staff to consolidate the application within the broader scope of work for the Tideflats Subarea Plan.


Does the Growth Management Act contemplate planning for ports?

In 2009, the Washington State Legislature amended the Growth Management Act (RCW 36.70A.085) to include a requirement for a Container Port Element in the Comprehensive Plan for cities that contain a marine container port with annual operating revenues in excess of $60 million. The City of Tacoma falls into this category.

Accordingly, the City of Tacoma, in collaboration with the Port of Tacoma, adopted a Container Port Element within the Comprehensive Plan in 2014. The element provides policy guidance to achieve the following:

  • Protection of core areas of container port and port-related industrial areas within the City;
  • Efficient access to the core area through freight corridors within the city limits;
  • Protection against potential land use conflicts along the edge of the core area; and
  • Identification of key transportation corridor improvements.

The Container Port Element is available on the City’s One Tacoma Comprehensive Plan webpage at cityoftacoma.org/onetacoma

What are the Interim Regulations and how are the Interim Regulations associated with the Tideflats Subarea Plan?

On November 21, 2017 the Tacoma City Council adopted Amended Ordinance No. 28470, establishing interim regulations for the Tideflats and other industrial zoning districts. The intent of the Interim Regulations is primarily to put a pause on certain land use and development that could impact the subarea planning process, and to maintain abaseline of use and development for review for the subarea plan Environmental Impact Statement(EIS).


As part of the recent extension of the Interim Regulations, the City Council directed the Planning Commission to reconsider the issues, update findings of fact, and provide a new recommendation to the City Council for land use code amendments that would replace the interim ordinance. For more information on this process, please visit, cityoftacoma.org/tideflatsinterim

Why is an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) included in the subarea planning process?

By including the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the subarea planning process, we can streamline implementation of projects that align with the approved subarea plan.


An EIS is prepared when a public agency proposes an action, such as adoption of a subarea plan, and determines that this action may result in significant adverse impacts. The EIS is a document that provides an impartial discussion of potential impacts of the proposal and measures to address those impacts. The EIS process provides public review and comment on the topics to be studied in the EIS (referred to as the scoping process) and on the Draft EIS findings.

Tideflats MIC

Tideflats MIC


Planning Contact

Stephen Atkinson
Principal Planner


Get Involved!

• Upcoming Meetings
• Join the Tideflats Listserv




Work Plan