Setting the stage for VISION 2050

Growth Management Policy Board to decide on scoping process

On January 4, the Growth Management Policy Board will review a draft scoping statement for the upcoming VISION 2050 planning process.

The growth board may act to direct staff to release the scoping statement for public comment or provide alternative direction and consider action at the February meeting.

The scoping process and related outreach in the coming months will gather ideas about how to develop VISION 2050 and identify the regional issues that will be tackled in the plan.

Other actions on the growth board’s agenda include:

  • Review of comments received on the draft Regional Centers Framework Update proposal and potential action to recommend the draft proposal to the Executive Board.
  • Full certification for the comprehensive plans for Arlington, Duvall, Granite Falls, and Pacific.

You can find the full agenda here. The meeting will be Thursday, January 4, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., at PSRC. Attend in person or watch the meeting video.

Comments

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the EIS scoping for Vision 2050. I am writing you as a resident of Tacoma and as a professional planner. I believe the EIS for Vision 2050 should include an alternative that emphasizes transit-oriented development by allocating a majority of growth to metro, core, and large cities while reducing rural growth allocations. More specifically, significant growth should be allocated to areas surrounding (that is, within walking distance of) high capacity transit. Rural and small city growth in recent years has greatly exceeded that which was allocated through the regional growth strategy in Vision 2040; the new strategy should do more to ensure growth trends are brought into line with the regional growth strategy, with an emphasis on reducing rural growth.

Furthermore, housing affordability is a major issue facing the region. This is an issue of supply – there is simply not enough housing capacity in the region, creating an affordability problem that affects the entire region, but is particularly pronounced for low-income households. While I don’t support expanding urban growth boundaries (except in very limited circumstances), I do believe the region’s core cities should provide land capacity that is significantly higher relative to growth allocations and forecasts. Cities served by high capacity transit should demonstrate that they have provided considerably more buildable lands capacity relative to their population allocations. This doesn’t necessarily require the expansion of urban growth boundaries; these cities can enact policy changes to create additional capacity within their current urban growth boundaries by, for example, allowing for higher densities in certain areas. Demonstrating the ability for additional supply to be constructed should help alleviate some of the pressure created by the region’s rapidly rising housing prices, the burden of which is currently disproportionately borne by the area’s low-income households.

Finally, I believe greater accommodation should be provided for outlying communities that are not contiguous to the main urban growth areas of the four-county region. These communities are generally physically isolated – separated from the larger metro area by swaths of rural land and connected only by two-lane rural highways. If we require that cities such as Buckley, Carnation, Fall City, Eatonville, Carbonado, Wilkeson, Sultan, and Orting accommodate the region’s growth, we are almost certainly going to exacerbate traffic congestion in the region, especially in areas not served by transit. Such an action would be inconsistent with the existing environmental goals of Vision 2040 and should not be included in Vision 2050. We should not stop these areas from growing, but we should not require that they do grow by providing infrastructure in support of unsustainable growth.