Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of January 12, 2016

UW Tacoma

With the celebration of its 25th anniversary last year, and the selection of a new chancellor, the University of Washington Tacoma is revisiting its plans for the future. The University is in the process of clarifying its campus vision and developing a strategic plan. As a part of this process, UWT is gathering input from stakeholders in the community. The big question: As an urban serving university, what positive role can UWT play in achieving your aspirations? At this week's city council study session, the University will give the council a chance to give their answers to that question.


Open Data

Also on the agenda for this week's study session is a presentation from City IT and Office of Management and Budget staff on a proposed resolution stating the City's commitment to proactive publishing of data on City operations. Since June 2015 Tacoma has participated in the What Works Cities Initiative to accelerate the use of data to engage the community, make government more effective, and improve people's lives. 


Marijuana Moratorium

Last week the council scheduled a public hearing on a proposal to adopt a moratorium on new marijuana retail uses while it sorts out regulations that will address medical marijuana retail alongside the recreational businesses covered by existing City code. If adopted, the moratorium would prohibit the licensing of new marijuana retail businesses for up to six months, giving the Planning Commission time to produce recommendations, and the council time to decide how to act on those recommendations. The moratorium would not affect existing licensed businesses, and would expire in six months, or when the City updates its regulations.

This week the public will get its chance to speak to the proposed moratorium during the public hearing, and the council is scheduled to hear a first reading of the ordinance that would enact that moratorium.


Hilltop Development

Back before the market tanked, there were big plans for a multi-story, mixed-use, mixed-income development at the corner of 11th and MLK. Those plans got derailed by the economic downturn, and subsequent events led to the big vacant lot there being owned by the State Department of Commerce. Commerce went looking for a buyer who could turn the under-utilized space into a contributing part of the Hilltop.

We had heard a few whispers, but not much else about the property since the joint City/State RFP for developers in 2013, but now an item on this week's council meeting consent agenda suggests there may at last be movement. The resolution would set Thursday, February 18, 2016, at 9:00 a.m., as the date for a hearing by the Hearing Examiner on a request to vacate the south 200 feet of the alley between Martin Luther King Jr Way and South J Street, lying between South 10th and 11th Streets, for mixed-use development. The vacation of the alley would allow for more flexibility in development that could ultimately take up much of that entire block.


Transportation Benefit District 

A meeting of Tacoma's Transportation Benefit District board (a.k.a. the city council) is scheduled for this week. The board will set Tuesday, January 26, 2016, at approximately 5:30 p.m., as the date for a public hearing on adjustments to the 2015-2016 Transportation Benefit District Budget and Spending Plan.


Citizens' Forum

It's the first Citizens' Forum of 2016 - that's your chance to tell the City Council what you think about anything over which they have jurisdiction. Maybe you have thoughts on billboards?


Other Items

January 18, 2016 will be proclaimed as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the City of Tacoma.

Jeff McInnis will be appointed to the Planning Commission

A resolution declaring surplus and authorizing the execution of a Quit Claim Deed to convey two parcels located at 3524 McKinley Avenue and 715 East Morton Street to Pierce Real Properties, LLC, for the amount of $281,700.

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