Tacoma City Business Preview for the Week of March 22, 2016

Tacoma Mall Neighborhood Subarea Plan 

Work is currently underway to develop a subarea plan and Environmental Impact Statement for the 601-acre Tacoma Mall area, similar to plans developed in recent years for the North and South Downtown and Hilltop subareas. These plans will guide development for the subareas in the coming decades, while the EIS for each area will help smooth the way for development, addressing environmental impacts on an area-wide, rather than project-by-project basis.

At this week's city council study session the council will hear an update on the status of the Tacoma Mall process, which is currently in the policy development phase. The council will discuss the status of the project, including key issues raised so far, and provide guidance to staff for the next phase of planning efforts. The plan and EIS are expected to go to the council for consideration late this year.

A $250,000 National Estuaries Program Watershed Protection Grant, administered by the State Departments of Ecology and Commerce. is the primary funding source for the project. A purchase resolution on this week's council meeting agenda would add $15,648 to the consultant contract budget for a qualitative assessment of residential and mixed-use development market potential. The additional funds became available from the Washington State Department of Commerce, allowing for the increase in scope to develop materials that will be used in engaging with property owners and the business community, and in calibrating the plan. 

 

Strategic Policy Priorities

Every year the Tacoma City Council sets its priorities and strategic policy direction. These priorities give the City Manager and staff guidance going forward on how to invest effort and resources. Last month the council prioritized its policy priorities for 2016. 

  • Pass Sound Transit 3 and break ground on Link expansion
  • Show significant progress with dollars from transportation package and leverage those resources
  • Hilltop and Lincoln business districts revitalization
  • Human Services systems change
  • Address poverty, affordable housing, and homelessness head-on
  • Address social inequities
  • Equity and empowerment as it relates to hiring and contracting
  • Implement restorative justice practices in conjunction with Project PEACE recommendations
  • Implementation of Project PEACE recommendations
  • Resolutions to radio system access fees (South Sound 911)

The council also identified the City's role regionally leading or providing support on various goals and objectives set by the Tacoma 2025 Advisory Committee. These came sorted into five categories: economy/workforce, livability, accessibility and equity, education, and civic engagement.

A resolution on this week's agenda would approve the first list of priorities as the City of Tacoma 2016 Strategic Policy Priorities, and identify the City’s role as leader or supporter for the objectives and goals set by the Tacoma 2025 Advisory Committee. 

 

BIA

Every year the City is required to reapprove the continued operation of the downtown Business Improvement Area. An ordinance on this week's agenda would do that for the next year, approving the BIA and its work plan through April 2017. This will make 29 years of operation for the BIA, a self-governing group providing security, maintenance, community relations, and other services, funded through the levy of assessments and other income from the businesses within its downtown footprint. The businesses agree to participate in and fund the BIA, and in turn their funding, now totaling in the neighborhood of $850,000 annually, pays for services like additional police presence, private security, weekly sidewalk cleanings, graffiti removal, street banners, and more.

 

Purchase Resolutions

Two more purchase resolutions on this week's agenda:

  • $2,100,000, budgeted from the Transportation Capital Fund, for construction of a shared-use trail adjacent to South Tacoma Way and re-channelization of the road between South C and South M Streets to provide a new pedestrian and bicycle facility as a part of the Water Ditch Trail (a.k.a. the Historic Water Flume Line Trail) project.
  • $3,920,731, budgeted from the Information Systems Fund, for software and implementation services for a procure-to-pay automation system, for an initial contract term ending December 31, 2020.

 

Other Items

An ordinance on this week's council meeting consent agenda for a final reading would amend the Municipal Code to reclassify a 1.85 acre area on Pacific Avenue near South 84th Street, currently zoned “T” Transitional District to “C-2” General Community Commercial District, to construct up to 120 apartment units with associated site improvements. The rezone would allow the requesting developer to build a 92-unit "moderate income" apartment "community." Original zoning in the area was established in 1953, and apparently things have changed a little since then. Nobody showed up at the public hearing to challenge the plans.

 

Get Involved

Applications are due today for those wishing to serve on Tacoma's Audit Advisory Board. The Board supports the City Council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee in carrying out its audit advisory, oversight and liaison functions. Apply by Monday, March 21.

On Thursday Metro Parks invites the public to join the conversation about how the Point Defiance Pagoda's surroundings will change over the next several years. Join the conversation with Metro Parks and give your input as staff cover pedestrian access, bicycle routes and more. One of the highlights will be a discussion of plans for the reconstruction of the Japanese Garden next to the Pagoda. Through a special partnership with Tacoma’s Sister City, Kitakyushu, this garden will receive an updated design plan reflective of Japanese landscaping traditions and steeped in cultural heritage. At the Point Defiance Pagoda, March 24, 6-8 p.m.

Also on Thursday, advocates for active transportation and other interested parties invite you to join them to hear about a new report measuring the benefits of a connected network of trails from Mount Rainier to Point Defiance at . Attendees will hear updates on local trail projects and find out about ways they can help move the trail network toward becoming a reality. RSVPs are appreciated (and will result in more snacks). Visit http://TahomaToTacoma.eventbrite.com/ to register for free. In the Court House Square Ballroom at 1102 A Street, March 24, 6 to 8 p.m.

This Friday Downtown On the Go's Friday Forum series features a conversation related to development of a city-wide Safe Routes to School plan. The event will be a community discussion of the benefits of and barriers to students and parents using active transportation for daily trips to and from school, and how a city-wide plan might better support the safety of all non-motorized commuters. A panel of students, parents, and teachers will discuss safety, accessibility, and best practices for kids and others getting around without cars. Everyone is invited to the free event. In room 320 of the GWP building on the UW Tacoma campus, Friday, March 25, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Mark your calendars for a couple events coming up next week:

  • City forum on a proposal to ban disposable plastic shopping bags coming up next Tuesday, March 29. The City invites the public to discuss restricting the use of disposable plastic bags in Tacoma, and to comment on a proposed draft of an ordinance and implementation plan. At the main branch of the Tacoma Public Library, downtown at 11th and Pacific, Tuesday, March 29, 6 p.m.
  • A public meeting on the proposed management plan for Mason Gulch. At this meeting the City will provide updates on the planning process, and more details on its plan for managing the vegetation on the City-owned slope, which is at risk of landslides and erosion. In the University of Puget Sound Rotunda, Wednesday, March 30, 6 p.m.

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