Chapter 19E.10


19E.10.010    Introduction.

19E.10.015    Definitions.

19E.10.020    Why Plan for Capital Facilities?

19E.10.030    Statutory Requirements for Capital Facilities Plans.

19E.10.040    New Capital Facilities Plans (CFP) vs. Traditional Capital Improvements Programs (CIP).

19E.10.050    Level of Services (Scenario-Driven) Method for Analyzing Capital Facilities.

19E.10.060    Summary.

19E.10.010 Introduction.

The Capital Facilities Plan (CFP) is one of the elements of Pierce County's comprehensive plan that is required by Washington's Growth Management Act (GMA). Capital facilities generally have very long useful lives, significant costs, and are not mobile. The definition of "capital improvement" is given in CFP Objective 1 and in the Glossary.

The CFP is a six year plan for financing capital improvements that supports the County's current and future population and economy. The capital improvements included in the CFP represent the County's most current understanding of future needs matched to expected revenue. The Plan also includes the projected needs for capital facilities for the next 20 years, based on current trends and expenses. One of the principal criteria for identifying needed capital improvements is standards for levels of service (LOS). The CFP contains LOS standards for each public facility and requires that new development be served by adequate facilities. Also included in the CFP is the designation of facilities required to be "concurrent" based on the definition contained in WAC 365-195-210(4). Concurrency is required for a subset of adequate public facilities. Concurrency means: ". . . that adequate public facilities are available when the impacts of development occur." For transportation facilities, concurrent with development means "improvements or strategies are in place at the time of development, or that a financial commitment is in place to complete the improvements or strategies within six years." (RCW 36.70A.070(6)(e)) The CFP also contains objectives, principles and standards that guide and implement the provision of adequate public facilities.

The purpose of the CFP is to use sound fiscal policies to provide adequate public facilities consistent with the Land Use Element on a schedule concurrent with, or prior to, the impacts of development in order to achieve and maintain adopted standards for LOS, and to exceed the adopted standards, when possible.

The Plan is updated annually to reflect a new six-year timeframe, current population projections, and changes to proposed capital improvement projects. The County uses population estimates prepared annually by the State's Office of Financial Management (OFM), to calculate LOS requirements and the cost of projects needed to meet the LOS. In order to meet timelines tied to preparing the County's annual budget, preparation of the CFP by County agencies needs to be initiated prior to the release of OFM's population figures. For this reason, population figures in the CFP are based on OFM numbers issued in July of the year prior to CFP adoption.

Tables in the CFP identify sources and uses of funds for projects. In each annual update, completed projects may be removed from the tables, while new proposed projects are added. (Ord. 2015-56 § 2 (part), 2015; Ord. 2013-72 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2012-73s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 2011-41s2 § 2 (part), 2011)

19E.10.015 Definitions.

For purpose of the Capital Facilities Plan, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

"Capital improvement" means land, improvements to land, structures (including design, permitting, and construction), initial furnishings and selected equipment. Capital improvements have an expected useful life of at least ten years. Other "capital" costs, such as motor vehicles and motorized equipment, computers and office equipment, office furnishings, and small tools are considered to be minor capital expenses in the County's annual budget, but such items are not "capital improvements" for the purposes of the Comprehensive Plan, or the issuance of development permits.

"Category of public facilities" means a specific group of public facilities, as follows:

1.    Category A public facilities are facilities owned or operated by Pierce County and subject to the requirement for concurrency.

2.    Category B public facilities are facilities owned or operated by federal, state, or city governments, independent districts, or private organizations and subject to the requirement for concurrency.

3.    Category C public facilities are facilities owned or operated by Pierce County but not subject to the requirement for concurrency.

4.    Category D public facilities are facilities owned or operated by federal, state, or city governments, independent districts, or private organizations and not subject to the requirement for concurrency.

"Development permit" means any document granting, or granting with conditions, an application for a preliminary plat, site plan, building permit, special exception, variance, or any other official action of the County having the effect of authorizing the development of land.

1.    "Final development permit" means a building permit, site plan approval, final subdivision approval, short subdivision approval, variance, or any other development permit which results in an immediate and continuing impact upon public facilities.

2.    "Preliminary development permit" means a development permit that has received a conditional preliminary approval by the Hearing Examiner. A preliminary development permit will require the submittal of a final development permit.

"Public facility" means the capital improvements and systems of each of the following facilities or services:

1.    Airport;

2.    Corrections and Detention;

3.    County Buildings;

4.    Ferry;

5.    Fire Protection;

6.    Law Enforcement;

7.    Library;

8.    Parks;

9.    River Levees;

10.    Roads (including related sidewalks, lighting);

11.    Sanitary Sewer and Collection;

12.    Schools;

13.    Solid Waste;

14.    Surface and Storm Water Management;

15.    Transit; and

16.    Water.

(Ord. 2015-56 § 2 (part), 2015)

19E.10.020 Why Plan for Capital Facilities?

There are at least three reasons to plan for capital facilities: (1) growth management, (2) good management, and (3) eligibility for grants and loans.

A.    Growth Management.

1.    A CFP is required by the GMA. The CFP is one of six required elements of the local government's comprehensive plan:

a.    Land Use;

b.    Housing;

c.    Transportation;

d.    Utilities;

e.    Rural (counties only);

f.    Capital Facilities Plan.

2.    Capital facilities plans are required in a comprehensive plan to:

a.    Provide capital facilities for land development that is envisioned or authorized by the land use element of the comprehensive plan.

b.    Maintain the quality of life for existing and future development by establishing and maintaining standards for the level of service of capital facilities.

c.    Coordinate and provide consistency among the many plans for capital improvements, including:

(1)    Other elements of the comprehensive plan (i.e., transportation, land use and utilities elements);

(2)    Plans and other studies of the local government;

(3)    The plans for capital facilities of state and regional significance;

(4)    The plans of other adjacent local governments; and

(5)    The plans of special districts.

d.    Ensure the timely provision of adequate facilities as required in the GMA.

e.    Document capital projects and their financing (including projects to be financed by impact fees and real estate excise taxes that are authorized by GMA).

3.    The CFP is the element that makes the rest of the comprehensive plan real. By establishing LOS as the basis for providing capital facilities and for achieving concurrency, the CFP determines the quality of life in the community. Funding sources identified in the CFP are assumed to be commitments by the County. If any of these commitments for concurrency-related improvements cannot be fulfilled, the County must make adjustments in the land use plan, find non-capital alternatives or use other methods to meet the need, or modify the level of service standard. In this way, the CFP can affect the size and configuration of an urban growth area.

B.    Good Management. Planning for major capital facilities and their costs enables Pierce County to:

1.    Demonstrate the need for facilities and the need for revenues to pay for them;

2.    Estimate eventual operation and maintenance costs of new capital facilities that will impact the annual budget;

3.    Take advantage of sources of revenue (i.e., grants, impact fees, real estate excise taxes) that require a CFP in order to qualify for the revenue; and

4.    Get better ratings on bond issues when the County borrows money for capital facilities (thus reducing interest rates and the cost of borrowing money).

C.    Prioritizing Employment Centers. Creating a jobs-based economy for Pierce County is one of the major goals of this Comprehensive Plan. Policies in the Economic Development and Land Use Elements direct the Capital Facilities Element to give priority to providing public facilities and services to locations identified as designated Employment Centers. The Employment-Based Planned Community land use designation includes suitable areas for commercial/industrial acreage; however, the provision of public facilities and services to these areas is the responsibility of the developer of the project site. Employment-Based Planned Community includes Cascadia. Employment Centers are identified in the Economic Development Element of the Comprehensive Plan. See the Generalized Proposed Land Use Map in the Land Use Element for their locations. Changes to the list and locations of Employment-Based Planned Communities and Employment Centers are based upon amendments to the Comprehensive Plan and annexation or incorporation.

D.    Phasing of Urban Growth. The Countywide Planning Policies for Phasing of Development within the Urban Growth Area call for the County and each municipality to seek to direct growth as follows:

1.    First to centers and urbanized areas with existing infrastructure capacity;

2.    Second to areas that are already urbanized such that infrastructure improvements can be easily extended; and

3.    Last to areas requiring major infrastructure improvements.

In addition, the Countywide Planning Policies provide directions regarding provision of infrastructure as follows:

4.    Capital facilities plans shall identify existing, planned, and future infrastructure needs within Urban Growth Areas.

5.    The County and each municipality in the County should identify appropriate levels of service and concurrency standards that address schools, sewer, water, and parks.

6.    The County and each municipality in the County shall identify appropriate levels of service and concurrency standards that address roads.

E.    Eligibility for Grants and Loans. The State of Washington Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development's Public Works Trust Fund requires that local governments have some type of CFP in order to be eligible for loans. Some other grants and loans have similar requirements, or give preference to governments that have a CFP.

(Ord. 2015-56 § 2 (part), 2015; Ord. 2011-41s2 § 2 (part), 2011)

19E.10.030 Statutory Requirements for Capital Facilities Plans.

The GMA requires the CFP to identify public facilities that will be needed to address development expected to occur during the six year CFP planning period. The CFP must identify the location and cost of the facilities and the sources of revenue that will be used to fund the facilities needed to support development. The CFP must be financially feasible; in other words, dependable revenue sources must equal or exceed anticipated costs. If the costs exceed the revenue, the County must reduce its level of service, reduce costs by implementing non-capital alternatives or other methods, or modify the land use element to bring development into balance with available or affordable facilities.

Other requirements of the GMA mandate forecasts of future needs for capital facilities and the use of standards for LOS of facility capacity as the basis for public facilities contained in the CFP (see RCW 36.70A.020(12)). As a result, public facilities in the CFP must be based on quantifiable, objective measures of capacity, such as traffic volume capacity per mile of road or acres of park per capita.

One of the goals of the GMA is to: "Ensure that those public facilities and services necessary to support development shall be adequate to serve the development at the time the development is available for occupancy and use . . ." (RCW 36.70A.020(12)) In Pierce County, concurrency is required for sanitary sewer, septic and community systems, water, surface water, County roads, transit, and ferries. For these facilities, the following is required: (1) facilities serving the development to be in place at the time of development (or, for some types of facilities, that a financial commitment is made to provide the facilities within a specified period of time), and (2) such facilities have sufficient capacity to serve development without decreasing LOS below minimum standards adopted in the CFP. The GMA requires concurrency for transportation facilities. For transportation facilities, concurrent with development means "improvements or strategies are in place at the time of development, or that a financial commitment is in place to complete the improvements or strategies within six years." (RCW 36.70A.070(6)(e))

GMA also requires public facilities and services to be "adequate." These public facilities and services include: streets, roads, highways, sidewalks, street and road lighting systems, traffic signals, domestic water systems, storm and sanitary sewer systems, parks and recreational facilities, schools, fire protection and suppression, law enforcement, public health, education, recreation, environmental protection, and other governmental services (see RCW 19.27.097, 36.70A.020, 36.70A.030, and 58.17.110).

Concurrency management procedures will be developed to ensure that sufficient public facility capacity is available for each proposed development.

The County's development regulations, adopted July 1995, implement the plan and provide detailed regulations and procedures for implementing the requirements of the plan.

Pierce County intends to update the CFP annually. The annual update must be completed before the County's budget is adopted in order to incorporate the capital improvements from the updated CFP in the County's annual budget.

(Ord. 2012-73s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 2011-41s2 § 2 (part), 2011)

19E.10.040 New Capital Facilities Plans (CFP) vs. Traditional Capital Improvements Programs (CIP).

A.    There are traditional and non traditional approaches to developing capital facilities plans. Two traditional approaches (used to develop CIP's) are needs driven, and revenue driven.

1.    Needs driven: first develop needed capital projects, then try to finance them. This approach is sometimes called a "wish list."

2.    Revenue driven: first determine financial capacity, then develop capital projects that do not exceed available revenue. This approach is also called "financially constrained."

Because of the non traditional requirements of capital facilities planning under the GMA, the traditional approaches to developing capital improvements can cause problems. The needs driven approach may exceed the County's capacity to pay for the projects. The revenue driven approach may limit the County to capital projects that provide a lower level of service than the community desires.

B.    A hybrid approach that overcomes these problems is scenario driven.

Scenario driven: develop two or more scenarios using different assumptions about needs (LOS) and revenues. Use the scenarios to identify the best combination of level of service and financing plan.

The development of multiple scenarios allows the community and decision makers to review more than one version of the County's future. Each version is like a choice on a menu in a restaurant; the most desirable choices are often the most expensive, and the most affordable choices are often not as appealing. The same is true with the County's CFP; the highest LOS provide the best quality of life, but the greatest cost, while the lowest cost provide a less desirable quality of life. The scenario driven approach enables the County to balance its desire for high LOS with its willingness and ability to pay for those LOS.

Other advantages of the scenario driven approach include:

1.    Helping the County analyze which approach achieves the best balance among GMA goals;

2.    Helping prepare analyses required by SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act); and

3.    Evaluating scenarios for the Land Use Element.

The scenario driven approach also provides a non traditional method of policy development. The other approaches begin by setting policies (i.e., needs or revenues) then building a plan to implement the policies. The scenario driven approach uses alternative potential policy assumptions as the basis for different scenarios. The establishment of County policies is accomplished by reviewing all scenarios, selecting the preferred scenario, then writing the policies that will implement the preferred scenario. The scenarios are used to test alternative policies and lead to selection of the policy that the community believes they can achieve. The formal language of objectives, principles and standards is written after the scenarios are evaluated and the preferred scenarios (and accompanying policies) are identified.

(Ord. 2011-41s2 § 2 (part), 2011)

19E.10.050 Level of Service (Scenario Driven) Method for Analyzing Capital Facilities.

A.    Application of Standards. The County shall adopt standards for levels of service for PCC 19E.10.015 and shall apply the standards as follows:

1.    Category A. The standards for levels of service of each type of public facility in Category A shall apply to development permits issued by the County after the effective date of implementation of the Plan, the County's annual budget beginning with the 1995 fiscal year, the County's Capital Improvements Program beginning with the 1994 fiscal year, and other elements of this Comprehensive Plan.

2.    Category B. The standards for levels of service of each type of public facility in Category B shall apply to development permits issued by the County after the effective date of implementation of the Plan, and other elements of this Comprehensive Plan. Category B public facilities are provided by entities other than Pierce County, therefore the standards for levels of service shall not apply to the County's annual budget or the County's Capital Improvements Program; however the standards for levels of service shall apply to the annual budgets and Capital Improvements Programs of the entities which provide the public facilities.

3.    Categories C and D. The standards for levels of service of each type of public facility in Categories C and D shall not apply to the concurrency management system.

B.    Explanation of Levels of Service. Level of service means an established minimum capacity for public facilities or services that is planned to be provided per unit demand or other appropriate measure of need and is used as a gauge for measuring the quality of service. Levels of service are usually quantifiable measures of the amount of public facilities that are provided to the community. Levels of service may also measure the quality of some public facilities. Levels of service should be set to reflect realistic expectations consistent with the achievement of growth aims. Levels of service standards are valuable planning and budgetary tools, even if concurrency is not required for specified facilities, given that they are a measure of quality of service.

Typically, measures of LOS are expressed as ratios of facility capacity to demand (i.e., actual or potential users). Table 19E.10-1 lists examples of LOS measures for some capital facilities:

Table 19E.10-1. Sample Level of Service Measurements

Type of Capital Facility

Sample Level of Service Measure


Beds per 1,000 population


Building square feet per capita


Acres per 1,000 population


Gallons per day per residential equivalent

Surface Water and River Levees

Design storm (i.e., 100-year storm)

Each of these level of service measures needs one additional piece of information – the specific quantity that measures the current or proposed level of service. For example, the standard for parks might be five acres per 1,000 population, but the current level of service may be 2.68 acres per 1,000, which is less than the standard.

To make use of the level of service method, the County selects the way it will measure each facility (i.e., acres, gallons, etc.), and identifies the amount of the current and proposed (i.e., standard) level of service for each measurement.

There are other ways to measure the level of service of many of these capital facilities. The examples in Table 19E.10-2 are provided to give greater depth to the following discussion of the use of LOS as a method for determining the County's need for capital facilities.

C.    Method for Using Levels of Service. The level of service method answers two questions needed to develop a financially feasible CFP. The GMA requires the CFP to be based on standards for service levels that are measurable and financially feasible for the six fiscal years following adoption of the plan. The CFP must meet the County's capital needs for the six-year CFP planning period.

1.    There are two questions that must be answered in order to meet the GMA requirements:

a.    What is the quantity of public facilities that will be required by the end of the sixth year?

b.    Is it financially feasible to provide the quantity of facilities that are required by the end of the sixth year?

The answer to each question can be calculated by using objective data and formulas. Each type of public facility is examined separately (i.e., roads are examined separately from parks). The costs of all the types of facilities are then added together to determine the overall financial feasibility of the CFP. One of the CFP support documents, "Capital Facilities Requirements," contains the results of this method which answers the two questions for Pierce County.

2.    Question 1. What is the quantity of public facilities that will be required by the end of the sixth year?

Formula 1.1:    Demand X Standard = Requirement

    Where: Demand is the estimated population or other appropriate measure of need (i.e., dwelling units), and Standard is the amount of facility per unit of demand (i.e., acres of park per capita).

The answer to this formula is the total amount of public facilities that are needed, regardless of the amount of facilities that are already in place and being used by the public.

Formula 1.2:    Requirement - Inventory = Surplus or Deficiency

    Where: Requirement is the result of Formula 1.1, and Inventory is the quantity of facilities available at the beginning of the six years covered by the Plan.

This formula uses the inventory of existing public facilities, plus facilities that will be completed by the beginning of the six-year planning period, to offset the total requirement of Formula 1.1. The answer to Formula 1.2 is the net surplus of public facilities, or the net deficit that must be eliminated by additional facilities before the end of the six-year planning period. If a net deficiency exists, it represents the combined needs of existing development and anticipated new development. Detailed analysis will reveal the portion of the net deficiency that is attributable to current development compared to the portion needed for new development (see the CFP support document Capital Facilities Requirement for the delineation between current development and new development).

3.    Question 2. Is it financially feasible to provide the quantity of facilities that are required by the end of the sixth year?

A "preliminary" answer to Question 2 is prepared to test the financial feasibility of tentative or proposed standards of service. The preliminary answers use "average costs" of facilities rather than specific project costs. This approach avoids the problem of developing detailed projects and costs that would be unusable if the standard proved to be financially infeasible. If the standards are feasible at the preliminary level, detailed projects are prepared for the "final" answer to Question 2. If, however, the preliminary answer indicates that a standard of service is not financially feasible, six options are available to the County:

a.    Reduce the standard of service, which will reduce the cost;

b.    Increase revenues to pay for the proposed standard of service (higher rates for existing revenues, or new sources of revenue, or a combination);

c.    Reduce the average cost of the public facility (i.e., alternative technology or alternative ownership or financing), thus reducing the total cost, and possibly the quality;

d.    Reduce the demand by restricting population (i.e., revise the land use element), which may cause growth to occur in other jurisdictions;

e.    Reduce the demand by reducing consumption (i.e., transportation demand management techniques, recycling solid waste, water conservation, etc.) which may cost more money initially, but may save money later; or

f.    Any combination of options a-e.

The preliminary answer to Question 2 is prepared using the following formulas (P = preliminary):

Formula 2.1P:    Deficiency X Average Cost = Deficiency Cost per Unit

    Where: Deficiency is the result of Formula 1.2, and Average Cost/Unit is the usual cost of one unit of facility (i.e., mile of road, acre of park)

The answer to Formula 2.1P is the approximate cost of eliminating all deficiencies of public facilities, based on the use of an "average" cost for each unit of public facility that is needed.

Formula 2.2P:    Deficiency Cost - Revenue = Net Surplus or Deficiency

    Where: Deficiency Cost is the result of Formula 2.1P, and Revenue is the money currently available for public facilities.

The result of Formula 2.2P is the preliminary answer to the test of financial feasibility of the standards of service. A surplus of revenue in excess of cost means the standard of service is affordable with money remaining (the surplus), therefore, the standard is financially feasible. A deficiency of revenue compared to cost means that not enough money is available to build the facilities, therefore, the standard is not financially feasible. Any standard that is not financially feasible will need to be adjusted using the six strategies listed above.

The CFP support document, "Capital Facilities Requirements," contains the scenarios for Pierce County.

The "final" demonstration of financial feasibility uses detailed costs of specific capital projects in lieu of the "average" costs of facilities used in the preliminary answer, as follows (F = final):

Formula 2.1F:    Capacity Projects + Non-Capacity Projects = Project Cost

    Where: Capacity Projects is the cost of all projects needed to eliminate the deficiency for existing and future development (Formula 1.2), including upgrades and/or expansion of existing facilities as well as new facilities, and

    Non-Capacity Projects is the cost of remodeling, renovation or replacement needed to maintain the inventory of existing facilities.

Formula 2.2F:    Project Cost - Revenue = Net Surplus or Deficiency

    Where: Project Cost is the result of Formula 2.1F, and Revenue is the money available for public facilities from current/proposed sources.

The "final" answer to Question 2 validates the financial feasibility of the standards for LOS that are used for each public facility in the CFP and in the other elements of the comprehensive plan. The financially feasible standards for LOS and the resulting capital improvement projects are used as the basis for objectives, principles and standards and implementation programs for the final CFP.

D.    Setting the Standards for Levels of Service. Because the need for capital facilities is largely determined by the LOS that are adopted, the key to influencing the CFP is to influence the selection of the level of service standards. Level of service standards are measures of the quality of life of the community. The standards should be based on the community's vision of its future and its values.

Traditional approaches to capital facilities planning rely on technical experts (i.e., staff and consultants) to determine the need for capital improvements. In the scenario-driven approach these experts play an important advisory role, but they do not control the determination. Their role is to define and implement a process for the review of various scenarios, to analyze data and make suggestions based on technical considerations.

The final, legal authority to establish the LOS rests with the County Council because they enact the level of service standards that reflect the community's vision. Their decision should be influenced by recommendations of: (1) Planning Commission, (2) providers of public facilities (i.e., local government departments, special districts, schools, private utilities, the State of Washington, tribal governments, etc.), (3) formal advisory groups that make recommendations to the providers of public facilities (i.e., the Citizens' Advisory Group), (4) the general public through individual citizens and community civic, business, and issue-based organizations that make their views known or are sought through sampling techniques.

An individual has many opportunities to influence the level of service (and other aspects of the Plan). These opportunities include attending and participating in meetings, writing letters, responding to surveys or questionnaires, joining organizations that participate in the CFP process, being appointed/elected to an advisory group, making comments/presentation/testimony at the meetings of any group or government agency that influences the level of service decision and giving input during the SEPA review process.

The scenario-driven approach to developing the level of service standards provides decision makers and anyone else who wishes to participate with a clear statement of the outcomes of various LOS for each type of public facility. This approach reduces the tendency for decisions to be controlled by expert staff or consultants, opens up the decision making process to the public and advisory groups, and places the decisions before the County Council.

The final standards for LOS are adopted in CFP 2.2 in the Capital Facilities Element of the Pierce County Comprehensive Plan (Title 19A PCC). The adopted standards (1) determine the need for capital improvements projects, (2) are the benchmark for evaluating the adequacy of public facilities for each proposed development, and (3) for concurrency-related facilities, establish the test for concurrency pursuant to concurrency requirements. The adopted standards can be amended, if necessary, once each year as part of the annual amendment of the Comprehensive Plan.

E.    Determining Public Facility Needs. The County shall determine the quantity of capital improvements that is needed as follows:

1.    The quantity of capital improvements needed to eliminate existing deficiencies and to meet the needs of future growth shall be determined for each public facility by the following calculation: Q = (S x D) - I,

Where Q is the quantity of capital improvements needed,

S is the standard for level of service,

D is the demand, such as the population, and

I is the inventory of existing facilities.

The calculation shall be used for existing demand in order to determine existing deficiencies. The calculation shall be used for projected demand in order to determine needs of future growth.

2.    There are four circumstances in which the standards for levels of service are not the exclusive determinant of need for a capital improvement:

a.    Repair, remodeling, renovation, and replacement of obsolete or worn out facilities shall be determined by the County Council upon the recommendation of the County Executive.

b.    Capital improvements needed to address health and safety issues, as determined by the County Council upon recommendation of the County Executive.

c.    Capital improvements that provide levels of service in excess of the standards adopted in this Comprehensive Plan may be constructed or acquired at any time as long as the following conditions are met:

(1)    The capital improvement does not contradict, limit or substantially change the goals and policies of any element of this Comprehensive Plan, and

(2)    One of the following conditions is met:

(a)    The excess capacity is an integral part of a capital improvement that is needed to achieve or maintain standards for levels of service (i.e., the minimum capacity of a capital project is larger than the capacity required to provide the level of service); or

(b)    The excess capacity provides economies of scale making it less expensive than a comparable amount of capacity if acquired at a later date; or

(c)    The asset acquired is land that contains critical areas, or is designated by the County for open space or recreation purposes; or

(d)    The excess capacity is part of a capital project financed by general obligation bonds approved by referendum; or

(e)    The Council has determined that the capital improvement addresses the goal of a jobs-based economy.

d.    The County may provide noncapital alternatives to achieve and maintain the adopted standard for level of service. Noncapital alternatives use programs, strategies or methods other than traditional "brick and mortar" capital standards. Noncapital alternatives include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1)    Programs that reduce or eliminate the need for the capital facility (i.e., education, housing, and jobs programs as alternatives to incarcerating people who break the law because of insufficient economic opportunities).

(2)    Programs that provide a noncapital substitute for the capital facility (i.e., electronic home monitoring or other sentencing alternatives to incarceration in traditional jail facilities).

(3)    Programs that reduce the demand for a capital facility or the service it provides (i.e., telecommuting as an alternative to commuting to work; transit as an alternative to cars; recycling as an alternative to landfills).

(4)    Programs that use alternative methods to provide levels of service (i.e., "natural" drainage in managed flood basins as an alternative to levees and dikes).

(5)    Programs that use existing facilities more efficiently to reduce the need for additional facilities (i.e., night court as an alternative to more courtrooms during the day; flextime and evening and night shifts as an alternative to additional space for government staff).

3.    Any capital improvement that is needed as a result of any of the factors listed in PCC 19E.10.050 E.2. shall be included in the regular schedule of capital improvements contained in this Capital Facilities Plan. All such capital improvements shall be approved in the same manner as the capital improvements that are needed according to the quantitative analysis described in PCC 19E.10.050 E.1.

4.    Public and private community service providers should be encouraged to jointly plan, share, or reuse facilities, when appropriate, in order to reduce costs, conserve land, and provide convenience and amenity for the public. (Examples include schools, community centers, social service facilities, libraries, swimming pools, and recreational facilities, and open space, wetlands, or surface water management facilities that enhance other public facilities.)

F.    Priorities. The relative priorities among capital improvements projects are as follows:

1.    Priorities Among Types of Public Facilities. Legal restrictions on the use of many revenue sources limit the extent to which types of facilities compete for priority with other types of facilities because they do not compete for the same revenues. All capital improvements that are necessary for achieving and maintaining a standard for levels of service adopted in this Comprehensive Plan are included in the financially feasible schedule of capital improvements contained in this Capital Facilities Plan. The relative priorities among types of public facilities (i.e., roads, sanitary sewer, etc.) were established by adjusting the standards for levels of service and the available revenues until the resulting public facilities needs became financially feasible. This process is repeated with each update of the Capital Facilities Plan, thus allowing for changes in priorities among types of public facilities.

2.    Priorities of Capital Improvements Within a Type of Public Facility. Capital improvements within a type of public facility are to be evaluated on the following criteria and considered in the order of priority listed below. The County shall establish the final priority of all capital facility improvements using the following criteria as general guidelines. Any revenue source that cannot be used for a high priority facility shall be used beginning with the highest priority for which the revenue can legally be expended.

a.    Reconstruction, rehabilitation, remodeling, renovation, or replacement of obsolete or worn out facilities that contribute to achieving or maintaining standards for levels of service adopted in this Comprehensive Plan.

b.    New or expanded facilities that reduce or eliminate deficiencies in levels of service for existing demand or that support the creation of a jobs-based economy for Pierce County.

c.    New public facilities, and improvements to existing public facilities, that eliminate public hazards if such hazards were not otherwise eliminated by facility improvements prioritized according to PCC 19E.10.050 F.2.a. or b.

d.    New or expanded facilities that provide the adopted levels of service for new development and redevelopment during the next six fiscal years, as updated by the annual review of this Capital Facilities Plan. The County may acquire land or right of way in advance of the need to develop a facility for new development. The location of facilities constructed pursuant to this Policy shall conform to the Land Use Element, and specific project locations shall serve projected growth areas within the allowable land use categories.

e.    Improvements to existing facilities, and new facilities that significantly reduce the operating cost of providing a service or facility, or otherwise mitigate impacts of public facilities on future operating budgets.

f.    New facilities that exceed the adopted levels of service for new growth during the next six fiscal years by either:

(1)    Providing excess public facility capacity that is needed by future growth beyond the next six fiscal years, or

(2)    Providing higher quality public facilities than are contemplated in the County's normal design criteria for such facilities.

g.    Facilities not described in PCC 19E.10.050 F.2.a. through f., but which the County is obligated to complete; provided, that such obligation is evidenced by a written agreement the County executed prior to the adoption of this Comprehensive Plan.

3.    All facilities scheduled for construction or improvement in accordance with this Policy shall be evaluated to identify any plans of State or local governments or districts that affect, or will be affected by, the proposed County capital improvement.

4.    Project evaluation may also involve additional criteria that are unique to each type of public facility, as described in other elements of this Comprehensive Plan.

(Ord. 2015-56 § 2 (part), 2015; Ord. 2014-86 § 1 (part), 2014; Ord. 2012-73s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 2011-41s2 § 2 (part), 2011)

19E.10.060 Summary.

The CFP Element of the Comprehensive Plan is presented in six sections:

Introduction – Purpose of the CFP, statutory requirements, methodology.

State Goals – Quote of the GMA goal relating to capital facilities.

State Mandates – Relevant State law guiding the CFP.

County Mandates – County-wide Planning Policies and Multicounty Planning Policies.

Objectives, Principles and Standards – Statements of requirements, level of service standards, guidelines, criteria, and tools that are used to develop and implement the CFP.

Capital Improvements – List of proposed capital projects, including financing plan, future operating costs, and reconciliation of project capacity to level of service standards.

A.    CFP Element Support Documents. Pierce County's complete CFP consists of this CFP Element of the Comprehensive Plan, and four support documents:

1.    Capital Facilities Requirements: an analysis of the need for additional facility capacity to serve current and future development. Multiple scenarios use different LOS (i.e., current LOS vs. recommended LOS) to quantify the capacity needs, and to estimate the cost of meeting those needs).

2.    Financial Capacity Analysis: a six-year forecast of the operating costs of major County funds. By omitting capital costs, the analysis shows ending balances that relate to financing of future capital improvements. Positive balances can be used for capital projects. Negative balances indicate no support for capital, and potential "deficits" which must be eliminated (by increasing revenue or reducing costs).

3.    Revenue Sources for Capital Facilities: forecasts of each source of revenue that the County can legally use for capital facilities, including sources now in use as well as other sources the County does not now use.

4.    Non-Capital Alternatives for Achieving Levels of Service: presents alternatives to achieving LOS for public facilities by a means other than "brick and mortar" capital projects.

B.    Growth Assumption. This CFP is based on the following population data:













*estimated; **projected

C.    Level of Service Consequences of the CFP. The updated CFP will enable Pierce County to accommodate expected growth during the next six years.

D.    Tax Consequences of the CFP. The CFP is based in part on additional tax revenue. The additional tax burden required to support the level of service in the CFP cannot be determined until the financing plan is completed and adopted by County Council.

(Ord. 2018-73s2 § 2, 2018; Ord. 2017-64s § 2, 2017; Ord. 2016-67s § 2, 2016; Ord. 2015-56 § 2 (part), 2015; Ord. 2014-86 § 1 (part), 2014; Ord. 2013-72 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2012-73s § 2 (part), 2012; Ord. 2011-41s2 § 2 (part), 2011)