333 S. Meridian, Puyallup, WA 98371 - 253-841-4321

City of Puyallup

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AI- 3546   4.    
City Council Agenda
Meeting Date: 03/05/2013  
Subject:    Chen - Current Use/Open Space valuation request
Presenter: Lindsey Sehmel
Department: Development Services  

Recommended Action
Conduct first reading of an ordinance approving a current use/open space taxation request pertaining to a 20-acre parcel of property located in the vicinity of 21st Street SE- 19th Avenue SE (Chen property), and authorize the City Manager to sign and transmit implementing documentation to Pierce County.
State law allows “current use” special tax valuation processes, whereby property owners can petition local jurisdictions to receive a reduced property tax assessment for a ten-year period in exchange for retaining their land in a particular undeveloped state (e.g. open space, agriculture, timber). Three years ago, the owners of two unrelated properties in northeast and northwest Puyallup successfully petitioned to have their properties placed in this special valuation status. Participating property owners who withdraw from the program prior to completion of the ten-year period accrue property tax penalties.

This site, the Chen property, is one of two properties requesting similar special valuation status this year. This request involves a 20-acre undeveloped property zoned RS-10 and located in the vicinity of 21st Street SE and 19th Avenue SE, owned by Dr. Peter Chen. The review process involves both Pierce County (where the application is actually filed) and the City. Candidate properties must meet certain findings before the special tax status is granted; these findings are analyzed by County staff and then forwarded to the City for approval or denial (see attached Pierce County staff report). Per this procedure, the Pierce County Council has already reviewed this request and, on September 4, 2012, approved an ordinance to establish the special valuation. Puyallup's Planning Commission held a public hearing on the item at its December 5th, 2012 meeting.  No comments were received, and the Commission recommended approval 6-0. City Council action is now required to finalize this request.
Previous Actions (Discussions/Presentations)
This open space taxation item was noted in a City Manager's bi-weekly report in 2012. It was also included in the City Council-approved Planning Commission 2012 work program. As noted above, the Pierce County Council has already conducted its requisite review of the request and approved it.

Puyallup's Planning Commission held a public hearing on December 5, 2012 and made a formal recommendation to approve the request.

The Council initially discussed this item on February 5th, 2013, at which time questions and concerns were raised about the intentions of the new owner as far as clearing the property of dilapidated buildings and autos. Council declined to take action until more information was available.

Staff has since visited the site; recent photos of the property are attached to this agenda bill. These photos show that part of the property is being cleared and graded. This work is occurring on the 2.5 acres which are not part of the special tax valuation request. (See page 2 of the attached staff report, which explains that the southern 2.5 acres of the parcel ending 3027 is excluded from this request. The structures in question are located on part of the property.)

The area which is affected by the special tax valuation request is clear of debris and dangerous structures, and the property owner has not disturbed that area.

Summary of Proposal
The request is for a 20-acre, RS-10 zoned property located in the vicinity of 19th Avenue SE and 21st Street SE (Chen) to receive Open Space Tax Valuation.
The City Council may approve or deny the applicant's request for special tax valuation and forward its recommendation to Pierce County.

Fiscal Impact
Amount Budgeted:
Bid Amount:
City Funding Needed for Project:
Funds from Other Sources:
Ongoing Staff Costs:
Fiscal Impacts:
This program offers a ten-year tax reduction in property taxes for the subject property in exchange for the site being maintained in its current open space use. If approved, this change in valuation would essentially be revenue neutral to Puyallup as the very minor cumulative reduction in taxes would be shifted to other property owners within the taxing district.
Cover Memo
County Staff Report
Overview Map
Planning Commission 12/5/12 Minutes
Exhibit A
Feb 14th Site Photos

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