Gig Harbor planning commission collaborates on future of the city

Staff writerMay 21, 2014 

Planning for Gig Harbor’s future is underway.

On Thursday night, the city hosted an open house before a planning commission meeting.

The topic of discussion was the city’s comprehensive plan, Gig Harbor 2030, a visioning timeline for the city.

City planners and members of the commission opened a conference room at the civic center and displayed documents on the white boards.

Large boards with stickers asked questions of the visitors: What matters most in the future? How do they want to be informed about plans and happenings?

Of the visitors that came to the open house, most wanted to be notified by email. Others preferred mailings, newspaper or city websites.

The open house is the first of many steps in the Gig Harbor 2030 project.

Senior planner Lindsey Sehmel said the initial open house is a way for the planning office to reach out to city residents; a way to get them involved.

The next open house on the plan update will be on April 13, 2015, a little less than a year from now.

Between the open houses will be several other opportunities for public comment. Proposed dates include three public hearings in front of the planning commission and one public hearing in front of the city council. After the council has public comment, the plan is open for adoption or revisions by the city.

Under the Washington State Growth Management Act, all jurisdictions in the fastest growing counties are required to have a comprehensive plan and do periodic reviews, Sehmel said.

At the open house, the cover pages of past plans were hung up on the whiteboard. The original plan dates back to 1965.

The final date for public input — and the only hearing in front of the council — is April 13, 2015.

Tentative dates for public hearings in front of the planning commission are:

 • August 7, 2014.

 • October 2, 2014.

 • March 5, 2015.

The timeline to 2030 mainly consists of required elements that need updates due to changes in state law since the last periodic review.

Public input is also required by state law.

The comprehensive plan is broken out into elements, similar to chapters of a book, but the elements are more distinct and relate to the city’s operations.

Some elements are required by state law, while others are optional and developed by the city. Some changes will be made to optional elements, but not much, Sehmel said.

One example of an optional element is a chapter named “The Harbor,” which had its own process of refinement and public input.

Sehmel directed interested visitors to sign up for emails and monitor the planning commission’s website for updates.

To be added to the city’s email list for this project, email Cindy Andrews at andrewsc@cityofgigharbor.net or visit gigharborplanning.com.

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