This is not for the weak of heart or slightly sleepy of head
There are strategically placed "bail outs" for you along the way. Feel free to use them as neccessary.

Back to Puyallup's award For those of you who are already intimidated by all the writing here's one now!

Isn't it sad to see how quickly democracy and the values of the Constitution get pushed aside by the people at City Hall in the name of "sound municipal policy"? Since the Puyallup City Council limits public comment at council meetings to just three minutes I'll have to submit this story to the editor since it takes about 6 minutes to tell. Consider it to be a parable, but the city's actions can be well documented.

We have a piece of property in unincorporated Pierce County outside the city limits of Puyallup. We don't feel it is appropriately zoned as single family residential on one acre sites since it directly borders highway 512 and several commercial businesses. We call up our elected representatives in the County and invite them to come look at this property to see if they would be open to rezoning it. After visiting, they agree that since there is never a semi truck not going by and because of the noise issues from the freeway they would consider a rezone.
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As we drive our big yellow public notice sign into the ground our neighbors from the six-plex apartments, the commercial nursery, the machine shop, and the storage units that have one of the tallest cell phone towers in the county all come out to ask what we are doing. We tell them we want to have our property rezoned by the county to "mixed use". They ask what it is now and we tell them it is zoned as single family residential homes on one acre sites. They are amazed and tell us they thought it was mixed use all along. They agree it would be better used as commercial.

We then go to meet with the County Planning Committee at an open public meeting. The planning committee listens to anyone who wishes to speak including a representative from the City of Puyallup if they chose to send someone. If somebody decided to fly up from Florida and complain about all the commercial development alongside freeways the committee would listen. Any citizen or government representative has the right to speak at this open public meeting. The planning committee, after listening to all public testimony, agrees that this property might be more appropriately zoned as mixed use and sends the County Planning Department off to study this issue and make certain that nobody is missing anything, that all laws are being followed, and that there wouldn't be any negative impacts.

In the meantime, we move forward with our proposal to the County Planning Commission. These folks are citizens who volunteer their time to oversee the growth in the County. It requires a great deal of time. We present our case to the commission at another open public meeting which anyone can attend, including any representatives from the City of Puyallup. If someone chose to show up at this meeting and read poetry, they could.
I can't choke this down anymore. Back to Puyallup's award

Over a year and half after we start this process (there aren't any snap decisions being made here), we go back to the planning committee. They listen to the planning department, the planning commission, and anyone else who wishes to speak at this open public meeting. And then at one more open public meeting the County Planning Committee drops its gavel, and declares that this property should be rezoned as mixed use.

But the City of Puyallup says WE DON'T CARE. We don't care what your neighbors say, we don't care what your elected representatives say, we don't care what your planning commission says, and we don't care what your planning committee says. WE DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR STINKING DEMOCRATIC PROCESS. WE control the water. Therefore, you WILL do what WE tell you to do. You WILL put in single family homes on one acre sites. You or anyone who owns that property WILL agree to be annexed by the City. You WILL sign any petition we tell you to sign. You WILL agree to any Local Improvement District we tell you to agree to. You WILL actively promote annexation in the area and not speak out against the City of Puyallup. You WILL sign over irrevocable power of attorney to the City in order for us to accomplish any of these requirements if and when we should decide to annex the area. If you do not agree to our terms, you may not build on your land.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the City of Puyallup had so much to offer that it didn't have to strong arm it's annexation process, that people would actually still be allowed to vote or sign petitions for annexation because they wanted to become part of the City? That the City didn't have to use water service to coerce developers and citizens to accept its form of government? Wouldn't it be wonderful if the City showed as much respect for democracy as all the people who have died fighting for it, or the people who wrote our Constitution? Wouldn't it be wonderful if the citizens of this country didn't have to fight off petty dictatorships that seek to control without representing the people it seeks to control? After all, people outside the city limits don't vote for council members in the city. In this country we like to think we are still a democracy, Puyallup's actions certainly prove otherwise.

By the way, if the city limited public comment to 30 seconds, they wouldn't have to listen at all.

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