The Pierce County Council requested the Planning and Public Works Department, through Resolution 2023-69, to initiate code amendments to increase flexible State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) exemption thresholds for single and multiple housing projects. The purpose is to support recommended actions in the Housing Action Strategy to increase affordable housing in the county. Resolution 2023-69 also requested the Department to prepare code amendments to ensure historical and cultural resource review and protections are in place in order to raise SEPA exemptions.
There are several federally recognized tribes who have usual and accustomed treaty rights in Pierce County. Tribes are sovereign nations who have rights and interests both on and off reservations within Pierce County. Local governments must recognize these rights, interests and values at the local planning level. The protection of historical and cultural resources is integral to Pierce County’s ancestral and present-day identity.
The Department has embarked on a process to amend code to ensure cultural resources are protected in unincorporated Pierce County. The intent is to ensure these resources are identified at the earliest stage of the permitting process. This ensures not only preservation of these resources but reduces costs and delays during construction of a project.