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APPENDIX A GROWTH MANAGEMENT ACT OF STATE OF WASHINGTON The following is a brief review of the State of Washington's Growth Management Act (GMA) of 1990, its requirements, how those requirements are to be implemented, how policies and regulations concerning the control of development in volcanic hazard zones will be effected, and some of the potential problems with respect to volcanic hazards and growth in Pierce County, which together with King County, would bear the brunt of most hazardous events at Mount Rainier. On April 1, 1990, the State of Washington passed the GMA, requiring those counties and municipalities meeting certain population trends to develop comprehensive growth management plans. Under the act, unincorporated Pierce County is required to adopt a comprehensive growth management plan dealing with nine elements (Environment and Critical Areas, Land Use, Rural Areas, Housing, Transportation, Utilities, Capital Facilities, Economic Development, and Community Plans) by July 1, 1993, and to have regulations in place implementing the plan by July 1, 1994. In addition, the 18 municipalities within Pierce County are required to produce their own growth management plans. All 19 plans and development regulations affecting Pierce County must be consistent, so that the town of Orting, for example, does not treat a growth management issue differently from the way unincorporated Pierce County, or the city of Puyallup, treats it. The GMA requires public participation in the design of the comprehensive plan. The act specifies that a Citizen's Advisory Group (CAG), consisting of residents representing various interests identified in the GMA, be appointed by the elected county executive. In Pierce County, the
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CAG consists of 31 appointed citizens who represent interests ranging from agriculture to utilities. The CAG's responsibility is to recommend policies to the County Council that will be used as guidelines for writing the regulations and ordinances to implement the growth management plan. The CAG's policy recommendations are based on issues identified by the GMA, by the county government, by Pierce County citizens in a countywide survey, and in public workshops conducted by the CAG and by members of Advisory Committees on Elements (ACEs). For unincorporated Pierce County there are nine ACEs, each dealing with one of the nine elements. The ACEs are chaired by a CAG member, and their membership consists of citizens who are concerned with various issues. The CAG makes final policy recommendations for approval by the Pierce County Council. At any step in this process, changes in recommended policy can occur. One of the responsibilities of the ACE on Environment and Critical Areas is recommending growth management policies to deal with volcanic hazards in unincorporated Pierce County. The ACE members who considered volcanic hazard policies consisted of approximately 20 individuals, including two professional geologists. The Environment and Critical Areas ACE developed the following working guidelines with respect to geologic hazards: Residents of Pierce County live in areas where they are exposed to various natural hazards which to varying degrees endanger lives and properties. The primary objective of the Environment and Critical Areas ACE with respect to these natural hazards is to recommend growth management policies which minimize this risk to the lives, property, and resources of the citizens of Pierce County by: 1) using the best available data and methodologies to identify, evaluate, and delineate hazardous areas; 2) informing present and potential property owners as to the existence and nature of the specific natural hazards which endanger their lives and property through written disclosure prior to
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property sale, through deed and plat notification, and through public education programs; 3) directing development away from areas subject to catastrophic, life-threatening natural hazards where the hazard cannot be mitigated; 4) requiring appropriate standards for site development and for the design of structures in areas subject to natural hazards where the effects of such hazards can be mitigated; 5) establishing land use practices in hazardous areas where development does not cause or exacerbate natural processes which endanger the lives, property, and resources of the citizens of Pierce County. The best available data at the time that the ACE considered the issue of volcanic hazards (July 1992) was from Crandell and Mullineaux (1967) and Crandell (1971, 1973). The new study by Scott and others (1992) on debris flows from Mount Rainier was not available. In the course of this assessment, the ACE recognized the need for more and better data on the nature, frequency, extent, and areas effected by volcanic events at Mount Rainier. The publications by Crandell and Mullineaux clearly show that the most significant volcanic hazard confronting the residents of Pierce County are debris flows in the Puyallup, Carbon, White, and Nisqually River valleys. Although the Crandell-Mullineaux papers lack adequate information on recurrence intervals and probabilities for various-sized debris flows, the ACE agreed that the maximum event for planning consideration was a debris flow similar in size to the Electrondebris flow, as described in Crandell (1971). After much debate and discussion the ACE unanimously recommended the following: The only significant volcanic hazard affecting Pierce Co. are lahars and glacier runs from Mount Rainier. The volcanic hazard area, based on the work of Crandell (1971), Crandell & Mullineaux (1967), Crandell (1973, USGS Map 1-836, Potential Hazards, Mount Rainier Washington), consists of the area rated at moderate and high risk on USGS Map I-836 and of the Carbon River
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Valley based on work in progress by Pringle (Washington DNR), Scott (USGS) & Vallance (USGS). Committee Recommendations (unanimous approval): Prohibit the construction of critical facilities in the volcanic hazards area. Require notification by the county of the volcanic hazards for property situated in the volcanic hazards area on all property deeds and recorded plats. Establish an educational program to educate the citizens of Pierce County as to volcanic hazards. Discourage all uses of the land in the volcanic hazards area except agriculture and recreation. Prohibit any further expansion of public facilities in the volcanic hazards area (trunk lines going through the volcanic hazards area are allowed). Explore creative incentives/alternatives for public acquisition of property in volcanic hazard areas (transfer of development rights). Refer discussion of warning systems and evacuation plans to the Pierce County Emergency Management Department. Upon submitting these recommendations to the CAG (September 14, 1992), several CAG members were concerned about the word ''Prohibit" in recommendations 1 and 5 and asked if the ACE did not mean "Limit." The CAG was assured that the "Prohibit" was intended and was to be applied to areas in which the probability for inundation by a debris flow during a 100-year period was 9.5 percent or greater (Scott and others, 1992). This issue remains unresolved by the CAG and the Pierce County Council as of April 1993. Another problem concerns existing development and future needs in the upper Nisqually Valley in the Ashford-Elbe areas, where the probability for inundation by a debris flow is substantially greater than 9.5
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percent in a 100-year period. As a gateway to Mount Rainier National Park, the upper Nisqually Valley is the most intensively used outdoor recreational area in Pierce County. The hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting the Ashford-Elbe areas sorely tax the capacity of the communities to fill their needs. The CAG needs to resolve the dilemma of serving the needs of these visitors-for example rest areas serviced by sewer systems-while avoiding intense development such as that at Yosemite in an area which could be inundated by a debris flow with less than a half-hour warning. A warning system such as flow detectors or seismometers telemetered to sirens in Ashford and Elbe and an emergency evacuation plan are clearly need. Because the GMA requires consistency among 19 comprehensive plans for Pierce County (unincorporated Pierce County and 18 municipalities within it), additional major problems can be easily anticipated. For example, the town of Orting, which lies within the volcanic hazard zone defined above, plans expansion. Orting is responsible for preparing its own comprehensive plan. There may be great difficulty in arriving at consistency between the unincorporated Pierce County and Orting comprehensive plans. Pierce County is expected to grow from its present population of 580,000 to about 740,000 by the year 2010. To say that there is intense economic pressure to provide homes, schools, and other needed facilities for many of these people by developing the volcanic hazard area in Pierce County is an understatement. Individuals with financial interests in seeing that this development occurs are well represented on the CAG and Pierce County Council. Owners of property within the volcanic hazard zone have no reluctance in exercising their political and legal rights in protecting their financial interests. There will be strong pressure from various groups to substantially weaken the recommendations cited above.
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