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Point Ruston: The Plot Thickens…
The plot thickens at Point Ruston... On January 22 the Point Ruston Developers submitted to the City of Tacoma a letter of intent to petition for the annexation of the portion of its property that falls on the Ruston side of the city line. A public hearing on that proposed annexation is on the agenda for tonight's Tacoma City Council meeting. It will be a topic at tonight's Ruston Council meeting as well.
As development has progressed on the Tacoma side of the waterfront development in recent months, trouble has been brewing on the Ruston side. In August of last year the developer threatened to sue the town for $150 million for not holding up its end of the deal on Superfund site cleanup. The movie theater, originally planned for the Ruston side moved over to the Tacoma side.
Then last week things really heated up when the Point Ruston developers announced their intent to ask the City of Tacoma to annex the Ruston portion of their property.
Now the other shoe has dropped, as The News Tribune reports that not only do Ruston officials have their own side of the story, but the Environmental Protection Agency has concerns as well.
It's turning into quite the tangled plot. Point Ruston says Ruston Mayor Bruce Hopkins and others haven't shown up for meetings and the town has dragged its feet on the permitting process, forcing them to find other avenues to move forward, including an EPA exception that allows some work to go ahead without local permits when it is related to capping a superfund site.
Mayor Hopkins says Point Ruston developers are the ones missing meetings, and that they have submitted incomplete or unacceptable permit requests, not built to code, and ignored stop work orders.
Then there's the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the TNT, the EPA disagrees with Point Ruston's liberal interpretation of the rule allowing un-permitted work to cap superfund sites. The agency is also expressing concerns over some of the other work going on at the site.
The storyline here seems to be getting murkier by the minute. The TNT article today has a more in depth account of the various grievances and concerns. Mayor Hopkins has posted a letter to the Ruston council expressing his side of the story with other documents for their meeting tonight.
On the Tacoma side, from what we can tell, the Point Ruston developers have been working well with the City - forming an LID to fund infrastructure, and getting a Mixed-Use Center designation, as well as significant financial commitment from Tacoma. These new revelations (new to us, at least) complicate things, however. Even if the developer and the City have had a productive relationship so far, the EPA's concerns can't go unaddressed. And even if Tacoma does want to annex the area, Ruston would have to sign off on it - which seems unlikely.
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