Enhanced Services Facilities and Group Homes

photo of a senior woman in a wheelchair looking out a window
We want your opinion!
The County is experiencing more interest from health service providers for locating new and emerging types of group homes, as well as mental health facilities called Enhanced Services Facilities (RCW 70.97). These places provide a combination of housing and daily care for residents. Enhanced Services Facilities may include residents with mental disabilities who pose a risk and threat to themselves or others.

The County Council established a temporary moratorium on locating Enhanced Services Facilities while appropriate regulations are developed in consultation with the community and stakeholders.

We want your help in planning for Enhanced Services Facilities and Group Homes. Please visit the online open house using the button below, then send us your comments and questions. Feedback from you and the community will be important in shaping this effort, and every comment will be provided to the Pierce County Planning Commission and Pierce County Council for consideration in making their decision.

Visit the Online Open House
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Get Involved
Submit comments and questions
Submit written comments by July 27, 2020
Comments and Questions
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Attend public meetings
Joint Land Use Advisory Commission Meeting (Virtual)
July 8, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.
Meeting Information:
Email or call (253) 798-3226
Boards and Commisions webpage

Planning Commission Hearing (Virtual)
July 28, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.
Meeting Information:
Email or call (253) 798-3946
Planning Commission webpage

County Council Hearing
Location TBD
Questions and Answers
This section will be updated with new questions and answers as we receive them.
No. The proposed regulations would apply to future permit applications.
The proposal would apply parking minimums for Enhanced Services Facilities: One space per four beds plus one space per two employees.
These maps correspond to Pierce County’s existing zoning areas, which trace the property lines within each area.
All jurisdictions in Washington are required by the State to allow ESFs somewhere. Pierce County hasn’t received any applications for ESF projects in unincorporated Pierce County at this time. There are currently four other ESFs in operation: Everett WA, Spokane WA, Spokane Valley WA, and Vancouver WA.
Level 5 ESFs are proposed for only urban commercial and mixed-use areas due to the expected need for urban services, and much of the unincorporated county is rural and/or lacks major commercial areas.

In contrast, the central part of Pierce County has the most commercial and mixed-use urban areas, and these larger areas are likely the only ones with adequate separation from sensitive uses like schools and childcare centers.
The State of Washington legally limits ESFs to 16 beds, and the proposed regulations model that framework. If the state expands the size limitation at some point, then the regulations may need to be changed.
No. Adult Family Homes will continue to be allowed.
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For updates about this, and other planning projects.
Staff Contact
Erik Jaszewski, Associate Planner
Send a message or call (253) 798-3752