[Editor Note: Terry Hurd, a former member of the Frederickson Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC) and a long time member of the Frederickson Clover Creek Community Council (FCCCC) speaks about about his frustration with Pierce County’s all out race to rezone a large part of our area to something we will not recognize in a few short years and in the process, ignoring the voice of the people of the area.]
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I hope all are getting along well with this change in our lifestyle. Our community is still growing at a rate that only adds to the congestion with no positive help from our County government. The Community Plans passed the Council to my disappointment and those who live in their areas.
This is still a democracy but needs citizen involvement to protect citizen views.
A bit of history: The original advisory council of plan makers was composed of many people of diverse backgrounds and community concerns, from respective communities. There was much training of rules to be followed, both State and County Regulations. They had many meetings on a schedule to put together what became each of the Community Plans. Each of these “Community Plans” were to be used by the county for guiding the development. To avoid the dysfunctional pattern of uncoordinated growth that the citizens saw as destroying the Lifestyle and Environment, these Plans were to be followed by the County. At the end of the process the Community Plans were passed into Law by the County Council and approved by the State of Washington. A dream achieved.
From my perspective. We on the Land Use Advisory Councils (LUAC) were the only ones following the whole past Plans. The County never looked at our plans as a guide for development but something to be brought into their strategies. When at our meetings we referenced our Plan, we were ignored. When different County Planners came before the LUAC and Frederickson Clover Creek Community Council, (FCCCC), we were told flat out the Planners had their own plan and did not follow the many different Community Plans nor look at them. When at the LUAC meetings we were often at odds with the conflicting view of the County and our Plan. We always lost to the expression “you are only an advisory council”. Corruption comes in many subtle forms and having no government enforcement ability we watched as the Growth Management Act and our Plan was perverted to developments will. The New plan offered a chance to correct the unforeseen problems and shortcomings of a Plan now 20 years old. Growth had far exceeded the plans. So, the county went the cheap route of dumping the required revision on the Controlled LUAC’s. No training, no regular meetings, no oversight, no cross-community coordination, tho I attended most of the surrounding community meetings, and always under a limited time constraint. The work was always rushed to follow the” Counties will”. Sometimes the meetings were months apart do to only having other “LUAC business’ that needed to be addressed. During the process much of what should have been “LUAC issues and Plan revision” was taken away by the County with changing the Land Use Rules to “PERMITTED OUTRIGHT”. No vote by citizens. We were locked out of addressing what the county was doing in our Community. Even when we showed the new changes conflicted with existing law and violations of their own regulations, we the people were ignored. We saw the holes in the County Regs, and I went before the County Council (CC) to address what should have been done with Planning years ago. All home lots were to be of a set size of “Net Developable per Acre”. This was a simple division which meant each lot was to be divided into the acre of land. The example I used was of the Moderate Single Family of six houses per acre. This simple logical meant each lot was required to be 7260 SQ FT. Also, the required no more than 35% coverage of the lot by non-permeable material should be clearly included in the regulation. I was not successful in my argument for rule clarification, the Planning department came back with their own addition to the rule I addressed of 4000 SQ FT minimum with an average of 5000 SQ FT. Not six houses per acre but eleven plus. A clear violation of all existing regulations. Also as we sit on a single source aquifer density should reflect limited density, that regulation also is ignored. At the end of my four years on the LUAC I went before the County executive office to be evaluated for another four-year volunteer membership. I informed the county person of the many problem issues of what the County was doing that were neither following the Community Plans or State Law, I was shown the door with the statement “you do not sound like someone we want on the LUAC”. So, I must agree with not being their choice on the LUACs. I had no conflict of interest as others they put into the positions. I was not a contractor, developer nor realtor. I was pushing for the Law to be upheld, protecting the environment, preparing for the future with concurrent infrastructure and a good water source and listening to the people who wanted a community Lifestyle they could enjoy raising their families in. Homes with a yard for children not crowded together, good uncrowded schools, sidewalks for walking to schools, parks spaced out in each community plan, through roads to get to and from work, as the community plans called for. I still believe in our country and future we can be proud of.
Those few of you who went on Zoom for the Council addressing community plans, I Solute your effort. But many did not and that saddens me and further diminishes our democracy from apathy. These Plans are not” of the People, by the People and for the People. All need to step up and be heard, there are those who seek to silence your view, do not help them.
Pray for God’s wisdom and help, while you can.