What if we reinvest in our existing job centers and transit corridors? What if we take an active role in looking for opportunities for infill and redevelopment, and public private partnerships? What if we work with neighborhoods to create livelier, livable “village” style neighborhoods, use our remaining urban land supply strategically, and take stronger measures to protect our rural residential and resource lands? This is the preferred land use scenario of the Sustainable Thurston Task Force. This scenario is the product of a critical review of our current land-use patterns and population and employment forecast. Out of this review, The Task Force began to develop its land use strategy alternatives.
Initially three land use scenarios were developed to reflect strategies presented in the Places Vision and Strategy Briefs, and to move toward overall Sustainable Thurston Vision and Goals. Scenarios were compared against a Baseline. Phase One scenarios were developed based on discussions of the Urban Corridors Task Force, Population and Employment Advisory Group, Sustainable Thurston Panels, and Sustainable Thurston Task Force. The details are consistent with available research, market studies, and discussions with jurisdictional planning staff.
After reviewing the initial scenarios and gathering public input, The Sustainable Thurston Task Force determined that to achieve the community vision would require bolder steps with regard to land use. They articulated a bold Regional Vision and embarked on setting priority goals and targets. Two land use targets were discussed by the Task Force and evaluated by staff using the Land Use Model. A Preferred Land Use Scenario was developed that can achieve the following targets, and still maintain the foundations of the land use scenario development:
By 2035, 72 percent of all (new and existing) households in our cities, towns, and unincorporated growth areas will be within a half mile (comparable to a 20 minute walk) of an urban center, corridor, or neighborhood center with access to goods and services to meet some of their daily needs.
Between 2010 and 2035, 5 percent of new housing will locate in the rural areas. Rural areas are defined as outside of the cities, towns, unincorporated urban growth areas and tribal reservations.
The foundations of the land use scenarios were:
Plan for our changing demographics, changing housing preferences, and anticipated growth.
Ensure the scenarios were market based and realistic.
Ensure scenarios took into account property rights, vesting, and reasonable use of property.
Ensure the scenarios were consistent with public input.
Ensure the scenarios are consistent with the goals of the State’s Growth Management Act and the Foundational Principles and Policies articulated during Phase One of Sustainable Thurston.
Base land use scenarios on the strategies outlined in the Places Vision and Strategy Briefs, the Land Use, Transportation, Climate Change brief, and additional measures as necessary to achieve priority targets.