South Hill Community Plan Update

On October 29, 2020, Pierce County Council approved four community plans updates to the areas of Frederickson, Mid-County, Parkland-Spanaway-Midland and South Hill. The updates intend to address projected population growth over the next 20 years by establishing “Centers and Corridors” in each unincorporated area. Components of the updates include:

  • Zoning changes which accommodate higher-density housing to support homeownership with affordable housing options 
  • Central gathering places for people to shop and do business 

Read the full press release here.

The South Hill community continues to grow.
Population has doubled in the past 25 years—from 26,944 in 1990 to 53,224 in 2015. The growth has included new business development along Meridian Avenue and new housing developments, especially in the south end of the Community Plan area.

Widening of 94th Avenue East from 112th Street East to 136th Street East was completed to alleviate congestion; however traffic congestion continues to be a major concern to the community.

Descriptions of the proposed changes to the South Hill Community Plan are listed below by section. The proposed updates include other topics, such as the history of the plan area and information about demographics, development patterns and the environment.
South Hill Housing Trends Graph
Major Zoning Changes—South Hill
photo of Sunrise Village
Centers & Corridors rezone:
The existing zoning along the Meridian Avenue corridor is proposed to change under the proposed Centers and Corridors concept. Find more details about this concept and proposed zones on the Centers and Corridors webpage.

Two new Towne Center (TCTR) zones will replace the Urban Village (UV) zones:
  • Longston Towne Center: Meridian Avenue between 126th Street East and 136th Street East; and
  • Sunrise Village Towne Center: Meridian Avenue between 152nd Street East and 162nd Street East
The Towne Center zone would allow these areas to continue to grow as central gathering places for the community to access services and amenities. These proposed changes would also allow additional housing options such as apartments and townhomes. The maximum density is limited to 25 dwelling units per acre until Bus Rapid Transit is available.

Areas along Meridian between 120th Street East and 176th Street East not proposed as Towne Center zones would be zoned Urban Corridor, a mixed residential and commercial zone. 

In the same area, properties one-to-two blocks off of Meridian Avenue would be zoned Neighborhood Corridor, a mixed residential zone.
photo of a neighborhood
High-Density Single-Family rezone:
Two areas would be rezoned as High-Density Single-Family (HSF), which has been to allow small-lot, detached single family development, townhouse-style development and neighborhood-scale commercial and civic uses. The zone allows 6-18 houses per acre. Areas affected are:
  • At the northeast corner of 128th Street East and 86th Avenue East (across from Rogers High School)—is currently zoned as Moderate Density Single Family (MSF), allowing 4-6 houses per acre.
  • At the northwest corner of 122nd St E and Shaw Road E—is currently zoned as Moderate-High Density Residential (MHR), a zone that allows apartment complexes.
Additional small-area rezones are proposed and can be found on the interactive map on our website.
Community Character and Design—South Hill
Standards for buildings and site design—such as architectural features and landscaping—will stay the same in the South Hill area. However, zones that fall within the Centers and Corridors concept would be subject to new design standards.

The current standards that require special amenities, such as specific street trees, benches, garbage cans, and bicycle racks, will apply to all new developments within the proposed Centers and Corridors zones.
Economic Development—South Hill
Under the proposed recommendations, the South Hill area would become a Potential Incorporation Area. A majority of the population in the area would have to vote in support of incorporation in order for it to become a city. A call for this vote would have to be driven by the community.

The update encourages job growth in Central Pierce County with a goal of supporting family-wage jobs in our communities.
Facilities and Services—South Hill
photo of a trail
The facilities and services chapter includes discussion and policies related to those services desired by the community, such as schools, law enforcement and sewers. The most significant changes to the policies are related to parks.

The proposed updates encourage Pierce County to continue to expand parks and trails in the Community Plan area, including the Cross-County Commuter/Pipeline Trail that would connect cyclists from the Community Plan area west to Tacoma and east to the Foothills Trail. The updates prioritize construction of trails throughout the community that link recreation opportunities with neighborhoods and schools.

The plan supports acquisition of additional areas to serve the recreational needs of the community. Acquisition of new park properties could be paid for by the newly-adopted Park Impact Fee.
Transportation—South Hill
The proposed updates to the Community Plan build on the transportation policies contained in Pierce County’s Transportation Plan. The Transportation Plan sets priorities for transportation improvements over the next 20 years. The proposed changes to the Community Plan include policies relating to road, transit and pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

These policies call on the county to:
  • Prioritize north-south road connections within the plan area to alleviate congestion along Meridian Avenue. For example, there are proposals to extend 70th Avenue East, 86th Avenue East and 94th Avenue East to 176th Street East.
  • Encourage Pierce Transit to invest in express transit service along Meridian Avenue from the southern part of the Community Plan area near 176th Street East to the Puyallup Sounder Station.
  • Invest in safe pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, especially where they connect people to schools, parks and the proposed Towne Centers.
The proposed updates also include a list of transportation project priorities. The highest priority projects are listed below.
South Hill Premier and High Priority Transportation Projects
Complete list of transportation project priorities for all plans