KPAC – a communication link with Pierce County

Sara Thompson

Have you wondered how to let Pierce County officials know about your concerns or ideas for improving life in our rural community? The Key Peninsula Land Use Advisory Commission (KPAC) is working to open a better two-way channel of communication, according to chair Don Swensen.

KPAC was established in 2008. In April 2014 a two-year pilot program expanded the role of KPAC.

An ordinance passed by the county council expanded its role beyond land use and development, and modified the function of KPAC to “focus on communication between all county departments and Key Peninsula residents, property owners and business owners regarding significant issues affecting the community…including but not limited to land use, environmental regulations, infrastructure, schools, transportation improvements, and public safety.”

As a result of that ordinance, four directors of the Key Peninsula Community Council (KPC) were appointed to the KPAC in addition to those from the community at large. The pilot project ends in April but is expected to be renewed, and, in fact, Swensen plans to expand the role of KPAC.

“We meet monthly and want to adopt the policy of being the conduit between residents and the Pierce County Council for issues relevant to the health, safety and well-being of the Key Peninsula,”Swensen said. “As the only official appointed county body for our community, that should be our role.”

He noted that Derek Young, our county councilman, has been very responsive. “He has been a good ally and has really worked to get to know our issues since his election. But he is just one person. We need additional ways to communicate our ideas and concerns.”

Toni Fairbanks, who is the county liaison for the KPAC meetings has also been very responsive. She attends all meetings.

Fairbanks said it is a great time to get involved with the commission. There are openings for community members, and several of the KP Community Council positions will need to be filled. Terms are for four years with a two-term limit.

“We aim to be a broadly representative group,”Swensen said.

KPAC meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the VFW Room at the Key Peninsula Civic Center. The meetings are open to all for public comment.

If you have issues you would like to address, the group recommends coming to a meeting or contacting Swensen. His email is

If you are interested in an at-large position, applications are available online:

Once received, the application is reviewed for recommendation by the Pierce County Executive and presented for approval to the Pierce County Council. Terms are for four years and members can serve up to two terms.