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Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of October 13, 2015

Study Session

At this week's study session the council will hear an update from Public Works staff on the first phase of the Pedestrian Crossing Improvement Project, which made pedestrian infrastructure improvements at 67 sites around Tacoma in the last year.

The council will also hear from Tacoma Fire staff about their public outreach campaign to educate residents on reducing fire risks associated with aluminum wiring. Electrical fires are one of the leading causes of residential fires in the United States and homes wired with aluminum are 55 times more likely to have a connection reach fire hazard condition than homes wired with copper. 


Comprehensive Plan & Land Use Code Updates

A resolution on this week's regular council meeting consent agenda would set Tuesday, October 27, at 5:30 p.m., as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on the 2015 Annual Amendment to the Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Regulatory Code. 

The update is an annual process. Changes being considered this year break down into five basic categories:

  1. Comprehensive Plan Update - Updates the plan according to State Growth Management Act requirements, ensures consistency with applicable state and regional mandates, updates population and employment allocations, renews the city's vision and growth strategies, updates format and organization of the plan, and revises development regulations to be consistent with plan amendments.
  2. Mixed-Use Centers Review - Tacoma's mixed use centers are designated to accomodate much of the expected residential and employment growth anticipated by the Puget Sound Regional Council's VISION 2040. Since their creation in the mid-90s, however, most have experienced relatively little growth and new development, particularly the dense, mixed-use development envisioned. In order to better realize the intent of the Mixed-Use Center designation, the City has conducted a review of each of the centers, so that strategies, priorities, and policies can be developed to support the expected growth. This is a study only at this point, being added to the plan as a reference, but without any proposed amendments to the plan just yet.
  3. Affordable Housing Regulations - These proposed updates are intended to promote housing affordability and choice in Tacoma. Specific changes include additional lot size flexibility, special review district refinements, creation of a pilot residential infill program to allow innovative housing types (detached accessory dwelling units, corner duplexes and multi-family development in certain single family zones, and cottage housing) with heightened review, planned residential districts, affordable housing incentives and upzone requirements, and improvements to City processes.
  4. Code Cleanup - The proposed amendments make general text corrections to the Land Use Regulatory Code to address inconsistencies, correct minor errors, and improve provisions  found to be unclear or not fully meeting their intent.
  5. Narrowmoor Addition Conservation District - The proposal would create a new, “standalone” conservation overlay zone in Tacoma's West End, called the “Narrowmoor Addition Conservation District.” The conservation overlay would require design review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission for all new construction, additions to the footprints of existing houses, and demolitions of existing houses. New development would also be subject to specific criteria, including minimum width and other requirements making it more difficult to subdivide existing lots, and a limitation on the cumulative footprint of structures to only 25% of the lot.

Read up on the details of these proposed updates here, and make your comments.


Point Defiance

This is the date set for a public hearing by the City Council on the proposed Development Regulation Agreement with Metro Parks Tacoma, to manage the development of Point Defiance Park under its 20-Year Master Plan

If approved, the agreement would allow the 20-year plan for the park to move forward, taking plans for various programs and elements in the park as a whole, rather than on a case-by-case basis.


Citizens' Forum

It's Citizens' Forum time again this week. That means it's your monthly chance to share your thoughts with the council on anything over which it has jurisdiction.


Human Services Priorities

The City's Human Services Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing this Wednesday, October 14, to get public input on priorities for the next round of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funding. The public and representatives of local agencies are invited to share their thoughts on where the needs are for human services in Tacoma, especially for low income individuals and households experiencing homelessness—and make their suggestions for addressing those needs. Comments can be submitted in writing or at Wednesday's meeting, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Tacoma Municipal Building. Details here.


Other Items

A resolution on this week's consent agenda would authorize a $131,101 amendment to a grant agreement with the Washington State Department of Ecology, and authorize the expenditure of $43,700 in matching funds, for a cumulative total of $1,046,633, to promote waste prevention and recycling activities.

October 13, 2015 will be proclaimed as Art AIDS America Day, and October 15, 2015 as White Cane Safety Day in the City of Tacoma. The third quarter Human Rights Champion Award recipient will be recognized.

A purchase resolution on this week's regular council meeting agenda would award a $469,070 contract, budgeted from the Information System Fund, for "hardware equipment including one-year SMARTnet maintenance and professional services to complete a multi-site data network infrastructure update."

A resolution on this week's agenda would designate the Mead-Keyser Residence at 2702 North Puget Sound Avenue as a historic landmark, and place it on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places.

Another resolution would authorize an agreement with Yakima County for prisoner housing and transportation services, effective November 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016, with an automatic renewal of one-year terms, for a maximum of five years.

The council is also scheduled to hear the final readings of two ordinances from last week's meeting. One would accept a negotiated agreement to implement rates of pay and compensation for Tacoma Fire Fighters and Police. The other would amend the Municipal Code to reinstate staggered terms of one, two, or three years, and establish a term limit of ten years for the Citizen Police Advisory Committee.

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