Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of September 29, 2015

Live/Work and Work/Live

Changes being proposed to how the City of Tacoma handles spaces that serve as both business and residence will get some attention this week. Proposed amendments to the Land Use code related to Live/Work and newly proposed Work/Live categories of use will be the topic of discussion at this week’s council study session and then at a public hearing by the council during its regular weekly meeting.

In 2012 Tacoma amended the code to allow for live/work and work/live uses as a way of promoting increased local activity, reduced commuting, expanded entrepreneurial opportunities, housing affordability, community interaction, and facilitating the reuse and rehabilitation of older, under-utilized buildings.

The new changes being proposed would refine the code in this area, providing more incentives for these kinds of uses, and strengthening the connection between those incentives and the reuse and rehabilitation of older and historic buildings. This would be done by limiting some development flexibilities to buildings constructed before December 5, 1989, and other only for historic buildings.

Other changes to the code would make clarifications around the need for business licenses, who would be allowed to occupy the residential portion of a unit, where the units would be allowed, and would expand the definition of “historic buildings” for the purpose of this section to include officially recognized historic structures, and those with the potential to be officially recognized on historic registers.

Find more details here.


Federal Legislative Updates

At this week's Study Session, the council will also hear a briefing on what to expect from Congress for the remainder of the year and in 2016.


Transportation Improvement Program

An ordinance up for its first reading on this week’s regular council meeting agenda would adopt Tacoma’s Six-Year Comprehensive Transportation Improvement Program, amended for 2016-2021. Washington cities are required to update these plans annually, allowing them to compete for state and federal transportation project funds. The plan is a kind of wish list for Transportation projects – projects each city has prioritized, and for which it may or may not have funding yet.

Among the funded projects proposed to be added to Tacoma's plan this year are the design phase for sidewalk and related improvements along Ruston Way for safety and compliance, and a second phase of pedestrian crossing improvements in all districts.

Additional unfunded projects to be added to the list include the reconstruction of Ruston Way along that same stretch between McCarver and North 49th, road replacement along Market Street between South 9th and 17th, the Lincoln District streetscape, bikeways around the STAR Center, Phase 2 of the Prairie Line Trail (south of the UW Tacoma campus), and various pedestrian improvements in Hilltop and south downtown.

Projects will also be removed from the plan, because they have been completed, consolidated with other projects, or because they are no longer a priority.


Air Guns, Air Rifles, B-B Guns, & Slingshots

Last week we heard the first reading of an ordinance that would make changes to how Tacoma code handles air guns, air rifles, B-B guns, and slingshots. The changes would make it legal to possess these items. It will remain illegal to discharge them in the city, but an exception would be created for indoor, recreational facilities licensed for their use. That ordinance is up for a final reading this week.


Other Items

The parent company of the Summit charter school recently opened at the corner of East D Street and Puyallup Avenue has filed a petition for the vacation of the adjacent alley between D and E streets north of Puyallup Ave for a passenger drop-off and bus zone. A resolution on this week’s council meeting consent agenda would set Thursday, November 5, at 9 a.m. as the date for a hearing by the Hearing Examiner.

October 2015 will be proclaimed as Tacoma Arts Month and Filipino American History Month.

A purchase resolution on this week’s agenda would authorize an amendment to a contract for occasional warranty and non-warranty services, repairs, and parts for the City’s John Deere equipment on an as-needed basis, increasing the contract by $200,000 to a total of $400,000, and extending it through November 30, 2017.

A resolution on this week’s regular council meeting agenda would authorize an agreement between the City of Tacoma and Pierce County for Tacoma to provide household hazardous waste collection services to Pierce County residents for $875,000 for an initial 5-year term, with an option to renew for an additional 2-year term, with a projected total of $1,225,000, to be 100% reimbursed by Pierce County beginning January 1, 2016.

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