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Tacoma City Council Meeting - September 16, 2014



Ordinance No. 28243 An ordinance approving and confirming the Assessment Roll for Local Improvement District No. 3966 for the construction of an 8-inch sanitary sewer main extension from South Madison Street, south of South 69th Street and terminating at South Proctor Street. [Ralph Rodriguez, L.I.D. Administrator; Phyllis Macleod, Hearing Examiner]

Ordinance No. 28244 An ordinance approving and confirming the Assessment Roll for Local Improvement District No. 5727 for the construction of 8-inch water mains along South 69th Street, from Madison to Durango Streets; and along Proctor Street, from South 69th Street north approximately 250 feet. [Ralph Rodriguez, L.I.D. Administrator; Phyllis Macleod, Hearing Examiner]

Ordinance No. 28245 An ordinance approving and confirming the Assessment Roll for Local Improvement District No. 7725 for the installation of underground primary electrical distribution, utilities, telephone, and cable-television lines along Proctor Street, from South 66th to South 69th Streets; and in South 69th Street from Proctor Street east approximately 150 feet. [Ralph Rodriguez, L.I.D. Administrator; Phyllis Macleod, Hearing Examiner]

The items on the consent agenda were adopted without comment.



Tacoma Reads Together is an annual program that asks everyone in Tacoma to read the same book, and to join in conversations and events throughout the month. This October there will be a film series and other events providing opportunities for Tacomans to talk about the issues raised by the book. Erik Hanberg, chair of Tacoma Reads Together, presented the Mayor's selection for this year's program: Nickeled and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. The story of a journalist's experience undercover trying to live on low-wage jobs was chosen to spark conversations among Tacomans about poverty, sustainable wages, menial work, and the American dream. 

Tacoma's North End and Central wastewater treatment plants received National Association of Clean Water Agency Platinum and Gold Awards, respectively; and the Department of Ecology’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Outstanding Performance Award. The awards recognize commitment, innovation, and achievement in clean water through 100% compliance with their permits. This is the 16th consecutive year the North End plant has received the platinum award. Mayor Strickland thanked staff for their hard work, calling this an essential public health and safety issue - not a high glamor award, but important to everyone who lives here.



No comment.




Resolution No. 39006 A resolution appointing Katie Evans and Daniel Thomasson to the Citizen Review Panel. [Doris Sorum, City Clerk; Elizabeth Pauli, City Attorney]

Four applicants were interviewed, two were chosen to represent the community. 



Resolution No. 39007 A resolution awarding a contract to Active Construction, Inc., in the amount of $2,523,400, sales tax not applicable, budgeted from the Transportation Capital Fund, for the design and construction of pedestrian crossing improvements at over 50 various locations across the City - Specification No. PW14-0171F. [Chris E. Larson, P.E., Division Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

The project will make improvements to more than 50 pedestrian crossing locations around Tacoma. Those improvements will include all the things you might associate with a pedestrian crossing – new striping, crossing beacons, curb cuts, talking crosswalk buttons, etc. The locations were selected through an extensive public outreach process. Both online and at meetings, the public identified crossings in need of improvement, and voted on criteria to be used for selection of the projects. Because there were more locations than funding, projects were selected on those criteria (proximity to uses like schools and hospitals, and high traffic volume locations). The remaining locations will be kept on file, and will be in line for future funding, when that becomes available.

The design-build process being used in this project will allow for improvements to get done sooner than the traditional design-bid-build process, as the d-b process allows some projects to begin before design work on all is complete, and allows construction teams to work with designers as challenges arise.

In order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, Councilmember Boe recused himself from discussion and voting on this item.


Resolution No. 39008 A resolution awarding a contract to Northwest Cascade, Inc., in the amount of $466,284, plus sales tax, plus a 10 percent contingency, for a cumulative total of $512,912.40, budgeted from the Transportation Capital and Surface Water Funds, for improving three alleys and one residential street located in south and east Tacoma, Local Improvement District Nos. 8653 and 8655-2 - Specification No. PW14-0173F. [Chris E. Larson, P.E., Division Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

The resolution was adopted without comment.


Resolution No. 39009 A resolution authorizing the increase of a contract with Fehr & Peers, in the amount of $475,000, sales tax not applicable, for a cumulative total of $975,000, budgeted from the General Fund, to perform a Tacoma Tideflats Emergency Response/Intelligent Transportation System (ER/ITS) Study - Specification No. PW13-0377F. [Michael Fitzgerald, Assistant to the Chief; James P. Duggan, Chief, Fire Department]

The project will be a collaboration, with funding coming from sources including the City, Tacoma Fire Department, the Port, and the tribe. Councilmember Thoms called the project work important to our ability to have safe and uninterrupted commerce in the Port industrial area.


Resolution No. 39010 A resolution authorizing the execution of a Memorandum of Agreement with the University of Washington Tacoma (UWT), for the reimbursement of funds associated with the design and construction of a Regional Water Quality Facility as part of the Prairie Line Trail; and authorizing the expenditure of an additional $569,640, including sales tax, budgeted from the Surface Water Fund, for additional construction and drainage improvements in South 21st Street, for a total project cost of $2,100,000. [Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

This resolution reimburses UWT for their design and construction of the regional water treatment facility as a part of the Prairie Line Trail project. The facility will treat runoff from 42 acres of downtown Tacoma, well beyond the footprint of the campus, while also offering learning opportunities for students, and an attractive feature along the trail. $1 million of funding for the facility comes through a Department of Ecology grant.

The UWT section of the Prairie Line Trail is very nearly complete; the grand opening ceremony will be held next Thursday, September 25, at 5 p.m. on the UWT steps. The event, which is open to the public, will include a formal ceremony, bike riding down the new trail by the Council and others, and a discussion of the importance of the Prairie Line Trail as and economic driver for the city hosted by UWT’s Urban Studies program.

Mayor Strickland called the partnership between the City and the University an example of UWT fulfilling its mission of being an urban serving university.



This is the date set for a public hearing by the City Council on the proposed six-month extension of the interim land use regulations concerning the production, processing, and retail sale of recreational marijuana. [Brian Boudet, Planning Manager; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]

Initiative 502 provides a legal and regulatory framework for the production, processing, and retail sales of recreational marijuana. The Washington State Liquor Control Board is required to develop rules and regulations for businesses; buffers from sensitive uses; criteria for security and tracking, advertising, quality control, and state taxation.

While we were waiting for the LCB to complete its work, the City of Tacoma, like many other jurisdictions, put into place interim regulations governing the newly legalized industry, setting rules for location and operation of the three categories of recreational marijuana businesses. Those regulations were established to give City staff policy and regulatory guidance when evaluating applications from the new businesses, while providing an opportunity for evaluation of their impacts, setting the stage for eventual permanent regulations that may or may not look like what we have now.

So far about 100 applications for production and processing of marijuana in Tacoma have been received by the LCB, with just three being forwarded to the City for licenses; two of those are in business. The numbers for retail establishments look similar: about 100 applications, four of which have been forwarded to the City, and all are in operation.

With delays at the state level, Tacoma still doesn’t have much information to go on when evaluating the impacts of the interim regulations. There continue to be delays at the state level – many applications are still waiting for LCB review, and the State has yet to resolve issues between medical and recreational regulations, as well as the conflict between I-502 and federal law, which still makes marijuana illegal. In light of all this, it seems to make sense to extend the interim regulations another six months, at which time they will be revisited, to see if anything has changed.

One commenter came forward to speak, thanking the Council for being receptive to the new industry, but asking if they had any plans to support I-502 by leveling the playing field between recreational and medical marijuana. That was the only public comment, but we heard more comments from the City Council during their comment period.

Councilmember Mello asked the City Attorney to discuss buffer zones between marijuana uses. There currently are buffer zones between marijuana uses and so-called sensitive uses such as schools and daycares, but there are no regulations in place about proximity between the uses themselves.

Councilmember Thoms brought up the possibility of an amendment to clarify requirements and procedures for notification of surrounding properties when a marijuana-related use was being considered in their immediate area.



Neighborhoods and Housing Committee – Councilmember Walker reported on recent topics covered by the committee.

  • Held a panel discussion exploring the impacts and community benefits of four homeownership programs in Tacoma. The discussion included presentations from the City’s down payment assistance program, the Home Ownership Center of Tacoma, Habitat for Humanity, and Tacoma Housing Authority.
  • Heard presentations on the Graffiti Rapid Removal pilot project and the minimum structures and building code.

The committee’s next meeting will include discussions of encampment removal and PATH Team expansion.

Councilmember Boe had several events to share.

  • Next week, September 21 through 27, is Fall Bike to Work Week in Tacoma. That means more bike commuters on the road than usual, and events including daily opportunities to "embrace the hill" with a different hill climb ride planned for the end of each work day, and the opportunity to join City Councilmembers on their bikes as part of the Prairie Line Trail opening. 
  • Tacoma's farmers' markets continue in full swing with harvest season - Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
  • This Thursday, September 18, is the date for the annual Puget Sound Revels celebration of the autumnal equinox. Join the revels on the Chihuly Bridge of Glass for a small concert, and join in a group sing across the bridge. The free event is open to all, and starts at 6:30 p.m.
  • This Friday is Park(ing) Day. It's an annual, global event that turns parking spots into pop-up pocket parks for a few hours. Tacoma Park(ing) Day will be held downtown on Friday, September 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pick up a passport and visit at least five of the mini parks to win fabulous prizes.
  • Tacoma Maritime Fest is this Saturday and Sunday, September 20 and 21, down on the Foss Waterway. The free event includes a quick and dirty boat building contest and race, free boat tours, music, food, and activities for the whole family.
  • On Saturday and Sunday enjoy free guided maritime heritage boat tours from the Foss Waterway Seaport and Tacoma's Historic Preservation Office. On Sunday there's another opportunity for free boat tours from the Port of Tacoma.

Councilmember Campbell invited everyone to come out on Saturday from 3 to 4 p.m. for the dedication of the new Murray Morgan Bridge mural, under the bridge along Dock Street. Campbell also encouraged anyone who is out and about and looking for a great meal this weekend to visit one of the more than a dozen restaurants in the Lincoln Business District.

Deputy Mayor Woodards invited everyone to join her for the presentation of the Elizabeth Wesley Awards at Clover Park. Over 200 cash scholarships will be awarded to students of color in Pierce County, many from Tacoma. Woodards invited everyone to come out to see the mayor speak, and to support Tacoma students who are being awarded the scholarships.


For more on the items on the agenda, see our City Business Preview for the week.

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