Yes, the project must comply with all applicable county, state, federal and environmental laws.
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We believe that one of greatest causes of homelessness is a profound, catastrophic loss of family and a healthy community. That’s why housing for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness should do more than just provide a roof and a bed. Our village will develop a community with supportive services and amenities to help address an individual’s relational needs, empower them to build relationships with others, and experience restoration within a broader community.
The per unit cost will be about half the cost of typical public housing and most of the revenue needed for the project will come from private donations, not taxpayers. For every homeless person lifted permanently off the streets, there is a significant savings in the costs of law enforcement and medic contacts and emergency room visits.
The Tacoma Rescue Mission will own and operate the village.
Yes, the entrance will be controlled. The village will be fenced, a surveillance system will be in place, proactive staff and volunteer residents will engage residents at the individual level, dedicated security staff will monitor the grounds 24/7, and the area outside the community will be monitored as well. The most effective means of ensuring a safe environment will be the pride residents take in their neighborhoods.
To live in the village, residents will be expected to pay rent, be a good neighbor, and obey the law.
Residents will have onsite a) mental health and addiction recovery treatment, b) job training and employment opportunities, c) case management, d) volunteers and staff living alongside residents in each neighborhood to engage formerly homeless residents and build community.
There is sufficient dry land (about 27 acres) on which to build the village. Over 58 acres will not be developed, including wetlands. We will comply with all federal, state and local land use and wetland regulations to protect the habitat for the wildlife in this area.
We recognize some may be concerned about property values because residents of the village will be formerly homeless. However, residents will choose to live at the village, be given many opportunities for personal transformation, and must comply with the law, pay rent and be good neighbors. With the strong focus on community, and staff engaging residents, we believe it will be as safe as Community First! Village in Austin, the model our village is following. According to the Austin CFV website: “Crime statistics for the three-mile area surrounding Community First! Village show a dramatic contrast to what we experience in our neighborhood.” https://mlf.org/faqs
The entrance will be controlled by a manned security gate, the village will be fenced, a monitored surveillance system will be in place, proactive staff and volunteer residents will engage residents at the individual level, dedicated security staff will monitor the grounds 24/7, and the area outside the grounds will be monitored as well.
Persons living on the streets of Spanaway will be prioritized for the first 50 microhomes, so in fact the village should make things better. We all should want individuals experiencing homelessness out of encampments and off the streets and living instead in the structured, accountable, and restorative environment of the village.
We have listened to the community and agree the village will be better served by sewer. We changed the proposal and the entire village will be connected to the nearby sewer line.
The village is near busy Pacific Ave and will be served by a shuttle van to take residents to services and to the nearby Pierce Transit bus stop and transit center a few minutes away. A behavioral health and primary care clinic for those insured by Medicaid is less than 5 minutes from the village, and shopping is less than 10 minutes from the village.
Potential resident applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis taking into account last known address, duration of time spent homeless, disability, veteran status, and criminal record. For those with a criminal background, the review team will consider multiple factors, including nature of crimes committed, rehabilitation efforts, engagement with therapeutic resources, etc. We are deeply committed to the safety and security of the community within and surrounding the village. The application review team will include a member with extensive law enforcement experience to advise the process.
The County’s residential density provisions allow the number of contemplated microhomes and will not violate zoning laws.
The first phase contemplates 150 formerly homeless residents, and 21 volunteer residents. The second phase will house approximately 100 formerly homeless and 7 volunteer residents. Volunteer residents are not formerly homeless individuals but those who agree to live alongside, engage, and help build community with formerly homeless residents.
The housing will not be free to residents. All are expected to pay rent and can work onsite to earn a dignified wage to help with the cost of rent.
The village will take several years to complete and likely a minimum of 6 years to reach full residential capacity. We plan by year six, 250 formerly homeless residents and 28 staff and volunteer residents to help build community. We will use approximately 27 of the 85 acres.
Please get in touch with us at https://www.piercecountywa.gov/village
Thank you! Please sign up and stay informed as the project moves forward. There will be volunteer, in-kind, and regular donation opportunities in the future. Additional information can be found at:
Last fall the County took a vote to set aside $22 million of American Rescue Plan Act dollars for its own community village in the 2022-2023 Biennial Budget. This allocation was to help cover the costs of land acquisition, infrastructure, and pre-design, and assumes substantial private and other funding for the construction of microhomes and other structures. The final proposal has been submitted to Council, which is expected to vote whether to release the $22 million in November 2022.
To build sufficient microhomes, operate onsite services and employment opportunities, and provide a secure and safe environment, we will need at least 20 acres. The K-Mart is approximately 11.7 acres and so cannot accommodate the necessary services.
Parking will be provided onsite for residents and staff based on existing county code parking requirements. A traffic study will be prepared in connection with the conditional use permitting process and the village will comply with any specific requirements imposed by the hearing examiner reviewing the permit.
We have met with JBLM representatives and they concluded, as do we, that the site is not within the McChord take off and landing flight areas, is outside of the airport clear zone, and does not produce levels of noise which might negatively impact residents. The residential area of the site is far removed from busy Spanaway Loop Rd and quiet and relaxing. Surrounded by woods, we believe the village will be therapeutic for residents and contribute to their restoration.
No that is not correct. The DNR some may be referring to was in connection with a proposed code change that would permit shared housing villages in areas zoned Residential Resource. The DNR does not pertain to the proposed PC Village project itself. When the project permit application is filed later this year, SEPA review will be triggered, which includes reports and studies regarding whether the project is DNR or an Environmental Impact Statement should be required.
Here is a more detailed explanation about SEPA and the proposed code change from the County’s Planning Department:
Overall, SEPA rules are defined by state law and Ecology’s administrative rules. Unless exempt, both non-project such as development regulation amendments and projects are required to conduct a SEPA review and issue a determination. The review of materials and determination is made by a Lead Agency and SEPA Responsible Official who are responsible for compliance with procedural requirements. It is common across the state that cities and counties are the lead agency within their jurisdiction and designate a responsible official for non-project and project types. Any modification to proposed actions are subject to additional SEPA review.
The code amendment to Shared Housing Villages is considered a non-project SEPA action. For project applications such as a Shared Housing Village at a particular site, at the time of application submittal project-level SEPA review and determination would be triggered.
For the code amendment that was before the Planning Commission, the County’s Responsible SEPA Official issued a Determination of Nonsignificance (DNS) for the non-project action. This DNS was issued on December 6, 2022 and had an associated comment period. At the January 10, 2023 Planning Commission deliberation, they recommended modification to the proposal. This modification would trigger additional review by the SEPA Responsible Official. For more information on the code amendment, please visit this website:
For more information on the code amendment, please visit this website:
Residential Use Code Updates
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