Development Agreements & Public Process

I just read the mostly well thought out article (Councilman Paul Kadzik) in Gig Harbor Life, and I would like to point out an important aspect that perhaps is misunderstood. 

Back when Costco and the YMCA were subject to Development Agreements, all public process was held for both City of Gig Harbor Comprehensive Plan and Zoning adjustments prior to the City Council taking action on the Development Agreement amendments to the Pre-annexation agreement that formed Gig Harbor North. Similarly, all Comp Plan and Zoning aspects of the original Gig Harbor North Pre-annexation Agreement (a Development Agreement), were settled before any agreement came before the public and the City Council.

One reason these dynamic annexation and development changes (in Gig Harbor North) fostered little public anxiety was because of the extensive public process that preceded the actual Development Agreements. 

The Council of that day understood, or at least acceded, to good public process as part of Council obligation to maintain a healthy level of adversariality in the community.

The current Development Agreement process tends to put the cart-before-the-horse; bypassing the usual Comprehensive Plan and Zoning public processes, fostering an unhealthy degree of adversariality in the community... 

Because changes that are broad and pervasive (usually the arena of Comp Plan designations, Zoning, and Design Review) can occur relatively abruptly without extensive, transparent discussion before the public. This makes people think, not too surprisingly, that things are being cooked-up in the back room.

Your article makes me think you believe that the largest population of citizens we've seen at a Gig Harbor public meeting was just there to protest the Cheney proposal. This is definitively not true. Citizens maybe mixed the two up a lot (Cheney and Katke), but I contend most of the people were there because they suspected, and now believe, that their mayor and city council are behaving like rascals. 

I think they have this opinion because the City Council, with respect to Development Agreements and other public processes like Visioning, over the last seven years, has progressively abandoned long-standing tenets of good public process. 

One of the basic notions of good public process that the current Development Agreement process violates is separating comprehensive planning and zoning revisions from specific development projects. 

There is not much difference between spot zoning and the Cheney proposal, and our citizenry is appropriately sensitive to this.

I think the City Council should think about more than just "notice" with respect to the Development Agreement process. I think the Development Agreement process, even if legal, is not smart.

Mark Hoppen

The next DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS meeting is: 

Plng & Blg Committee   Mon - Mar 20, 2017 - 5:30 pm

Gig Harbor Civic Center | 3510 Grandview Street

The meeting will focus on the Public Input Process for Development Agreements. Public Comment will be allowed. (Committee Councilmembers: Paul Kadzik | Steve Ekberg | Rahna Lovrovich)