Chapter 14.70


14.70.010    Purpose.

14.70.020    Definitions.

14.70.030    Decision criteria.

14.70.040    Code modifications allowed by development agreement.

14.70.050    Incentives.

14.70.060    Agreement contents.

14.70.070    Approval procedures.

14.70.080    Limitations.

14.70.110    Recordation.

14.70.010 Purpose.

Certainty in the development review process can significantly encourage development or redevelopment of real property. This certainty is especially important for large-scale or multiphase developments that take years to complete and that require substantial financial commitments at an early stage. The city may, when appropriate, enhance certainty by entering into a development agreement with a project sponsor that addresses the “ground rules” for review of the development application and construction of the project. A development agreement provides the opportunity for the city and the developer to agree on the scope and timing of the project, applicable regulations and requirements, mitigation requirements and other matters relating to the development process. A development agreement promotes the general welfare by:

A. Balancing the public and private interests;

B. Producing a development which would be as good or better than that resulting from the traditional lot by lot development;

C. Correlating comprehensively the provisions of state law, the development code, and other ordinances and codes of the city, to permit developments which will provide a desirable and stable environment in harmony with that of the surrounding area;

D. Encouraging a more creative approach in the development of land that will result in a more efficient, aesthetic, and desirable use of open area, while at the same time maintaining substantially the same population density and area coverage permitted in the zone in which the project is located; and

E. Permitting flexibility in design, placement of buildings, use of open spaces, circulation facilities, off-street parking areas, and utilizing the potential of sites characterized by special features of geography, topography, size, or shape. (Ord. 1558 § 1, 2016).

14.70.020 Definitions.

A. “Development agreement” means an agreement between the city and the owner(s) of real property regarding the development of that property.

B. “Developer-funded infrastructure” means the improvement or dedication that meets all of the following criteria:

1. The improvement is identified as public right-of-way or located within the public right-of-way or easement grant to the city;

2. The improvement is limited to public infrastructure such as sidewalks, local streets, and related utilities, and does not include private infrastructure such as side sewer and water service lines; and

3. The cost of the improvement is not already entitled to a credit under the terms of the city’s traffic or park impact fee programs under BLMC 19.04.060(C) and 19.06.060(C).

C. “Construction value” means the value of developer-funded infrastructure determined by adding the fair market value of any land to be dedicated as part of the infrastructure and the estimated costs of design, engineering, and construction of such infrastructure as approved by the director. (Ord. 1558 § 1, 2016).

14.70.030 Decision criteria.

The city council may approve and enter into a development agreement if the council finds at its sole discretion that the development proposal:

A. Significantly benefits the city by contributing unique or needed amenities;

B. Stimulates development in an articulable fashion;

C. Significantly improves the local economy by adding employment opportunities and contributing to the tax base;

D. Advances the strategic objectives, goals, and policies of the city’s comprehensive plan;

E. Is consistent with the city’s development regulations, except as modified pursuant to BLMC 14.70.040; and

F. Is in the city’s best interests. (Ord. 1558 § 1, 2016).

14.70.040 Code modifications allowed by development agreement.

A development agreement may allow modifications to BLMC Title 12 and the city’s development code, as provided below:

A. The traffic impact fees established by Chapter 19.04 BLMC may be credited based on the value of developer-funded infrastructure improvements for transportation.

B. The park impact fees may be credited based on the value of developer-funded infrastructure improvements for parks.

C. In order to encourage innovative land use management and provide flexibility to achieve public benefits, a development agreement adopted pursuant to this chapter may impose development standards that differ from the development regulations adopted in the development code; provided, that:

1. Any development standards imposed by the development agreement are consistent with the strategic objectives, goals, and policies of the comprehensive plan; and

2. The development standards do not:

a. Allow for use types or densities currently not permitted within the existing zoning category for the properties subject to the agreement;

b. Modify or alter the requirements of the city’s building code adopted pursuant to Chapter 15.04 BLMC;

c. Modify or alter the requirements of the city’s stormwater management regulations adopted pursuant to Chapter 15.13 BLMC; or

d. Modify or alter any federally required American with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. (Ord. 1558 § 1, 2016).

14.70.050 Incentives.

A. A development agreement may reserve capacity in the transportation system for the proposed development’s trip generation. The proposed development shall be deemed to have achieved transportation concurrency under the concurrency rules and regulations in effect on the effective date of the development agreement. The term for the concurrency determination shall be set forth in the development agreement.

B. A development agreement may reserve capacity in the city’s sewer system for the proposed development. The amount of capacity reserved shall be set forth in the development agreement.

C. A development agreement may establish vesting standards subject to the following limitations:

1. Vesting for regulations adopted pursuant to the State Building Code shall not be altered.

2. The vesting period cannot be longer than 20 years from the effective date of the development agreement.

3. If the agreement provides a vesting period that is longer than five years, the agreement shall include milestones for development of the project, which shall be met in order to maintain the extended vesting period.

4. Negotiated vesting provisions cannot defeat the city’s ability to require a developer to comply with latter-adopted state or federal mandates not subject to vesting, or prevent the city from taking action to prevent a public safety, welfare, or health emergency.

D. Water, sewer, and stormwater system development charges may be credited against the value of developer-funded infrastructure for the same utility. Credits shall be calculated in a manner acceptable to both parties. Prior to negotiation of a credit, the city shall obtain an opinion from its financial consultant. (Ord. 1558 § 1, 2016).

14.70.060 Agreement contents.

Development agreements shall include the following:

A. A site plan depicting boundaries and project elements, such as: location and acreage of active and passive recreational areas, if any; location, acreage and range of densities for residential development, if applicable; location and range of types of uses of nonresidential development, if applicable; location and size of critical areas and buffers, if any; perimeter buffers, if any; and motorized and nonmotorized circulation routes, including route connections to streets and pedestrian routes servicing and/or abutting the site;

B. The development standards and other provisions that shall apply to and govern the use and development of the real property;

C. Identification of the variations approved under BLMC 14.70.040;

D. Identification of the capacity reservations approved under BLMC 14.70.050;

E. The expected build-out period and, if applicable, the phasing of development;

F. Provisions for the termination of the development agreement;

G. If environmental review is required under the State Environmental Policy Act, measures to mitigate significant adverse impacts including any impacts to public services and facilities;

H. A title report indicating proof of ownership; and

I. Other such other provisions as the parties to the agreement mutually agree to. (Ord. 1558 § 1, 2016).

14.70.070 Approval procedures.

A. Development agreements shall be drafted and negotiated by city staff in conjunction with developer representatives.

B. If necessary to determine the interests of the city council prior to expending significant time on negotiations, staff may introduce the proposal for council discussion at a council workshop.

C. Prior to voting on a proposed development agreement, the city council shall hold a public hearing on the proposed agreement.

D. Notice of the public hearing shall be provided consistent with the requirements of BLMC 14.50.020 and 14.50.030.

E. Project-specific development agreements are quasi-judicial land use approvals, to which the Appearance of Fairness doctrine shall apply. (Ord. 1558 § 1, 2016).

14.70.080 Limitations.

A. The provisions of this chapter do not apply to or affect the validity of any contract rezone, concomitant agreement, annexation agreement, or other agreement in existence on or before the effective date of this chapter, or adopted under separate authority, even though such agreements may also relate to development standards, mitigation, and other regulatory requirements.

B. The city shall not be required to accept, review or approve a proposed development agreement.

C. Development agreements shall reserve authority to impose new or different regulations to the extent required by a serious threat to the public health or safety. (Ord. 1558 § 1, 2016).

14.70.110 Recordation.

Within 30 days after approval by the city council, the city shall record the development agreement with the real property records office of Pierce County. (Ord. 1558 § 1, 2016).