Tacoma City Council Meeting - April 1, 2014



Ordinance No. 28213 An ordinance vacating a portion of the alleyway air rights west of Proctor Street between North 27th and North 28th Streets, for the development of a mixed-use building. (28 Proctor Holdings, LLC; File No. 124.1337) [Phyllis Macleod, Hearing Examiner]

Councilmember Boe recused himself from commenting or voting on the ordinance in order to avoid any potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest. The rest of the Council passed the item without further comment. It will get a final reading at a date to be determined.



The young women of the 2014 Daffodil Festival Royal Court were introduced to Mayor Strickland and the Council. Congratulations ladies, and best wishes for all your future endeavors.

The Mayor proclaimed April 1, 2014 as National Service Recognition Day in honor of the contributions of those who serve in the various national service organizations. Volunteers in the various programs, including AmeriCorps and Senior Corps, provide support to residents and improve the quality of life in communities across the country, including Tacoma. We heard statements from Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer on the importance of the work done by these volunteers. Mayor Strickland urged all residents to recognize the impacts of service and thank those who serve; and to find a way to give back.



One commenter spoke this week, regarding the Hotel Murano/City deal. The comment wasn't for or against the deal, but a question relating to process, and whether in the future a wage standard attached to economic development incentives could establish a clear expectation that would either be accepted by the developer, or would clearly discourage them from locating here, thus avoiding that particular contentious issue.



A motion was considered to authorize the City’s full and final settlement of all pending and potential claims by KS Tacoma Holdings LLC against the City of Tacoma, relating to the development of Foss Waterway Site 4, upon the following terms: sale of Tax Parcel No. 2013060013 and the southern half of Parcel No. 2013070011, consisting of the parking lots south of the Murano Hotel and south of the Bicentennial Pavilion, to KS Tacoma for the amount of $1,245,000 and KS Tacoma’s (1) dismissal of KS Tacoma’s appeal of KS Tacoma Holdings LLC vs. Foss Waterway Development Authority, Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 13-2-11783-1; (2) KS Tacoma’s covenant not to bring any lawsuits relating to the development of Foss Waterway Site 4; and (3) KS Tacoma’s covenant not to bring any lawsuits relating to development at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center site, provided that such development does not include any City subsidy as defined by the parties.

Councilmember Boe remarked that he had received a lot of comment on this issue, much of which was confusion over the deal, particularly relating to the value of the property (see TNT articles from March 29 and March 30). Ultimately, Boe said, he was glad to see the matter come forward for a solution after remaining unresolved for so many years. Boe called it a win on multiple levels, as it would return the properties, which have been generating very little revenue, to Tacoma's tax rolls, while also freeing up Foss Waterfront Site 4 for development, and allowing hotel projects to move forward. The motion was adopted unanimously by the Council.



Resolution No. 38868 A resolution awarding a contract to Brian Douglas Scott (BDS) Planning and Urban Design, in the amount of $300,000, sales tax not applicable, budgeted from the General Fund, for the creation of a Citywide Strategic Plan and Visioning document - Specification No. CM 14-0066F. Nadia Chandler Hardy, Assistant to the City Manager; T.C. Broadnax, City Manager]

Mayor Strickland noted that the planning and visioning process funded by this resolution was a recommendation that came directly from the City's Fiscal Sustainability Task Force, which recommended the City develop a bigger picture vision to better understand where its priorities lie. Under "Recommendations" in the Task Force's final report:

"The City should undertake a long-term visioning process: what kind of city does Tacoma want to be in 10 years, in 20 years? How will we get there? As part of this, it will be important to determine what level of City services are truly affordable within the City’s revenue stream."


Resolution No. 38869 A resolution awarding a contract to IMCO General Construction, Inc., on its bid of $5,050,775, plus sales tax, plus a 20 percent contingency, for a cumulative total of $6,060,930, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, for flood protection improvements at the Central Treatment Plant -Specification No. ES13-0557F.[Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

City staff described the treatment plant as being at "grave risk" if the Puyallup River ever overflows its banks. In that situation the treatment plant could be incapacitated for weeks or even months, meaning that wastewater (sewage) meant to be treated by the plant would flow directly into Commencement Bay, meaning health and safety risks that could close beaches, harm shellfish populations, and make the City liable for up to $35,000 per day in fines from regulators. There would also be the potential for sewage to back up into surrounding businesses. The City was able to obtain grant funding from the regional Flood Control District that means that ratepayers will not directly bear the costs of the $6 million project.


Resolution No. 38870 A resolution awarding a contract to Coatings Unlimited, Inc., on its bid of $255,000, plus sales tax, plus a $35,000 contingency, for a cumulative total of $290,000, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, for cleaning and recoating exposed metal on two clarifiers located at the North End Wastewater Treatment Plant 3 - Specification No. ES13-0496F. [Hugh Messer, Interim Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

The resolution was adopted without comment.


Resolution No. 38871 A resolution awarding a contract to Tucci and Sons, Inc., on its bid of $1,740,853.30, sales tax not applicable, plus a 10 percent contingency, for a cumulative total of $1,914,938.63, budgeted from the Transportation Capital Fund, for bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements from South 96th Street and Park Avenue in South Tacoma, to North 26th and Pearl Streets in North Tacoma - Specification No. PW13-0274F. [Darius Thompson, Engineer; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

Council members Boe and Mello thanked everyone who worked on this project, including all the cyclists who shared their feedback on where improvements are needed. Boe urged everyone to give the bikeway a try as a way of getting from one end of Tacoma to the other. Mayor Strickland commented that creating a safe bikeway for non-motorized travel from one end of town to another acknowledges that people get around town in a variety of ways - some by choice, some because of necessity - and makes it safer for them to do so.


Resolution No. 38872 A resolution awarding a contract to BCRA, Inc., on its bid of $357,546.38, sales tax not applicable, budgeted from the Paths & Trails and Surface Water Funds, for the design of Phase 1 of the Prairie Line Trail between South 17th Street and Dock Street - Specification No. PW13-0048F. [Chris Storey, P.E., Engineer; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

For the third time this meeting, Councilmember Boe recited that he would be recusing himself from commenting or voting on the item to avoid any potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest. Other than that, the resolution passed without comment.


Resolution No. 38873 A resolution awarding a contract to WAT, Inc. (Wireless Access Technologies), in the amount of $800,000, plus sales tax, budgeted from the General Fund, for mobile computers, hardware and accessories for Tacoma Police patrol officers, for an initial three-year term with the option to renew for two additional one-year periods, for a projected contract total of $1,257,101.50 - Specification No. PD13-0742F. [Daniel Cox, Senior IT Analyst; Donald Ramsdell, Chief, Tacoma Police Department]

The resolution was adopted without Council comment.



Resolution No. 38874 A resolution adopting the 2014 Washington State Department of Transportation Standard Specifications for Road, Bridge, and Municipal Construction.[Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

The resolution adopts state requirements for transportation construction projects. The standards, which come to Council every two years to be updated, must be adopted and followed in order for projects to qualify for grant funding. The standards include general contract requirements, technical and material specifications, and measurement and payment requirements. The resolution was adopted without council comment.



Ordinance No. 28211 An ordinance continuing the downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA) for the twenty seventh year, providing for the levy of assessments and other income in the amount of $826,364; and approving the renewed BIA work plan, budget, and assessment rates from May 1, 2014 through April 30, 2015. [Debbie Bingham, Program Development Specialist; Ricardo Noguera, Director, Community and Economic Development]

Councilmember Thoms thanked everyone who worked on this, and the ordinance was unanimously adopted.


Ordinance No. 28212 An ordinance modifying the existing boundaries of the Business Improvement Area to include the abutting northern properties on Stadium Way. [Debbie Bingham, Program Development Specialist; Ricardo Noguera, Director, Community and Economic Development]

The ordinance was unanimously adopted without further comment.



This is the date set for a public hearing by the City Council regarding amendments to Chapters 13.05 and 13.06 of the Municipal Code, relating to Land Use Permit Procedures and Zoning, to establish a permitting process and development standards for temporary homeless camps within the City of Tacoma that are run by religious organizations.[John Harrington, Principal Planner; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services] 

State law authorizes religious organizations to host temporary homeless camps, but gives cities the authority to impose conditions on those camps specifically to protect public health and safety. In developing the proposed standards for Tacoma, a public outreach process was conducted, and an application fee structure was developed.

The new Temporary Homeless Camp Permit process developed includes a 14-day public notice required within 400 feet of the site, inspections by Planning, Fire, and Health departments, and a cross-departmental review of the plan and site, with the final decision going to the Planning director, who would have the discretion to attach additional requirements to any proposed plan.

Occupants of these camps would be adults only, and would have to undergo warrant and background checks. Any site hosting one of these camps would be required to provide a minimum square-footage for occupants, and would have to be located within one quarter mile of a transit stop. Only two camps would be allowed in Tacoma at any one time, each for a maximum of 93 days, with two years in between camps at any one site. There would be an exception for "hard surface" locations, where camps would be allowed to last for 123 days, with at least 18 months in between.

Sites would be required to provide showers, toilets, hand-washing facilities, and garbage, water, and power for residents. Fencing, setback, and security planning requirements are also included in the permit process. Staff expects to send the final wording of an ordinance to Council for a first reading on April 15.

Mayor Strickland clarified that by state law cities cannot ban these camps, so the requirements are designed to be respectful of that, while also protecting health and safety of both the occupants of camps, and of nearby residents and businesses.

Four commenters spoke to the issue. The first two said they both work with homeless populations, but reported differing responses from those they had discussed the issue with. The first said the homeless individuals he had spoken with were opposed to the camps, citing concerns about safety and drug use, and additional strains on police. The second commenter described conversations with homeless individuals who support the idea of the camps as places where a drug-free, crime-free environment can be enforced, but where they can still have flexibility and independence, particularly for those who might find part-time work or other opportunities that require a mailing address or hours outside of the traditional shelter schedule.

A third commenter spoke largely in favor of the regulations, referencing his own experience with homelessness. He suggested a few revisions, hoping to see the reference to sponsoring organizations as specifically religious removed, to allow other organizations to host the camps, expressing concern that the proposed permit cost would make the process prohibitively expensive, and suggesting that the proposed number of occupants should not be a part of the application process. 

The final commenter, from the Central Neighborhood Committee, voiced concerns about the challenge of regulating activity in and around the camps, referencing challenges from Nickelsville as an example of self-policing not working. He expressed a further concern that Tacoma not look like a "haven for this kind of activity," and a concern that if we establish such camps, the occupants will simply move as a consolidated group from place to place.



City Manager Broadnax had two items to share this week.

  • The City Manager recognized, congratulated, and thanked Bob Yerbury, who retired earlier this year after 44 years of service with the Tacoma Police Department. That makes him the longest serving commissioned officer in the history of the department. The son of a TPD officer, Yerbury received 48 commendations in his career, and was recognized for his work on homicide cases, and for saving the life of a six-year old boy.
  • Broadnax also welcomed the newest Management Fellow in the City Manager's Office, Genesis Gavino. Welcome Genesis.



Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability Committee – Councilmember Mello reported on recent topics addressed by the committee.

  • Environmental Sustainability Management System – The Environmental Services Department was competitively selected to receive a scholarship for training and implementation of an environmental and sustainability management system. The system is designed to help manage environmental risk, improve environmental performance, and promote a culture of continuous improvement.
  • The committee received reports from the Planning Commission, Board of Building Appeals, Sustainable Tacoma Commission, and the Transportation Commission on their 2013 achievements and goals and workplans for 2014.
  • Growing Transit Communities Initiative – The committee hosted a conversation with the Puget Sound Regional Council on the initiative, to which Tacoma is a signatory. The conversation focused on identifying policies that can further encourage high quality living units within walking distance of transit.
  • Received a presentation on the Transfer of Development Rights program.
  • Heard briefings from Environmental Services on limiting construction and demolition waste, and on the Water Pollution Permit update process.

At its next meeting the committee will discuss progress on Tacoma's Transportation Master Plan.

Councilmember Boe had three items to share:

  • The Second City Chamber Series will be presenting a program titled "The Artistry of Women" this Friday at Annie Wright, featuring chamber music built around women composers of the twentieth century.
  • If you wish to opt out of the TNT non-subscriber advertising circulars, you can do so by emailing customerservice@thenewstribune.com or by calling 800-289-8711
  • Boe also thanked his fellow council members for working with him on a proposal to rename Tacoma as "Portcouver," a change he described as truly branding us as the "gateway to Cascadia."

Deputy Mayor Woodards thanked City staff and UWT for putting on the Women's History Month film series. At the final film of the series three Tacoma women were honored with awards. The late Chancellor of UWT, Debra Friedman for her achievements, Kathleen Merriman for her ongoing work, and My'Kaila Young, a young woman who has overcome significant adversity, and is now a student at UW Seattle.

Mayor Strickland reminded us that the Daffodil Parade is this Saturday, and she hopes to see you all there.

The Mayor also announced that in the next few days you may get a postcard in the mail, inviting you to participate in an upcoming public meeting on Wednesday, April 9, and a telephone town hall meeting on Thursday, April 17. Both meetings are opportunities for citizens to weigh in on the work of the 2014 Charter Review Committee. You can learn more at Cityoftacoma.org/charterreview


For more on the items on this week's agenda, see our City Business Preview for the week.

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fred davie

What Tacoma really needs is a ......$300,000 visioning document. We need this because we have such a large quantity of surplus funds that we don’t know what to do with. Forget that the document will just be a rehash of everything our council has previously gone on record in favor of and forget that the report will consigned to a dusty shelf somewhere and forgotten.  The council is blowing through gobs of tax money on superficial stuff and that’s what us low information voters expect. BRAVO

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