Puyallup: News

Neighborhood plan prepares South Hill for future growth

A neighborhood plan that will outline future goals and adapt zoning codes for the South Hill area will be proposed to the Puyallup City Council this fall.

The South Hill Neighborhood Plan, which has been in production for several years by the city of Puyallup’s Planning Division, was created to accommodate the area’s future population and employment growth. The plan is a specific chapter of a larger comprehensive plan, a thick document that covers many issues including neighborhoods and utilities.

Katie Baker, senior planner for the city of Puyallup, was involved in developing the plan.

“We are required to adopt a neighborhood plan for the area,” she said. “We’ve been working on it for about the last ten years.”

South Hill was designated by the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) 20 years ago as one of two Regional Growth Centers (RGCs) in Puyallup. The other RCG is downtown Puyallup. RGCs are areas where population and employment growth are focused and have a mix of jobs, residences, entertainment and services.

Downtown Puyallup already has a neighborhood plan in place. The plan is settled in, but is open for updates when necessary.

The two major parts of the South Hill plan include comprehensive goals and policies for the area, and more specific zoning regulations. Changing zoning code regulations allows the city to expand its use of South Hill land.

For example, the plan would permit taller buildings and more multi-family residential areas to be built around the South Hill Mall.

An open house was held Aug. 10 at the South Hill Mall Community Room to inform the public about the plan. About 25 community members showed up.

“There was a nice mix of people who’ve been involved with the project, and some who haven’t been,” Baker said. “It was great to be able to answer their questions.”

The feedback was positive, she said, but some voiced concerns about the boundaries of the zoning codes.

There are single-family residential neighborhoods that could become multi-family residential areas, featuring apartments and the like.

“There were questions of how that might occur over time and what the impacts might be,” Baker said. “It would change the feel and character of that street, which is understandable.”

But the division sees this effect happening much farther down the road.

After the City Council approves the plan, or some version of it, the new code will go into effect. After that, only time will tell if the changes are helping the area and making sure all needs are met.

“With a plan like this, we have to sit back and see what happens,” Baker said. “In five to seven years we can come back and check up.”

For more information, and for maps detailing the boundaries included in the plan, visit cityofpuyallup.org/southhill.

Allison Needles: 253-256-7043, @herald_allison