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Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of November 5, 2013
At last week's City Council meeting we heard about a pair of ordinances that would set the rules for marijuana-related zoning and land use and nuicance code amendments, both of which are scheduled for a final reading at this week's meeting.
We also heard public comment on the proposed new rules, including a request from one commenter that the City reconsider the way it defines "parks" for the purpose of idenfying sensitive uses around which 1,000-foot buffer zones will be established, in which no marijuana-related uses would be allowed. The commenter suggested that Tacoma's proposed definition - which included the Washington State definition, as well as a Tacoma-specific definition - would be unnecessarily restrictive. Well, someone must have been listening, because there is a possible substitute ordinance proposed, which (if adopted) would use just the state Liquor Control Board definition. That definition generally covers spaces defined as "parks" in the TMC and Land Use Code. Last week we also heard an amendment offered and adopted making changes to prohibit marijuana retail in the core of the Port of Tacoma.
Scrap Metal Recyclers
Washington State passed a comprehensive overhaul of scrap metal regulation, whereby the state will now preempt local jurisdictions from regulating scrap metal business activity and require scrap metal buyers to be licensed by the state. It also amends definitions of Theft 1 and 2, and defines several new gross misdemeanor crimes. An ordinance scheduled for a first reading this week would amend the TMC relating to licenses, repealing the section relating to scrap metal and recyclable material dealers in its entirety; and would create a new section including the newly created state law crimes in order to prosecute the new crimes in municipal court.
Taxi operators, businesses, or citizens may submit requests to the City for the establishment of new taxi stand locations. Those requests are reviewed by Tax and License and Public Works staff, who then bring approved requests to Council. Taxi companies pay a $175 annual license fee for the opportunity to use taxi stands, which provide designated spaces for taxis to sit, rather than occupying other parking spots..
A resolution on this week's agenda would establish new taxi stands at four locations in Tacoma: 6th Avenue and Anderson Street; 6th Avenue and Pine Street; 2403 6th Avenue; and Court C between South 21st and 23rd Streets. The proposed locations have been reviewed, adjacent businesses have been involved, and it has been determined that additional stands would benefit the area.
A resolution on this week's consent agenda would set Tuesday, November 19 as the date for a public hearing by the City Council regarding the surplus and proposed sale of 27,499 square feet of Tacoma Water property located at 7704 6th Avenue, to David A. Sizemore, in the amount of $22,500. Tacoma water acquired the parcel in 1965 from the City to build a low service reservoir in the 6th and Jackson area. That reservoir was never developed and the parcel has beein sitting unused. As it has been determined that the property is not needed, a sale agreement has been negotiated with the abutting property owner for the named amount, plus any transaction fees.
Tuesday, November 19 would also be set by a second consent agenda resolution as the date for a public hearing by the City Council regarding the proposed sale of four former substation sites located at 5001 North Visscher Street, 1801 North Orchard Street, 4924 North 31st Street, and 1009 South 35th Street, owned by Tacoma Power, previously declared as surplus, to Reggie Brown for the cumulative amount of $317,000. The former substations became obsolete when the electric grid was updated, and were declared surplus in 2009. Since then interest in the parcels has been minimal, at best. The parcels range in size from 0.14 acre to 0.30 acre. Mr. Brown intends to build residential houses on the sites, and will pay any transaction fees.
A resolution on the regular agenda this week would accept the donation of three parcels of real property owned by DJL Investments, LLC, located in Northeast Tacoma, for ongoing routine maintenance of the stormwater facilities on the parcels. The parcels to be acquired are located within the plats of Korosumo and Northwood Meadows in Northeast Tacoma platted by DJL. Stormwater detention facilities were installed to mitigate increased flows to the public stormwater system. The stormwater facilities serve public roads and are currently maintained by Environmental Services. It will be beneficial to the public for Environmental Services to have full control of the parcels.
CDBG, HOME, & ESG Funds
City staff are gearing up for the next round of Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnership, and Emergency Solutions Grant funding applications. The City gets the federal HUD funds, which it then disperses to programs that provide housing, community and economic development, and human services At this week's City Council study session, Community and Economic Development and Neighborhood and Community Services staff will present information on the funds to Council, and ask for guidance on priorities for the upcoming application process. Because this funding cycle comes in the final year of the current five-year planning period, staff is recommending to Council the completion of the existing priorities and objectives. Work on the next five-year plan should begin early next year.
A resolution on the regular agenda this week would appoint Chris Beale to serve on the Planning Commission, representing Council District No. 5, to fill an unexpired term through June 30, 2015.
A purchase resolution on this week's agenda would award a $267,854 contract, budgeted from the Solid Waste Fund, for engineering services for the Tacoma Landfill Site Traffic Circulation Improvements. Several pedestrian and vehicle traffic flow safety issues have been identified. A traffic analysis study has been completed, and a phased plan developed for improvements.
A resolution on this week's regular City Council meeting agenda would authorize a $1,196,000 agreement for component unit audits for Tacoma Power, Water, Rail, Wastewater and Surface Water, and Solid Waste Management utilities, budgeted from those utilities for 2013 through 2017. These component unit reports provide more comprehensive financial information for each respective utility than the broader Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. External audit services are required to provide financial statements that are usable by the TPU Board, the City Council, rating agencies, bondholders, and other external users\
If you're a true procrastinator who still hasn't voted, time is ticking down, so don't delay too much longer. You have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to get your ballot postmarked. Most post offices in Tacoma are open until 5, but who wants to be racing to the post office at 5 p.m. anyway? Go ahead and do it now.
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