Parkland Incorporation Study

In 2022, the Legislature formally requested that the Washington State Department of Commerce study the impacts of incorporating the unincorporated communities of Fredrickson, Midland, North Clover Creek-Collins, Parkland, Spanaway, Summit-Waller, and Summit View into a single city.

Picture of map of proposed area.
Click on image to enlarge.

Incorporation Study Purpose

Commerce has been tasked by the Legislature to conduct a study on incorporating Fredrickson, Midland, North Clover Creek-Collins, Parkland, Spanaway, Summit-Waller and Summit View into a single city. The study must be conducted by a consultant and turned into a formal report to the Legislature before June of 2023. The study will incorporate existing data (where available) and evaluate the following community effects related to incorporation:

  • Local tax base effects
  • Crime effects
  • Homeless effects
  • Infrastructure effects
  • Public service effects
  • Behavioral health effects

What's Happening Now?

Commerce began the process in the fall of 2022 starting with a contract with Community Attributes, Inc. (CAI), a community and economic development consulting firm. CAI will conduct the study on behalf of Commerce, developing analysis and the report as well as an engagement plan. The final report is due to the Legislature by June 1, 2023.

The community engagement will kick off with several community meetings. While the primary intention is to have the consultant research and aid Commerce in delivering a report to the Legislature, we believe the communities in question should be aware of the information being gathered on their behalf. While the final report is for the Legislature, once aggregated, the data can be used by these communities in the future should they choose to pursue incorporation locally.

Upcoming Community Engagement Events

  • Mid-County Land Use Advisory Commission Meeting – December 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Mid-County Community Center, 10205 44th Ave East, Tacoma, WA
  • Parkland, Spanaway, Midland Land Use Advisory Commission Meeting – January 4, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. at SE Tacoma Community Center, 1614 99th Street East, Tacoma, WA.
  • Frederickson Land Use Advisory Commission Meeting – January 23, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. at the Pierce County Skills Center, 16117 Canyon Road East, Puyallup, WA.

Project Updates

As project deliverables and activities are completed you will find updates and resources here:

Project Deliverables and Timelines

The working draft schedule of activities and deliverables is as follows:

  • Community Group Meetings: study session presentation of introductory information to relevant Land Use Advisory Commissions (LUACs). (December – January, 2022 – 2023)
  • Information Sessions: Provide presentations of information, progress updates, survey and engagement findings, as well as draft in-progress report. (Spring, 2023)
  • Stakeholder Group Interviews: Interview key stakeholder groups, such as service providers, tribal government and others identified by Commerce, Pierce County or LUACs as needed to refine analysis. (Spring, 2023)
  • Online Survey: Input will be used to refine fiscal modeling and draft report. Topics covered may include priorities for residents and community preferences and perceptions of levels of service. (Spring, 2023)
  • Draft In-Progress Report (March, 2023)
  • Final Report (May, 2023)
  • Public Presentation(s): final presentations of the report to be determined. (Late May, 2023)

Resources

Legislative Proviso

A legislative proviso is a targeted appropriation/directive from the Legislature to a state agency for a specific purpose. The Parkland study proviso directed the Washington State Department of Commerce to hire a consultant to complete this study. 

Parkland Incorporation Study:

“$200,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2023 is provided solely for the department to contract with a consultant to study incorporating the unincorporated communities of Fredrickson, Midland, North Clover Creek-Collins, Parkland, Spanaway, Summit-Waller, and Summit View into a single city. The study must include, but not be limited to, the impacts of incorporation on the local tax base, crime, homelessness, infrastructure, public services, and behavioral health services, in the listed communities. The department must submit the study to the office of financial management and the appropriate committees of the legislature by June 1, 2023.”

Overview of Incorporation in Washington State

Under Washington law, an area can incorporate as a city if it meets the following parameters:

  • It has a minimum of 1,500 inhabitants. 
  • If the area is within five air miles, as the crow flies, of the boundaries of a city with a population of 15,000 or more, the area must have a minimum of 3,000 inhabitants.
  • An area within a county that plans under the Growth Management Act (RCW 36.70A), such as Pierce County, may incorporate only if it is located within a designated urban growth area.

The basic procedure to incorporate is set out in Chapter 35.02 RCW. The process includes:

  • Incorporation involves a defined set of steps, as outlined in Chapter’s 35 and 35A of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). 
  • A petition requirement: The petition must be signed by registered voters who reside within the boundaries of the proposed city equal in number to at least 10% of the number of voters residing within those boundaries. The incorporation vote will succeed if a majority of the votes cast are for incorporation.
  • No petition has been filed.
  • Review by a boundary review board or the county legislative body in counties without a board
  • An election
  • If the voters approve the proposed incorporation, a primary election to nominate candidates for city council (and a mayor in mayor-council cities) and then an election to select the city council must be held. The new city must officially incorporate at a date set by the initial city council and within 360 days of the incorporation election.
  • This study has been initiated for informational purposes only.
  • Additional Information on Incorporation:  MRSC Municipal Incorporation Guide (2016) (PDF)

This study IS NOT an incorporation process. The process explained above is the only method of creating a new city in Washington state. A proposal to incorporate a new city cannot be filed or approved by a county government, state agency or the Legislature. It must be initiated by the petition of one or more resident voters, and must be voted upon by the residents of the area proposed for incorporation.

Annexation versus Incorporation

Annexation is not the same thing as incorporation. It is a legislative action by which an existing city adds territory beyond its existing city limits. For more information on annexation, please refer to the resources on the Municipal Research and Services Center’s Annexation webpage.

Key topics

Comments and Questions?

In addition to the upcoming community engagement activities, comments and requests for project updates can be submitted to the project manager,
Michaela Jellicoe, Senior Economist, at  connect@communityattributes.com.

For inquiries about the legislative proviso and Commerce’s role in the project,
please contact Keri Sallee, AICP Senior Planner
 at Keri.Sallee@commerce.wa.gov or 564-200-2338.