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Tacoma City Council Meeting - December 10, 2013



Resolution No. 38791 A resolution setting Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 9:00 a.m., as the date for a hearing by the Hearing Examiner on the request to vacate a portion of the alleyway air rights west of Proctor Street between North 27th and North 28th Streets. (28 Proctor Holdings LLC; File No. 124.1337) [Troy Stevens, Senior Real Estate Specialist; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

Councilmember Boe recused himself from voting to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest on the consent agenda, which passed without further comment.



Mayor Strickland proclaimed the week of December 9 through 15, 2013, as Computer Science Education Week in the City of Tacoma. The State of Washington is among the top five in hiring computer scientists, but among the bottom five for producing them. In an effort to reverse this trend and create homegrown talent, Tacoma's Computer Science Ed Week will include opportunities for students across the school district to learn to code. This video gives you an idea of the larger movement around teaching computer coding. We have to admit we're inspired.


We heard from one commenter loosely regarding the budget amendment, asking that the City balance its budget the way a family would balance its budget.




Resolution No. 38792 A resolution awarding a contract to U.S. Security Associates, Inc., in the amount of $171,741.16, sales tax not applicable, budgeted from the Solid Waste Fund, for uniformed security officer services at the Solid Waste Management Division, for an initial two-year term with the option to renew for three additional one-year terms, for a projected contract total of $429,352.90.  - Specification No. ES13-0578F. [Gary Kato, Solid Waste Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

The resolution was adopted without Council comment.

Resolution No. 38793 A resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the agreement with Petrocard, Inc., to increase the contract by $4,719,402 plus applicable sales tax, for a cumulative total of $14,106,402 budgeted from various departments, for mobile, marine and cardlock fueling and carwash services. - Specification No. UF11-0577F. [Jeffrey Jenkins, Facilities Division Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

This resolution was also adopted without Council comment.

Resolution No. 38794 A resolution awarding a contract to Ceres Environmental Services, Inc., in the amount of $9,400,414, plus applicable sales tax, budgeted from the Solid Waste Fund, for cleanup, collection and hauling services in the event of a natural disaster that overwhelms internal resources - Specification No. ES13-0064F. [Gary Kato, Solid Waste Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

City resources are generally enough to cover clean up of minor, more localized disasters, but in the event of a larger or regional disaster, the City could be overwhelmed by clean-up demands. This contract lays the groundwork for bringing in outside help in the event of a large-scale disaster. If no such disaster occurs, none of the money is spent. If a large disaster occurs, Tacoma will already have in place an agreement to guide outside assistance, and increase the potential for FEMA reimbursement. From the sound of it, these kinds of contracts for municipalities are becoming more common in the wake of disasters like hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. 



Resolution No. 38795 A resolution declaring surplus and approving the negotiated disposition of 2,115 square feet of Tacoma Rail Mountain Division Property to the Washington State Department of Transportation, in the amount of $10,500, to accommodate the I-5, M Street to Portland Avenue HOV Project. [Dylan Harrison, Real Estate Officer; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

The resolution authorizes the sale of the Tacoma Rail property to WSDOT, which needs it to widen the interstate overpass as part of its HOV project.

Resolution No. 38796 A resolution accepting a quit claim deed from Pierce County for the conveyance of a Pierce County Tax Title parcel located in the Heron Ridge Estates Phase 1 plat north of Marine View Drive in Northeast Tacoma, for the purchase price of $1,300 plus recording fees, to maintain the existing stormwater facility. [Troy Stevens, Senior Real Estate Specialist; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

The purchase of this property will allow Enviromental Services to perform inspections and maintenance as needed on the stormwater facility.



Ordinance No. 28192 An ordinance amending the 2013-2014 Biennial Budget to appropriate funds for contractual obligations, transfers, and other budget adjustments; authorizing interfund transfers and contributions; and accepting, depositing, and appropriating miscellaneous donations, contributions, and/or fees. [Tadd Wille, Budget Officer; Andy Cherullo, Director, Finance]

The ordinance passed without further Council comment. 



Ordinance No. 28193 An ordinance adopting the South Downtown Subarea Plan as an element of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. [Ian Munce, Special Assistant to the Director; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]

The subarea planning effort moves ideas for development in Tacoma's downtown beyond studies to goals, policies, and action items. According to City staff, the level of planning done here is the current standard for municipalities seeking to attract both public and private investment. The planning process has involved city departments, the UWT, and other downtown stakeholders; it will enable projects to go straight to the design phase, saving both time and money for would-be developers.

Policy actions from the plan include

  • Approval of the UWT campus master plan on a campus-wide level, giving the University flexibility on a building-by-building level within that plan
  • Alignment of downtown planning to further vision 2040 with a focus on transit-oriented development, particularly around Freighthouse Square
  • Creation of a quiet zone for trains in Dome District to encourage residential development in the area
  • Addressing affordable housing objectives recommended by the City's Affordable Housing Planning Advisory Group and the Growing Transit Communities initiative, to ensure that people who need transit are not displaced from around transit hubs, and equitable access is maintained for all
  • Programming of utility and street upgrades to complement private development

Project actions from the plan

  • Full funding for the Prairie Line Trail and Thea Foss Esplanade
  • Fully participate in the design of the new Amtrak Station
  • Rebuild Puyallup Avenue as a catalyst for transit-oriented residential and mixed-use development
  • Advance a $40 million initiative to rebuild Brewery District streets to complete street standards
  • Accelerate Sound Transit investments in Freighthouse Square access improvements

Ordinance No. 28194 An ordinance amending Chapters 13.06 and 13.06A of the Municipal Code, relating to zoning and downtown Tacoma, to make minor amendments related to the South Downtown Subarea Plan. [Ian Munce, Special Assistant to the Director; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]

This second ordinance also relates to the Subarea Plan, specifically to code actions associated with the plan.

  • Move to a market-based approach for parking in the Dome and Brewery districts, rather than prescribed maximums or minimums
  • Allow flexibility in design standards including authorizing feather signs for special events and manufacturing outlets
  • Add preservation of affordable housing to the list of Transfer of Development Rights sending sites, in keeping with the policy goal of preserving affordable housing
  • Increase the South Downtown area capacity to receive Transfer of Development Rights by restructuring the density bonus palette

The EIS associated with the South Downtown Subarea Plan, which has already been passed, pre-approves an additional 20 to 30 million square feet of new floor space in the area. The message the City wants to send with these documents is that we're open for business, and ready to work to make life easier for developers.


Ordinance No. 28195 An ordinance repealing and reenacting Chapter 1.45 of the Municipal Code, relating to Neighborhood Councils, to update language and policies relating to said program. [Carol Wolfe, Supervisor; Ricardo Noguera, Director; Community and Economic Development Department]

This ordinance, along with a resolution scheduled for next week's meeting, addresses updates to the Neighborhood Councils program established in 1992. The proposed changes come out of an extensive community outreach process. Those changes seek to address a set of objectives identified by the review process:

  • Increase opportunities for community participation and diversity
  • Emphasize leadership development and transition within the program
  • Increase opportunities for partnerships between the Neighborhood Council program and independent neighborhood groups
  • Improve communication and transparency methods



This was the date set for a public hearing by the City Council on the proposed sale of approximately 10.82 acres (1.21 miles) of real property within Tacoma Rail Mountain Division property, located in the vicinity of East D Street to Puyallup Avenue, to Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority (Sound Transit), for its Sounder Commuter Rail Service. [Gloria Fletcher, Senior Real Estate Officer; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

Acquisition of the property by Sound Transit, which has been operating on a temporary agreement for a decade now, would allow the transit agency to make greater investments in the property in the future. We heard from one commenter, who seemed to be in favor of the deal.



All of Citizens' Forum comment this month came on one topic: a petition in opposition to planned work on one block of North Bennett Street between North 34th and 36th. The street in question is a dead end street. The construction of a new home has triggered a requirement for the widening of part of the street, which residents feel would be detrimental to the neighborhood.

The main argument from the residents is that the proposed work doesn't make much sense; it would only widen a section of the road before abruptly narrowing to the current width. The proposed widening would come at the expense of space that functions as front yards for the residents currently. Public Works has been considering the issue, and has a few options to propose to residents, including a realignment of the work to one side, but it doesn't sound like not widening the road is an option.




Mayor Strickland reminded us that anyone who lives in District 1 can apply through December 12 to fill the temporary vacancy that will be left when Councilmember Ibsen takes his planned leave of absence. The Council is scheduled to make a fast-track appointment at next week's meeting.


As is so often the case, Councilmember Boe had several items to share.

  • After you drop off your District 1 application, head on over to the Pantages to see the Seattle Men’s Chorus holiday show "Play it Again, Santa."
  • Beginning this Friday through Christmas, the LeMay America's Car Museum will be presenting its 12 Days of Christmas, with different ways to celebrate the holiday every day.
  • Saturday and Sunday this weekend the Christmas Revels holiday show has the theme of Appalachia.
  • After Tuesday's City Council meeting the championship match of the inaugural Pacific Avenue Broomball Cup was played at Polar Plaza. Franciscan defeated DaVita, and the City of Tacoma Team bested the Chamber of Commerce/Tacoma Art Museum team. This week's showdown between the City and Franciscan resulted in a victory for the City, with that team taking home the very impressive Broomball Cup, courtesy of Tinkertopia.

Councilmember Ibsen shared a couple events.

Councilmember Campbell announced that there are openings on the City of Tacoma's Parking Technical Advisory Group.

Councilmember Thoms announced the Stadium Dickens Festival coming up this weekend with a torchlight parade, live music, and more.

Mayor Strickland gave a reminder for everyone shopping for the holidays to remember to support our local retailers in business districts and downtown.

Councilmember Woodards was absent.


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

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fred davie

Ordinance 28195 requires the neighborhood councils to partner with independent neighborhood groups.

Does this include ALL groups… including groups with OPPOSING viewpoints? How would that work?

December 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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