(1) Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to set forth the criteria and procedures for reviewing and evaluating proposed amendments to the City’s Comprehensive Plan consistent with the requirements of the State Growth Management Act.
(2) The Growth Management Act (GMA) requires that comprehensive plans be subject to continued review and evaluation and that any amendments or revisions to the Comprehensive Plan conform to the requirements of Chapter 36.70A RCW and that any changes to development regulations or official controls are consistent with and implement the Comprehensive Plan (RCW 36.70A.130(2)).
(3) Types of Comprehensive Plan Amendments Defined.
(a) “Periodic Comprehensive Plan amendment” means a modification to the City of Pasco’s Comprehensive Plan, including, but not limited to, a text amendment, change to the Comprehensive Plan designations map or urban growth area amendment, and which occurs during any annual or other periodic review of public and private Comprehensive Plan amendment proposals.
(b) “Comprehensive Plan element amendment” means a proposed change or revision to any of the required elements of the Comprehensive Plan such as the land use, transportation, housing or capital facilities elements.
(c) “Emergency amendment” means any proposed change or revision to the Comprehensive Plan that arises from a situation that necessitates expeditious action to preserve the health, safety or welfare of the public, or to support the social, economic or environmental well-being of the City. Emergency amendments may be reviewed and acted upon outside the annual amendment review cycle.
(4) Initiation. Comprehensive Plan amendments may be initiated by any of the following:
(a) Property owner(s) or their representatives within the urban growth area;
(b) Any citizen, agency, neighborhood association or other party within the urban growth area; or
(c) City Council or City staff.
(5) Applications. Applications for Comprehensive Plan amendments shall be made on forms provided by the City.
(6) Application Submittal.
(a) Applicant Initiated. Comprehensive Plan amendments shall be subject to a fully complete determination pursuant to this chapter. The date upon which the City makes a fully complete determination shall be the date of registration with the Department of Community and Economic Development.
(b) Applicants are required to utilize the City’s pre-application meeting process prior to submitting a Comprehensive Plan amendment application.
(c) Non-Applicant-Initiated. After submittal of a non-applicant-initiated application, the application shall be placed on the docket.
(d) Docket of Comprehensive Plan Amendments. The Department of Community and Economic Development shall establish and maintain a docket of all complete applications.
(7) Annual Review of Docket.
(a) Sixty days prior to May 1st in each calendar year, the City shall notify the public that the amendment process has begun. If May 1st falls on a nonbusiness day for the City, the due date shall be the first business day after May 1st. Notice shall be distributed as follows:
(i) Notice published in appropriate regional or neighborhood newspaper or trade journal;
(ii) Notice posted on the City’s website; and
(iii) Notice sent to all agencies, organizations and adjacent jurisdictions with a known interest.
(b) All complete applications shall be docketed and reviewed concurrently, on an annual basis and in a manner consistent with RCW 36.70A.130.
(i) Complete applications received after May 1st of the previous calendar year and before May 1st of the current calendar year shall be included in the annual review. Those received after May 1st of the calendar year shall be placed on the docket for review at the following annual review.
(ii) City Council Review of Docketed Requests. After the May 1st deadline, City staff will present the docketed requests to the Planning Commission (Commission) for review and a recommendation. The Commission’s recommendation shall be forwarded to the City Council (Council) as soon as practical for Council review. The Council shall determine which specific docketed requests are processed based on the following criteria:
(A) Timing of the requested amendment is appropriate, and Council will have sufficient information to make an informed decision;
(B) The City will be able to conduct sufficient analysis, develop policy and related development regulations;
(C) The requested amendment has not been recently rejected by Council;
(D) The amendment will further implement the intent of the City’s adopted Comprehensive Plan or the Growth Management Act;
(E) The amendment is not better addressed through another planning process.
(iii) Statutorily Mandated Periodic Review. Amendment requests will not be docketed for review the year of and the year prior to the deadline for completion of the periodic review. The deadline for completion of this review is specified in RCW 36.70A.130.
(iv) Emergency Amendments. The City may review and amend the Comprehensive Plan when the Council determines that an emergency exists or in other circumstances as provided for by RCW 36.70A.130(2)(a).
(8) Notice of Open Record Hearing. Comprehensive Plan amendments require an open record hearing before the Commission.
(a) Contents of Notice. A notice of open record hearing shall include the following:
(i) The citation, if any, of the provision that would be changed by the proposal along with a brief description of that provision;
(ii) A statement of how the proposal would change the affected provision;
(iii) A statement of what areas, Comprehensive Plan designations, zones, or locations will be directly affected or changed by the proposal;
(iv) The date, time, and location of the open record hearing;
(v) A statement of the availability of the official file; and
(vi) A statement of the right of any person to submit written comments to the Commission and/or appear at the open record hearing of the Commission to give oral testimony on the proposal.
(b) Distribution of Notice. The Department shall distribute the notice pursuant to notification requirements of the Pasco Municipal Code.
(c) Approval Criteria. The City may approve Comprehensive Plan amendments if it finds that:
(i) The proposed amendment bears a substantial relationship to the public health, safety, welfare, and protection of the environment;
(ii) The proposed amendment is consistent with the requirements of Chapter 36.70A RCW and with the portion of the City’s adopted Comprehensive Plan not affected by the amendment;
(iii) The proposed amendment corrects an obvious mapping error; or
(iv) The proposed amendment addresses an identified deficiency in the Comprehensive Plan.
(9) Additional Factors. The City must also consider the following factors prior to approving Comprehensive Plan amendments:
(a) The effect upon the physical environment;
(b) The effect on open space and natural features including, but not limited to, topography, streams, rivers, and lakes;
(c) The compatibility with and impact on adjacent land uses and surrounding neighborhoods;
(d) The adequacy of and impact on community facilities, including utilities, roads, public transportation, parks, recreation, and schools;
(e) The quantity and location of land planned for the proposed land use type and density and the demand for such land;
(f) The current and projected project density in the area; and
(g) The effect, if any, upon other aspects of the Comprehensive Plan.
(10) Planning Commission Recommendation – Procedure. Following the open record hearing, the Commission shall consider all applications concurrently, and shall prepare and forward a recommendation of proposed action for all applications to the Council. The Commission shall take one of the following actions on each application:
(a) If the Commission determines that any proposal should be adopted, it may, by a majority vote, recommend that the Council adopt the proposal. The Commission may make modifications to any proposal prior to recommending the proposal to Council for adoption. If the modification is substantial, the Commission must conduct an open record hearing on the modified proposal;
(b) If the Commission determines that the proposal should not be adopted, it may, by a majority vote, recommend that the Council not adopt the proposal; or
(c) If the Commission is unable to take either of the actions specified in subsection (10)(a) or (10)(b) of this section, the proposal will be sent to Council with the notation that the Commission makes no recommendation.
(11) City Council Action. Within 60 days of receipt of the Commission’s findings and recommendations, the Council shall consider the findings and recommendations of the Commission concerning the applications. The Council may hold additional public hearings as necessary to make a decision. All annual amendments to the Comprehensive Plan shall be considered concurrently. By a majority vote of its membership, the Council shall take one of the following actions on each application:
(a) Approve the application;
(b) Deny the application; or
(c) Modify the application. If the modification is substantial, the Council must either conduct a public hearing on the modified proposal; or refer the proposal back to the Commission for further consideration.
(12) Transmittal to the State of Washington. At least 60 days prior to final action being taken by the Council, the Washington State Department of Commerce shall be provided with a copy of the proposed amendments in order to initiate the 60-day comment period. No later than 10 days after adoption of the proposal, a copy of the final decision shall be forwarded to Department of Commerce.
(13) Comprehensive Plan Element Amendments.
(a) Amendments to any of the required elements of the Comprehensive Plan as defined in RCW 36.70A.070 shall be initiated by resolution approved by a majority vote of the City Council.
(b) The City Council shall consider the amendments, conduct a public hearing on the amendments and adopt the element by ordinance.
(14) Emergency Comprehensive Plan Amendments.
(a) Emergency amendments, as defined in this chapter, shall be initiated by resolution approved by a vote of the Council upon a finding that a situation exists that necessitates expeditious action to preserve the health, safety or welfare of the public; or to support the social, economic or environmental well-being of the City.
(b) Emergency amendments so initiated shall be forwarded to the Director who shall immediately begin processing the initiated amendment in the manner set forth for the processing of annual Comprehensive Plan amendments.
(c) Appropriate public notice and an opportunity for public comment, as determined by the nature of the emergency, must precede the adoption of emergency amendments to the Comprehensive Plan.