The City Council and Planning Commission held their annual joint meeting on February 6, 2018. Resolution No. 809 sets the first Tuesday of February each year as the date for an annual meeting between the City Council and the Planning Commission. The meeting is intended to discuss items of common interest and review community visioning.

No action was taken or decisions made; this meeting was purely for informational and discussion purposes. Interest in certain topics will require further study. These topics will go through a public process if and before any decisions are made. Look for staff and the Planning Commission to begin outreach to these commercial areas and surrounding neighborhoods in late spring/early summer. Staff intends to hold outreach meeting prior to beginning the official legislative process.

This year’s meeting focused on two main topics (orange indicates a link):


Renewed Vision of the City’s Commercial Area


Commercial Mixed Use District

This district covers the 19th and Mildred Streets commercial area as well as Emerson Courtyard. The district is intended to serve Fircrest and the surrounding areas and allows more intense uses.

Principal Planner Jeff Boers gave a presentation on the University Place Regional Growth Center Subarea Plan which effects the Narrows Plaza area on the west side of 19th. The plan recommends mixed use buildings and employment mixed use with building heights increasing to seven stories. (Think Proctor Station.)

Discussion included possible consideration of similar standards for the Fircrest side of 19th and Mildred, improving design standards and re-examining what uses are appropriate and would maximize the economic value of these properties.


Neighborhood Commercial

This district covers the upper and lower business districts along Regents Blvd. The district is intended to serve Fircrest residents an are intended to be more pedestrian-oriented and neighborhood friendly.

Discussion included possible expansion of the liquor rules to allow brew pubs and/or allowing 21 and over sections in restaurants, expanding morning business hours , consider rezoning the lower business district neighborhood office to commercial and relooking at ways to increase street parking.   There was no interest in allowing bars or taverns, increasing heights, or expanding the neighborhood commercial district into residential areas.


Consideration of Changing to a Hearing Examiner System


Legislative versus Quasi-Judicial Processes

This two-slide presentation compares the different roles and purposes of legislative decisions and quasi-judicial decisions.


Hearing Examiner

More and more cities have moved towards using a hearing examiner (most often a land use attorney) to decide quasi-judicial decision like variances, site plan approvals, and conditional use permits. In fact, our land use attorney, Carol A. Morris, Morris Law, P.C., recommends it in her article Should Your City Change to a Hearing Examiner System? as a way to limit a City’s liability in a process that has strict procedural requirements.  Again, no decisions were made, but the City Council requested more information about this system and specifically how many cities have made the switch.

Click here for the Full Agenda Packet

Please contact staff with any questions, concerns, or ideas!!