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Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of August 13, 2013
Convention Center Update
At this week's City Council study session, Council will hear an update from Tacoma Regional Convention & Visitor Bureau President Bennish Brown on the long-range sales partnership for the Convention Center.
Prop 1 Utility Tax Details
A second topic at this week's study session will be Tacoma's Prop 1, which asks voters to approve a 2% increase in the earnings tax on utility companies in order to fund street improvements in the city. Council will hear more about topics relating to informing the public about the ballot measure.
- Public information initiative with schedules
- Media press releases posted on the website
- Signage and notices posted at all City of Tacoma facilities.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board has been working on rules and procedures to implement Initiative 502 since its passage last year. According to the Proposed Rules issued by the Board in July, the State could begin accepting applications for licenses on September 16. While the conflict between state and federal laws remains the elephant in the room on this one, Tacoma's City Council is looking at options for dealing with the issue, pending State adoption of licensing regulations and procedures. The City wants to be proactively ready for decisions at the state and federal levels with its own land use and zoning guidance for marijuana-related license applications in Tacoma. The Council is initiating the process of enacting interim regulations by the end of September, including adding Urban Horticulture as a new use category; adopting marijuana-specific uses (marijuana production, marijuana processing, and marijuana retail); and providing zoning and development standards for each of these new uses. A resolution on this week's consent agenda sets Tuesday, August 27 as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on the proposed interim land use regulations concerning the production, processing, and retail sale of recreational marijuana. Last year the City considered creating zoning regulations for marijuana-related businesses in Tacoma, but ultimately scrapped that, for the time being, in favor of treating marijuana establishments under the nuisance code with an ordinance that passed last summer.
Other Hearings & Appeals
Also on this week's Council meeting consent agenda is an appeal of a recommendation of the Hearing Examiner regarding the request to reclassify approximately the southeast corner of a larger property at 4601 South Orchard Street from “R-2” Single-Family Dwelling District to “M-1” Light Industrial District. According to supporting documents, the appeal is related to of the portion of the decision stating "that any access road from the rezone site to South 48th Street be used for automobile traffic only and that heavy industrial trucks will not be allowed to use South 48th Street for access across the closed rezone site to and from the adjacent industrial property." The item on this week's agenda sets Tuesday, August 20 as the date for the appeal before the City Council.
Another consent agenda resolution would set Thursday, September 26, at 1:00 p.m., as the date for a hearing before the Hearing Examiner on the request to vacate Milwaukee Way between East 11th Street and Lincoln Avenue. In 1994, the City of Tacoma and the Port of Tacoma entered an Interlocal Agreement to vacate the street. In 2000, when the Port had acquired all necessary properties, the City and the Port began the street vacation process, holding a public hearing and first reading of the relevant ordinance, but the final reading of the ordinance was postponed. According to documents in this week's full agenda "Based on the records available, it is unclear why there has been no final reading of the street vacation..." The Port would now like to finalize the street vacation. A new public hearing is requested because there have been changes in conditions related to this street vacation in the 13 years since the original hearing.
THA & MLK Rehab Project
In 2005 the City acquired a block of buildings in the Hilltop, including the Browne's Star Grill (Kellogg-Sicker Building) and the Pochert Buildings between 11th and 12th on MLK, citing nuisance and code violations. In 2006 the City released an RFP looking for developers to create a mixed-use development on the block. That never happened, but recently the Tacoma Housing Authority and a private developer have been at work on plans to develop the block as "apartments, ground floor office/retail, and parking." The City is ready to sell, having identified the property as among those it would most like to get off its hands and back on the tax rolls. A resolution on the regular agenda for this week's meeting would be a significant move in that direction, declaring the property located at 1110, 1114, 1120, and 1124 Martin Luther King Jr. Way surplus; and authorizing purchase and sale agreements with Kellogg Sicker Pochert LLC, in the amount of $100,000, for property located at 1110 and 1114 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and with the Tacoma Housing Authority for property located at 1120 and 1124 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The Kellogg-Sicker and Pochert buildings were designated as landmarks on the Tacoma Register of Historic places in June of this year, protecting the historic structures, which the private developer intends to develop as market rate apartments. THA plans new construction affordable housing on the other lots, targeting lower-income workers at nearby hospitals and other employers.
A resolution on this week's agenda would authorize an agreement with the Department of Ecology, Washington Conservation Corps, in the amount of $292,000, budgeted from the Surface Water Fund, to assist in the maintenance and restoration of the City's habitat restoration sites and open spaces for a one-year term, with the option to renew for three additional one-year terms, for a projected total of $1,168,000. The City is required to maintain, monitor, and restore 20 habitat restoration sites, along with a number of other open space sites the Environmental Services department has taken over to improve surface water quality. Based on forecasted work load, the City is requesting to sponsor two Washington Conservation Corps crews to perform maintenance activities such as removal of debris and invasive plants, and to assist in habitat monitoring and restoration.
This week's purchase resolution would award four contracts:
- $1,882,920 budgeted from the Surface Water Fund and Wastewater Fund, for replacement of approximately 2,800 linear feet of stormwater pipe and approximately 2,100 linear feet of wastewater pipe for the Franklin Trunk Line Improvements and Puget Sound Avenue project;
- $1,722,250 budgeted from the Surface Water Fund and the Public Assembly Facilities Fund, to replace approximately three acres of impervious parking lot with porous asphalt, install an infiltration trench, a bio retention facility, and landscaping for the Cheney Stadium Low Impact Development project;
- $995,292 budgeted from the Surface Water Fund, for design and engineering services associated with the Cleveland Way Pump Station Improvement project; and
- 15,000, plus sales tax, budgeted from various departmental funds, for office supplies on an as-needed basis from September 1, 2013 to May 29, 2014, with the option to renew for four additional one-year terms, for a projected contract total of $2,000,000.
Item 1 would fund the replacement of another portion of Tacoma's aging wastewater and stormwater pipe systems. The wastewater and stormwater pipes in question here are over 50 and 100 years old, respectively, and have been identified via video inspection as "having deteriorated to the point of imminent failure." The recommended award is 15.2% below the pre-bid estimate.
Item 2 would fund the replacement of more than three acres of parking at Cheney Stadium with porous asphalt, along with other stormwater management systems, including an infiltration trench to mitigate a portion of roof runoff, a bioretention facility, and nearly 2.5 acres of landscaping. In 2012 Clay Huntington Way at the north entrance to the stadium was honored as Tacoma's first GreenRoad; this new project will improve the rest of the parking lot, further reducing the amount of stormwater run-off impacting the water quality in the watershed. More than half the cost of the project is funded by a $1,000,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology's FY 2012 Stormwater Retrofit and LID Competitive Grant program. The recommended award is 9% below the pre-bid estimate.
Item 3 would fund improvements necessary to bring the pump station up to current codes, safety requirements, and to re-establish reliability and efficiency of the 1960 facility.
Item 4 would pay for office supplies out of various department budgets when the current contract expires at the end of the month.
It's that time again - your chance as a citizen of Tacoma to stand up at a Council meeting, and tell them what you think about any matter over which the Tacoma City Council has jurisdiction.
It's not too often that we see a request for the reconsideration of an item already adopted by Council, but this week staff has requested the reconsideration of the resolution passed at last week's meeting appointing individuals to the City Events and Recognitions Committee. The change being requested sounds simple enough: amend the terms of the appointments from three to two year terms. To go along with that request, a resolution also appears to appoint the youth representative to the Sustainable Tacoma Commission for a two-year term ending April 2015.
The Mayor will read a recognition of the 125th Anniversary of Burkhart Dental Supply.
A resolution on the Council meeting agenda this week would authorize Environmental Services participation in a Tacoma Public Utilities Water Department contract, for the replacement of underground wastewater pipes for a cost of $1 ,734,762, excluding sales tax. A planned TPU project to replace the water mains in the vicinity of North Vassault Street to North Visscher Street from North 49th Street to North 51st Street provides the opportunity to replace existing 80 year-old wastewater pipes with new, structurally sound pipes simultaneously, minimizing the impact on the area.
We wil also hear the final reading of an ordinance granting a non-exclusive ten-year telecommunications franchise to Electric Lightwave, LLC, to construct, operate, and repair a telecommunications
system throughout the city.
Two ordinance scheduled for their first readings this week would make adjustments to the compensation plans of two groups of employees: Municipal Court Judges and Court Commissioners, and employees represented by District Lodge No. 160, on behalf of Local Lodge No. 297, of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Rail Mechanics and Track Workers Units.
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