Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of June 10, 2014

Charter Review

A public hearing shcueduled for this Tuesday's City Council meeting will give the public a chance to comment on possible amendments to Tacoma's Charter proposed both by the citizen Charter Review Committee, and by members of the council and City staff. That meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers. More information is available online at www.cityoftacoma.org/charterreview

View Charter Review Committee documents, including majority and minority reports:

Amendments Proposed by the City Council 

Amendments Proposed by City Staff 

The council's June 17th Committee of the Whole meeting will be replaced by a special meeting at which the Council will discuss proposed amendments to Tacoma's Charter. The meeting will be held in Tacoma Municipal Building North, Room 16 at 2:30. A second meeting on proposed amendments is scheduled for June 24; same time and place.


Jobs & Budgets

Two items are on the agenda for this week's Tacoma City Council study session. First the Council will hear an update on the City's 2014 Summer Jobs 253, a summer youth employment program. The program gives Tacoma Public Schools students opportunities to work 120 paid hours to earn academic credit, and to participate in a financial literacy program. The pilot project initiated by Mayor Strickland in 2013 has been expanded this year.

At study session the council will also be briefed on Tacoma's Six-Year General Fund Budget Forecast, 2015 through 2020. 


Hotels & Parking

Earlier this year the City of Tacoma and KS Tacoma Holdings, the parent company of the Hotel Murano, worked out a deal to allow planning to move ahead for development of a hotel on the Foss Waterfront, and another just south of the Convention Center. Part of that deal was an agreement that the City would sell two parking lots it owns that sit between the Murano and the Convention Center to KS Holdings for $1.25 million. For its part of the deal, KS Holdings agreed to no longer pursue legal challenges to the development of the other hotel projects.

The land in question was acquired by the City back in the 1970s to build a convention center with on-site parking. To purchase the land, the City obtained federal grants, which placed a 40-year restrictive covenant on them, requiring that the property be used for public purposes. That covenant expires next May, allowing the City to sell the property for private use.

A resolution appears on this week's council meeting agenda would declare the parking lots surplus and authorize their sale to KS Holdings for $1,245,000.


The Henry

An ordinance on this week's council meeting consent agenda would vacate a portion of Dock Street air rights north of State Route 509, to allow building modulation and design features for a mixed-use project located at 1933 Dock Street. The vacation of air rights would allow for a design feature on The Henry that includes a slight overhang above the sidewalk. The ordinance got a first reading back in March, at which time no one had submitted any comments objecting to the request.


The Proctor

A pair of items related to the planned mixed-use development in the Proctor district are on this week's City Council meeting agenda. The first is an ordinance scheduled for a final reading on this week's council meeting consent agenda that would vacate air rights over the alley west of Proctor between North 27th and 28th. The first reading of this ordinance drew quite a bit of comment when it came up for its first reading back in ... It's gone to the hearing examiner for consideration, and is back for a final reading this week.

The vacation of air rights over the alley would allow the developers involved with building The Proctor to connect two parts of the building over the alley, while still leaving the street-level open to pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Objections came from neighbors who were overall opposed to the size of the project in general, more than specifically the air rights question. The Hearing Examiner found that the vacation of air rights in this case met the test of benefitting the public good by undergrounding utilities, paving the alley, and allowing for a more attractive design. There was a request for reconsideration from a neighbor in the area, resulting in a recommendation in favor of the air rights, but with a formalized requirement that the alley be paved.

The second item is a resolution granting the developers a Multi-Family Housing eight-year limited property tax exemption for the 154 market-rate multi-family rental housing unit project. The exemption would mean that the additional  $78,500 property tax the project is expected to generate annually for the City would not be applied for the first eight years after its construction, at which time it would go back on the books, and the City would collect those tax dollars.


Parts & Pipes

Three purchase resolutions appear on this week's council meeting agenda. The first would award $2,596,209, plus sales tax, plus a 3 percent annual CPI increase, budgeted from the Solid Waste Fund, for service, repairs and parts on an as-needed basis for various Peterbilt vehicles and equipment in the City's Solid Waste Division. The initial contract would be for a three-year term, with the option to renew for two additional one-year periods, for a projected contract total of $4,596,209.

The second of the purchase resolutions would award $1,607,929 budgeted from the Wastewater, Surface Water and Water Funds, for the replacement of more than 5,000 total linear feet of various water mains, wastewater sewer mains, and storm sewer mains from North 37th Street to North 39th Street between Tyler and Adams Streets. The pipes have exceeded their design life, and have been determined to be at risk of failure.


Water Ditch Trail

The third and final of this week's purchase resolutions would award $1,202,912 budgeted from the Transportation Capital Fund, to construct Phase II of the Historic Water Ditch Trail. The project will complete another two miles of the trail through south Tacoma, which will ultimately connect to other regional trail and transportation systems. Work funded will pave pathways and sidewalks, and add other features including benches, lighting, and pedestrian crossings and sharrows. This phase will also improve the connection between the trail and the South Tacoma Sounder station. Read more here.


Citizens' Forum

If public comment on proposed amendments to Tacoma's charter isn't quite enough for you, you're in luck, because it's time again already for another thrilling edition of Citizens' Forum. It's an opportunity for citizens of Tacoma to stand up and tell their Council what they think on anything over which the Council has jurisdiction.


Other Items

The Mayor will read a recognition for the New Tacoma Neighborhood Council. 

A motion may be considered to authorize the City’s full and final settlement of all claims against Union Tank Car Company upon payment by the City in the amount of $42,588.89.

A resolution on this week's agenda would approve the surplus and sale of 13 acres of property in Lewis County no longer needed by Tacoma Power to the adjacent property owner for $160,515. At the public hearing. There was no public comment at the June 3 public hearing on the issue.

A resolution on this week's regular council meeting agneda would remove the historic designation from the the J.M. Hendricksen Homestead at 1239 East 54th Street, and remove the property from the Tacoma Register of Historic Places. The designation was just granted in November 2011. In December 2013 the City Council passed a resolution altering the boundaries of the historic property, following a request from the property owner who wanted to sell a portion of the property in order to "alleviate financial issues caused by declining health." The owner wasn't able to sell the portion of the property removed from the historic register, and has returned to request that the full property have its historic designation rescinded. There are currently no plans to demolish the historic structures on the property, but the removal of the designation would make that a possiblity, although the request for the resolution mentions a prospective buyer who would allow the current property owner to remain in her home on the property.

A pair of ordinances executing negotiated pay and compensation agreements with represented workers that got their first reading last week are on this week's council agenda for a final reading.

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