Tacoma City Council Meeting - April 15, 2014



Resolution No. 38881 A resolution setting Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at approximately 5:30 p.m., as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on the Draft Hilltop Subarea Plan and proposed amendments to Chapters 13.06 and 13.17 of the Municipal Code, relating to Zoning and Mixed-Use Center Development. [Brian Boudet, Planning Manager; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]

Resolution No. 38882 A resolution authorizing the execution of a grant agreement with the Washington State Department of Ecology in the amount of $277,722; accepting and depositing said sum into the Surface Water Fund, to perform laboratory testing and field testing of stormwater treatment media at Wapato Lake located in South Tacoma. [Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Division Manager, Science & Engineering;Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

Resolution No. 38883 A resolution authorizing the execution of a grant agreement with the Washington State Department of Ecology, in the amount of $170,000; accepting and depositing said sum into the Surface Water Fund, to assist with the implementation of the City’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. [Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Division Manager, Science & Engineering; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

Resolution No. 38884 A resolution authorizing the execution of a grant agreement with the Washington State Department of Ecology, in the amount of $3,000,000; accepting and depositing said sum into the Surface Water Fund, for the Gravel Pit Regional Detention Project in the South Tacoma Flett Watershed.[Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Division Manager, Science & Engineering; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

The consent agenda was adopted without comment.



Two commenters spoke regarding the proposed rules around homeless camps in Tacoma. Both acknowledged (perhaps grudgingly) that the City has to accept the homeless camps, as is required by State law, but asked that the Council consider creating a means of ensuring the camps are distributed around the various neighborhoods of Tacoma, taking into account what one commenter called the "saturation" of individuals with "these special needs." Both speakers - from the Stadium Business District and New Tacoma Neighborhood - did a fairly good job of communicating that they would prefer not to have the camps in their back yards, while avoiding actually saying NIMBY.



Motion to authorize the City Manager to negotiate a Development Agreement with Yareton Investment & Management WA LLC of Seattle, WA for development of a hotel and mixed use project on an approximate two-acre City-owned site at 17th Street and Broadway adjoining the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center. 

As a part of a City move to identify sites among its properties with good potential for development, the two acres adjacent to the Convention Center was listed as a "Tier 1" property, with good potential for being put to greater use. Earlier this year the City released an RFI for developers interested in a hotel/mixed-use development. The RFI asked for a minimum 250-room, four-star hotel, as well as retail, residential and/or office space and parking. Five responses came in, with only the Yareton proposal meeting the vision, and not requiring subsidies.

Council members voiced support for the partnership, with Councilmember Thoms calling foreign direct investment agreements complicated, and saying that this will be an opportunity for Tacoma to prove itself to be a good partner for such projects. Because deals of this sort are so complex, Thoms said, it's important that Tacoma show itself to be a willing and competent partner, in order to reap the benefits of investment dollars and job creation. Councilmember Boe pointed out that not only would this deal put the property back on the tax rolls, it would also improve the competitiveness of the Convention Center by allowing larger conventions to reserve blocks of rooms right next door. The Convention Center is currently only operating at 27 to 28% of its capacity, and a lack of blocks of rooms is one of the obstacles that has been named to increasing that use. Mayor Strickland reminded us that this is just the beginning, giving the City Manager the okay to negotiate with the investors, but that it is a good start towards attracting more foreign direct investment. 

The motion carried unanimously.



Resolution No. 38885 A resolution awarding a contract to Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., for an initial contract term of two years, in the amount of $212,721.77, sales tax not applicable, budgeted from the Transportation Capital Fund, to provide traffic engineering services during design and construction of the South Tacoma Way Corridor Multimodal Improvements Project - Specification No. PW13-0048F.[Said Seddiki, P.E., Engineering Project Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

Councilmember Boe recused himself from discussion or voting on the item to avoid any potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest. The resolution passed without other comment.



Resolution No. 38886 A resolution authorizing the use of up to $10,000, budgeted from the Council Contingency Fund, to support an installation of artwork at the University of Puget Sound honoring Dr. Gordon Klatt. [Mayor Strickland]

Mayor Strickland requested the one-time use of contingency funds to honor Dr. Gordon Klatt, who started Relay for Life. The Mayor described Dr. Klatt as an example of the difference that one person can make, and described the Relay for Life movement as putting Tacoma on the map. Strickland referred to the investment of Council funds as “finish line funding” to complete a project that has all the other funding lined up to make it happen. The resolution passed unanimously.



Ordinance No. 28215 An ordinance amending Chapter 1.12 of the Municipal Code, relating to the Compensation Plan, to implement rates of pay and compensation for employees represented by the Teamsters Local Union No. 117, General Unit.[David Topaz, Labor Negotiator; Joy St. Germain, Director, Human Resources]

The ordinance passed without comment.



Ordinance No. 28216 An ordinance amending Chapters 2.09, 13.05, and 13.06, of the Municipal Code, relating to the Fee Code, Land Use Permit Procedures, and Zoning, to create a defined permitting process for temporary homeless camps and implement a permit fee. [John Harrington, Principal Planner; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]

The permit and permit process set out in the proposed amendments would create rules for homeless camps in Tacoma, as provided for by State law. The regulations set out processes and fee structures for permitting the camps, as well as outlining where, for how long, and how close together the camps can be, and who can stay in them. Councilmember Walker pointed out that the City is required by State law to allow the camps, but that Tacoma has existing homeless programs, and she doesn't expect to see a huge rush to establish camps. The City is allowed by the State to set rules governing the camps where it is in the interest of public health and safety, but cannot go beyond those objectives.

In response to questions from council members Boe and Lonergan about whether the issue of distribution had been considered, staff responded that the Planning Commission and others had looked at the map of potential sites (as limited by other conditions), and felt that the distribution would de facto end up spreading the impact between various neighborhoods.  In response to public comments requesting that the City require that location of the camps be spread out, the City attorney explained that such a rule could only be implemented if it could be proven to be a matter of public health or safety. The ordinance comes back for a final reading next week, hopefully with a map of potential sites.



Assistant City Manager Tansy Hayward shared three items.

  • Tacoma's senior centers will be holding spring celebration events this week. This Thursday, April 17, the Spring Bunny will visit the Lighthouse Senior Center at 5016 A Street at 10 a.m., followed by a visit to the Beacon Senior Center at 415 South 13th at about 11 a.m. This would be a chance for people who haven't visited the City's senior centers to do so. The senior centers provide lunch for individuals over 50, Monday through Friday, and have a variety of volunteer opportunities.
  • The Washington chapter of the American Public Works Association is holding its spring conference of over 350 public works professionals from all over the state at the Tacoma Convention Center right now.
  • Hayward congratulated Tacoma Police Officer Shelby Boyd, who was voted best police officer in Tacoma in the Tacoma Weekly's Best of 2014 awards.



Neighborhoods and Housing Committee – Councilmember Walker reported on recent work of the committee.

  • Discussed the permit process for temporary homeless camps in Tacoma, including regulations to protect public health and safety.
  • Reviewed funding recommendations of the Community and Economic Development Department for the City’s proposed 2014-2015 action plan for housing and community development. A public hearing on recommendations will be held next Tuesday, April 22.
  • Heard updates on the Rapid Removal Graffiti pilot program and on the code compliance 2014 windshield survey.
  • Interviewed Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority applicants; reappointed one and selected one new member.

At its next meeting the committee will discuss housing and foreclosure trends.

Councilmember Thoms reminded us that Walk Tacoma 2014 continues its series of guided walks Wednesday afternoon, with a Museum Walk, meeting at the Children’s Museum at 15th and Pacific for a walk followed by a social afterward at Anthem Coffee and Tea.

Councilmember Ibsen reported that he spoke to several hundred youth at the fifth annual Jobfest Job Fair at the STAR Center. Ibsen also mentioned the City’s Summer Jobs 253 program for youth employment.

Councilmember Boe had a couple things to share.

Councilmember Campbell congratulated Mayor Strickland on being voted Politician of the Year in the Tacoma Weekly’s Best of 2014 awards. Campbell also thanked the Mayor and others for joining the ribbon cutting in the Lincoln District of the new Hong Kong Super Market. The event, complete with fireworks, opens the new market in the space where the Lincoln Bowling Alley used to be. It’s just one of the projects remodeling and reopening retail spaces in the business district, including remodels for Vien Dong, what used to be Jubilee Burgers is now Amp Coffee, and the Flying Boots has now reopened.



For more on the items on this week’s agenda, see our City business preview for the week.

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