After about two years of meetings, discussions and debates, the Key Peninsula Community Planning Board is ready to wrap up its work on a draft plan that will impact development on the Key Peninsula for the next 20 years.

The board is expected to discuss the last portion of the plan, commercial design standards, either in January or February. Pierce County hired the architectural firm BCRA to come up with proposed solutions based on input from the community. Only about two dozen community members turned out for the six-hour “design charrette” meeting sponsored by the county in December —a lower than expected turnout.

Andrea Pope, owner of M&A Pizza, presents the ideas her group came up with during the design charrette hosted by Pierce County Planning and Land Services at the Vaughn Civic Center as part of the Key Peninsula Community Planning Board’s land-use planning discussions. Photo by Rodika Tollefson

Participants were divided into three groups, which discussed various ideas about what Key Peninsula’s commercial centers should — or should not — look like. Some of the recurring ideas included pedestrian-friendly amenities (such as common areas), use of natural materials, maintaining individual identities for each commercial area, and central signage.

BCRA will include the ideas into an “existing and desired conditions report,” according to Mike Krueger, county planner who has been overseeing the development of the Key Peninsula Community Plan. “The report will recommend design solutions including polices and regulatory strategies for implementation that will be considered by the CPB when we meet again,” he said.

The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 17, but due to the holidays the exact agenda will not be determined until closer to the meeting and will depend on how much progress BCRA makes by that time.

In addition to the report examining current and proposed standards, the consultant will prepare a feasibility analysis of the proposed standards, and it will be up to the community planning board to determine how the recommendations should be implemented, and whether they should be mandatory or voluntary.

The Key Peninsula Community Plan includes sections discussing environmental, land-use, economic development, transportation and community character policies. The community board has been meeting since September 2004, although some representatives, who were appointed by the Pierce County executive, have not attended meetings regularly. The completed draft plan will be forwarded to the Pierce County Planning Commission, which in turn will send its recommendations to the county council for final approval. A community open house and several public hearings will be scheduled before the plan is adopted.