Determination of Significance, Notice of EIS1 Public Scoping2 and Public

Determination of Significance, Notice of EIS1 Public Scoping2 and Public Scoping Meeting Proponent: City of Tacoma (City) and Bates Technical College Project Name: North Downtown Subarea Plan (including the Bates Technical College Campus, Commercial Core, Foss Waterway, Stadium District, Hillside District, St. Helens District, and Wright Park) Background: Funding -The City of Tacoma has been awarded a grant from the State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) to carry out the North Downtown Subarea Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The North Downtown Subarea Plan will extend the planning effort currently underway in the South Downtown and MLK subareas north through the Stadium District and involves the development of an innovative, area-wide plan for Tacoma's North Downtown which will become an element of the City's Comprehensive Plan. The project will identify short and long term goals and objectives for this area and outline specific implementation strategies to achieve them. Bates Technical College will be partnering with the City of Tacoma as the SEPA co-lead agency for the North Downtown Subarea Plan and EIS. Bates Technical College has prepared a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which memorializes this arrangement, respective responsibilities, and designates the City of Tacoma as Nominal lead agency. Non-Project Environmental Review The City and Bates Technical College will prepare a non-project environmental impact statement (EIS) for the North Downtown Subarea Plan. Completing a non-project EIS presents a cumulative impact analysis for the entire subarea, rather than piecemeal analysis of the environmental impacts and mitigation on a project-by-project basis. As a result, the environmental impacts and mitigation are comprehensively evaluated at the subareawide level. The non-project EIS also eliminates the need for subsequent environmental review associated with project-specific development proposals that are consistent with the subarea's development regulations. As such, the non-project EIS provides certainty and predictability for urban development proposals; thereby, streamlining the environmental review process within the subarea and encouraging the goals of SEPA3 and the State's Growth Management Act (Chapter 36.70A RCW). The City and Bates Technical College have decided the non-project EIS will proceed under RCW 43.21C.420. Recognizing that RCW 43.21C.420(5)(a) and (b) include a sunset provision, the City and Bates Technical College wish to also proceed under RCW 43.21C.031 (planned action) and RCW 43.21C.229 (infill exemption), providing the City with additional SEPA tools that the City may use if provisions in RCW 43.21C.420(5)(a) and (b) expire. Appeal and Noticing -For a nonproject EIS completed under RCW 43.21C.420, the SEPA-based appeal opportunity occurs only in conjunction with issuance of the non-project Final EIS. Consistent with RCW 43.21C.420, a proposed development will not be subject to project-specific SEPA-based administrative or judicial appeals if the proposed development is (1) proposed within 10 years of the issuance of the subarea Final EIS, (2) situated within the subarea, and (3) consistent with the adopted subarea plan and development regulations. Similarly, there are no SEPA noticing requirements for subsequent, site-specific development or redevelopment within the subarea that is consistent with the subarea plan. Non-Project EIS Outreach Requirements This optional EIS process has several community outreach components, notably: * A community meeting on the proposed subarea plan must be held prior to issuance of the EIS Scoping notice for the proposed EIS. This meeting was held on May 29, 2013 at the Bates Technical College Campus Main Building Auditorium: * notice of the proposed community meeting was mailed to all: property owners of record within the subarea; property owners within 400 feet of the boundaries of the subarea; affected federally-recognized tribal governments whose ceded area is within one-half mile of the boundaries of the subarea; agencies with jurisdiction4 over future development within the subarea; small businesses as defined in RCW 19.85.020; and all preservation and development authorities established under chapter 43.167 RCW, TMC 13.12.560(D)(2). * This EIS Scoping Notice has been mailed (via first class mail) to all: * property owners of record within the subarea; * property owners within 400 feet of the boundaries of the subarea; * affected federally-recognized tribal governments whose ceded area is within one-half mile of the boundaries of the subarea; * agencies with jurisdiction over future development within the subarea; * small businesses as defined in RCW 19.85.020; * all preservation and development authorities established under chapter 43.167 RCW, TMC 13.12.560(D)(2); * to neighborhood councils, qualified neighborhood or community organizations in the site vicinity; and the * Puyallup Tribe for substantial actions defined in the Agreement between the Puyallup Tribe, Local Governments in Pierce County, the State of Washington, the United States of America, and certain taxpayers, dated August 27, 1988. * notice of the meeting included general illustrations and descriptions of buildings that are generally representative of the maximum building envelope that will be allowed under the subarea plan; and the * notice was posted on major travel routes within the subarea within seven days of the mailing of the meeting notice. * The EIS Scoping Notice was published in the Daily Journal of Commerce and the Tacoma Daily Index. * Public information signs have been posted within the subarea. In addition, a non-project EIS Scoping meeting is scheduled for July 16, 2013.5 Details of the EIS Scoping meeting are noted on pg. 6 of this notice. Description of the Proposal: The proposed project involves development of an innovative, area-wide subarea plan for Tacoma's North Downtown Subarea, which will become an optional element of the City's Comprehensive Plan. Together with the subarea plan, a non-project EIS is being prepared that will evaluate the probable adverse environmental impacts associated with various alternatives that are part of the subarea plan and identify measures that will be used to mitigate the impacts identified. Specifically, the EIS will analyze the impacts associated with future development in this portion of downtown. Future development may include additional development on the Bates Technical College campus, as well as potential increases in employment and population that are being planned for in this area. Preliminary growth targets for the area include 30,000 new jobs and 30,000 additional people by 2030. As noted previously, the goal of this EIS is to eliminate the need for additional environmental analysis in conjunction with development and redevelopment that occurs on individual sites within the North Downtown Subarea. This environmental review is intended to serve as a catalyst for redevelopment and an incentive for property owners and developers to favorably consider Tacoma's North Downtown Subarea when locating a business or investing in the community. Location: The geographic area that is the focus of North Downtown Subarea Plan is shown on the attached map. Generally, the boundaries extend up from S. 15th St. in the south to Yakima Avenue and 'I' Street on the west, to the Thea Foss Waterway on the east, and North 4th Avenue in the North. This approximately encompasses the northern portion of Downtown Tacoma and includes the Bates Technical College Campus, Commercial Core, Foss Waterway, Stadium District, Hillside District, St. Helens District, and Wright Park. The City of Tacoma intends to designate this North Downtown Subarea as a environmentally reviewed subarea under the provisions of RCW 43.21C.420, or RCW 43.21C.031 and RCW 43.21C.229 if provisions in RCW 43.21C.420(5)(a) and (b) expire. MAP HERE Alternatives: It is proposed that the EIS analyze several alternatives as part of the North Downtown Subarea Plan. These potential alternatives would be based on variations of such factors as transportation, utilities, development phasing, and/or focus areas within the subarea that exhibit different mixes of land use and intensities of development. The alternatives may also include less intensive development within the study area. In addition to the development alternatives, this EIS will evaluate impacts associated with a No Action or business as usual -Alternative. For purposes of the No Action Alternative, it is assumed that development would occur within the North Downtown Subarea based on existing zoning and environmental review procedures. Any such development or redevelopment that is proposed within the North Downtown Subarea in conjunction with the No Action Alternative would undergo environmental review on a projectby-project basis. Such projects would be subject to site-specific mitigation and potential SEPA-based appeals and would not be part of the non-project EIS process. Lead Agency: The City of Tacoma and Bates Technical College are colead agencies for SEPA compliance; the City of Tacoma will serve as the nominal6 lead agency. Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Required: The City of Tacoma and Bates Technical College have determined that the North Downtown Subarea Plan may have a significant adverse environmental impact on the environment. An EIS under RCW 43.21C.030(2)(c) will be prepared. This decision was made after a review of information that is onfile with the City and Bates Technical College. Preliminarily indications are that the following environmental parameters will be evaluated in this EIS: * Earth; * Air Quality (greenhouse gas emissions); * Water; * Plants and Animals; * Environmental Health (contamination and hazardous materials); * Noise; * Land Use (adjacent land uses and consistency with plans, policies and regulations); * Population and Housing; * Historic and Cultural Resources; * Aesthetics; * Transportation, Circulation and Parking; * Public Utilities; and * Public Services. EIS Scoping: Agencies, affected tribes, and members of the public are invited to comment on the scope of this proposed EIS. You may comment on the alternatives, probable significant adverse impacts, proposed mitigation measures, and licenses or other approvals that may be required. Methods for presenting your comments are described below. Please note that the City of Tacoma does not discriminate on the basis of disability in any of its programs, activities, or services. To request this information in an alternative format or a reasonable accommodation, please contact the City Clerk's Office at 253-5915505. TTY or speech-to-speech users please dial 711 to connect to Washington Relay Services. All comments are due no later than 5 PM, July 19, 2013. * EIS Public Scoping Meeting An EIS Scoping meeting is scheduled for 5:30 pm on Thursday, June 26, 2013 in the Main Building Auditorium on the Bates Technical College, Downtown campus (1101 South Yakima Avenue). The purpose of the meeting is to present information about the proposed project and to provide an opportunity to comment orally on the scope of the proposed EIS. Written comments will also be accepted at this meeting (comment forms will be available). * Submittal of Written Comments via Mail Written comments may be submitted to the City of Tacoma Responsible Official7 (noted below): Environmental Officer: Mr. Ian Munce, J.D., AICP Title: Special Assistant to the Director, Long-Range Planning Division Address: City of Tacoma Planning and Development Services Department 747 Market Street, Room 1036 Tacoma, WA 98402 Phone #: 253.573.2478 Fax #: 253.591.2002 Date: 6/6/2013 Signature: /s/ ___ Concur: Peter Huffman, Interim Director, Planning and Development Services, Responsible Official8 Date: 6/7/2013 Signature: Peter Huffman * Submittal of Written Comments via E-mail to the City's Website Comments may be submitted by email to the City's Responsible Official (noted above): imunce@cityoftacoma.org 1 EIS refers to environmental impact statement 2 Scoping is the first major step in preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS). It involves identifying the alternatives and the range of environmental issues that are to be analyzed in the EIS. 3 SEPA is the State Environmental Policy Act (Chapter 43.21C RCW). Regulations that implement SEPA are called the SEPA Rules (Chapter 197-11 WAC). 4 For SEPA compliance, an agency with jurisdiction is an agency with authority to approve, veto, or finance all or part of a project (see WAC 197-11-714 for more details). 5 The scoping meeting will be conducted pursuant to WAC 197-11410(1)(b), not RCW 43.21C.420. 6 A nominal lead agency is the public agency responsible for complying with the duties of lead agency (WAC 197-11-944) and complying with SEPA's procedural requirements (WAC 197-11-758). 7 The Responsible Official is the designated person within the City of Tacoma's Planning and Development Services Department that is responsible for compliance with the SEPA lead agency procedural responsibilities. 8 Pursuant to WAC 197-11-420, Ian Munce will work under the direction of Peter Huffman. June 14