There's some potentially big news for District 1. At Monday's Community Development Committee, we received a presentation from the County's Planning and Public Works Department on a study the County began in 2023 that explores the fiscal effects of South Hill as a stand-alone city or an area of annexation. This is an informational study only.
The study considers the feasibility of incorporation of the South Hill Incorporation Area within the Pierce County Urban Growth Area (UGA). This study also provides a comparison to annexation by the City of Puyallup. Essentially, the study explored two options: South Hill becoming a city or Puyallup annexing portions of South Hill over time to add to the City of Puyallup boundaries.
For some context, the study comprises approximately 19 square miles in Pierce County’s UGA immediately south of Puyallup and is home to approximately 64,800 residents.
The County has released a draft version of the South Hill Governance Study. The study looks at what would happen if the South Hill area became a new city or was annexed into the City of Puyallup. Your voice in this is important, so I encourage you to take a look at the preliminary report here, and then submit your comments by Oct. 8, 2023
So, What is Incorporation?
Incorporation is when a community identified by specific boundaries votes to become a city. When a community chooses to incorporate, it usually happens within a community with some shared vision or goals for the area's future development. Incorporating means the community will:
- Create a system of government with accountable public officials tasked with decision-making.
- Control local decisions through this government over public services, land use, community planning and city-level business regulations.
After incorporation, they become a political boundary within a county. They can make certain decisions around public safety, regulations, taxation, infrastructure, and building. The state still sets some aspects of this, and the county sets other items. Still, the elected representatives work with the community for a large part of this work to set up a vision and path for this new city.
If you want more information, this report from the Municipal Research and Services Center takes a deep dive into the ways to incorporate and the differences between the levels of government. They are an excellent resource that I have used many times to learn about the workings of our government.
A proposal to incorporate a new city cannot be filed or approved by a county government, state agency, or the Legislature. It must be initiated by the petition of one or more resident voters and must be voted upon by the residents of the area proposed for incorporation.
Learn about Incorporation
What About Annexation?
Annexation is when a specific area is added to an already existing jurisdiction. In the case of this study, annexation would mean the study area would become part of Puyallup. Annexation can occur in many ways, whether by voter referendum, petition, or ordinance by the County Council and the applicable city council. No matter the method though, residents, property owners, members of the public, and other stakeholders will have opportunities for participation and involvement as part of any annexation proposal.
Thanks for reading, and please take a moment over the next few days to review the study and share your perspective. Your voice matters!