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Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of October 1, 2013
Eastside Community Center
The City of Tacoma, in partnership with Metro Parks, the Tacoma Housing Authority and the Tacoma School District, is in the process of conducting a feasibility study for a new Eastside community center, inspired at least in part by community organizing following the 2011 shooting death of Eastside teen Billy Ray Shirley.
On Wednesday, October 2nd, two community meetings related to the feasibility of building a new state-of-the-art community center on the eastside of Tacoma will be held.
- The Program Partners Forum - hosted by the City, Tacoma Housing Authority, Tacoma Public Schools, and Metro Parks - The community is invited to this forum to share their comments on what types of services are needed in the eastside.
- Public Open House for public input - hosted by Metro Parks & the Eastside Neighborhood Advisory Council - Attendees at this event will form small focus groups to brainstorm ideas for programming, site location, and what they believe a community center should look like. It will be the first of two opportunities for community members to share their ideas.
Destination Point Defiance
"Destination Point Defiance" is a long-term initiative of Metro Parks to develop a omprehensive plan for Point Defiance Park, with a vision that focuses on improving access, enhancing activities and stewarding resources. At a joint study session on Tuesday Metro Parks staff will update Tacoma City Council and Metro Parks Board of Commissioners on the planning initiative.
Destination Point Defiance planning began in 2005 Some recent changes in the park show some of the direction these plans are taking, including the initial opening of the "missing link" of walking and bike paths between Ruston Way and the park, and the news that the Point Defiance Go Karts will likely not have their lease renewed. If you're interested in the big picture vision for Point Defiance, you can learn more at metroparkstacoma.org/destinationpointdefiance, and if you want to share your two cents with Metro Parks, take the online survey, or show up at the next 3rd Thursday Destination Point Defiance community dialogue.
North Downtown Subarea Plan & EIS
Tuesday's regular study session agenda includes the presentation of a report on the progress of the plan that will govern development in Tacoma's north downtown sub-area. Key issues to be addressed include on- and off-street parking in the Stadium District, the management of the Stadium Way hillside, and the integration of the future LINK extension into the existing urban fabric. When completed, the North Downtown plan, along with the MLK and South Downtown plans, will complete the sub-area planning work for Tacoma's Downtown Regional Growth Center.
Public Safety & Morals
In order to be consistent with a state-level change this summer in the way vehicle prowling is treated as a crime, the City needs to make adjustments to its own code.
The state-level change makes the third or subsequent conviction of vehicle prowling in the second degree a class C felony. An ordinance scheduled for a first reading this week would amend Title 8 of the Tacoma Municipal Code, "Public Safety and Morals," by repealing the existing section dealing with vehicle prowling (as adopted in 1976), and adding a new chapter, "Vehicle Prowling in the Second Degree," consistent with the new update to state law.
Transportation Master Plan
The Transportation Element of Tacoma's Comprehensive Plan is in need of major refinements to provide more detailed guidance about future mass transit and roadway improvements and connections, and more information about how each component will work together to provide a cohesive, efficient, and effective multimodal transportation system that meets the needs and goals of the community.
To complete this work, the City will hire a consultant to work with City staff and the recently formed Transportation Commission. A purchase resolution on this week's agenda would award the contract for consultant services for the preparation of the City’s Transportation Master Plan to Seattle-based Fehr & Peers, in the amount of $500,000, budgeted from the General Fund.
The work of updating the transportation plan will include a survey of existing conditions, transit scenario and corridor analysis. The plan will include a roadway update identifying future connections and potential improvements to the network of roads, add a Transit component to the plan, and include and updated list of priorities for future improvements in the Port area.
The process will involve significant public and stakeholder input. A draft of the Transportation Master Plan is forecast for completion by late fall 2014, to be finalized and adopted as part of the 2015 Comprehensive Plan.
South 56th Improvements
The Puget Sound Regional Council recently awarded University Place $778,500 in funding for the design phase of improvements to the South 56th Street arterial corridor from I-5 to Cirque Drive in advance of the US Open. As the corridor runs through both Tacoma and UP, the funding and work will be split between the two cities, with UP responsible for design work associated with Cirque, and Tacoma responsible for design on 56th. Funding will be split 50/50, which gives Tacoma $389,500 in grant funding, with a required $60,750 local match, which is budgeted and available from gas tax revenues. A resolution on this week's consent agenda would authorize an interlocal agreement with the City of University Place, for the design of the South 56th Street and Cirque Drive corridor improvements.
In the wake of the passage of I-502, while the rules and regulations associated with legalized marijuana are still being hashed out at the various levels of government, Tacoma, like so many other municipalities, is trying to figure out how it will deal with pot-related issues. Land use issues will need to be addressed when the City begins reviewing applications forwarded by the Liquor Control Board, including the definition of marijuana-related uses,designation of zoning districts where such uses would be allowed or prohibited, and the application of sensitive use buffering.
While more permanent solutions to these issues are being deliberated, the City is proposing interim regulations to provide effective policy and regulatory guidance for the review of marijuana applications, which are expected to come forward beginning in November. The proposed interim regulations would adopt marijuana-specific uses (production, processing, and retail); provide zoning and development standards for each; and add "urban horticulture" as a new use category.
A resolution on this week's consent agenda would set Tuesday, October 22 as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on these proposed interim land use regulations. If all goes ahead according to the proposed timeline, the Council could adopt the interim regulations by November 5, roughly two weeks before the WSLCB is expected to begin accepting applications for marijuana-related licenses. We've seen quite a few marijuana-related items - some passed, some postponed - and it seems like a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of game. We'll see how many steps we get this time.
As a part of its project to widen the I-5 bridge at the I-5/I-705/SR-7 interchange in Tacoma to four lanes plus one HOV lane in both directions, WSDOT needs property rights to 2,115 square feet of property within Tacoma Rail Mountain Division railroad right-of-way. WSDOT has requested to purchase the property, which is held in fee simple by TRMW, whereas most other TRMW right-of-way located within the area is held by easement rights. City staff has recommended the sale of the fee simple title for the property to WSDOT, while retaining necessary easement rights. A resolution on this week's consent agenda would set Tuesday, October 15 as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on the proposed sale of the TMRW property to WSDOT to accommodate the Interstate 5, M Street to Portland Avenue, HOV Project.
In 2010 the City Council authorized an Interlocal Agreement with Pierce Transit for the Transit Signal Priority project, which provided for equipment, installation, and annual maintenance of 86 signalized intersections in the downtown area to reduce transit delays. The initial installation work is complete, but during construction, additional services were requested by Pierce Transit of City crews. The added work adds just short of $50,000 to the $200,000 project. A resolution on this week's consent agenda would authorize an amendment to the ILA, to increase the project total by that amount. Pierce Transit will provide the additional revenue to cover the expenditures following the mutual approval of the Amendment.
We will also hear the final reading of the substitute ordinance, as introduced at last week's Council meeting, amending the TMC, as it relates to the Compensation Plan, to implement rates of pay and compensation, and changes in classification to reflect the organizational structure, for employees represented by the Professional and Technical Employees Union, Local 17, which consists of approximately 258.9 budgeted, full time positions; and the Teamsters Local Union No. 117, PAF Unit, which consists of approximately 14 budgeted, full-time positions.
The Mayor will read recognitions of three Disability Advocate of the Year Award recipients; a recognition of Tucci and Sons Inc. for their efforts on the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project to ensure access for individuals with disabilities; and a recognition of Thomas McCarthy as the Third Quarter Human Rights Champion Award recipient.
A resolution to reappoint Lillian Hunter to the Tacoma Public Library Board of Trustees for a five-year term beginning October 5, 2013 through October 5, 2018 will also be considered this week.
Once again this week a public hearing is scheduled for the appeal of the finding of the Hearing Examiner regarding the request to reclassify approximately 1.78 acres of a larger property located at 4601 South Orchard Street from a “R-2” Single-Family Dwelling District to a “M-1” Light Industrial District, as rescheduled from the September 24 meeting, as originally rescheduled from the August 20, 2013 Council meeting.
The next City of Tacoma Prop 1 info session is coming up Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Tacoma Main Library.
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