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Tacoma City Council Meeting - January 12, 2016
The meeting began with the addition of three new resolutions to the regular agenda. These three resolutions appoint council and others to the Click! oversight committee; appoint council members to serve on various regional and local committees, boards, commissions, etc; and make changes to the organization of City Council committees. See details further down in the agenda.
Resolution No. 39357 A resolution setting Thursday, February 18, 2016, at 9:00 a.m., as the date for a hearing by the Hearing Examiner on the request to vacate the south 200 feet of the alley between Martin Luther King Jr Way and South J Street, lying between South 10th and 11th Streets, for mixed-use development.
The consent agenda was adopted without comment.
Mayor Strickland proclaimed January 18, 2016 as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the City of Tacoma. The City will be hosting a free public event celebrating Dr. King’s life and legacy on Monday at the Convention Center beginning at 11 a.m. Everyone is encouraged to attend. This year’s theme is “ordinary men, extraordinary change;” the event will highlight the positive impacts of young men of color in our community.
Just one commenter this week. The speaker shared her unique world view, which seems to involve valuing trees and marijuana, and viewing the council as the “seed of Cain.” This time around she was asking that the council not cut down trees when possible, and also sharing her thoughts on the role marijuana has played in America’s history, among other topics.
Resolution No. 39358 A resolution appointing Jeff McInnis to the Planning Commission.
Deputy Mayor Mello noted that several applicants were considered, and Mr. McInnis was chosen based on his expertise and experience.
Resolution No. 39359 A resolution declaring surplus and authorizing the execution of a Quit Claim Deed to convey two parcels located at 3524 McKinley Avenue and 715 East Morton Street to Pierce Real Properties, LLC, for the amount of $281,700.
The old Sector 4 Police Station was once a grocery store. The City of Tacoma acquired it and remodeled it into a police substation in the mid 90s. The property was subsequently surplused in 2013, and classified as a tier 2 property for sale via competitive process. The purchaser plans to repurpose the building as a multi-family residential project, with a number of the units available to local artists at reduced rents.
Resolution No. 39360 A resolution appointing individuals to the Click! Engagement Committee.
This first of the late addition resolutions appoints 7 individuals to the newly formed Click! advisory group as follows:
- 2 council members – Mayor Strickland and Councilmember Campbell
- 2 utility board members – Karen Larkin and Mark Patterson
- 3 community members at large – David Hills, who has worked at Microsoft and has finance and accounting experience; Janine Terano, CEO of Tacoma-based Topia Technology; and Andrea Cobb, a member of the Tacoma Public Schools Board
The new committee will help the City explore the “all-in” option for the Click! network.
Resolution No. 39361 A resolution appointing City Council members to various national, state, regional, and local committees, boards, and commissions, including the City Council’s standing committees, for the year 2016.
This second late addition resolution is the annual update to the list of appointments to the 47 boards and commissions Tacoma’s city council members serve on around the region.
Resolution No. 39362 This is the first reading of a resolution amending the Rules of Procedure of the Council of the City of Tacoma as follows: amend Rule 15 - Standing Committees, Section A, by removing item 4, Neighborhoods and Housing, as an established standing committee; and revise item 5, Public Safety, Human Services, and Education, by changing the name to Community Vitality and Safety.
This final late addition resolution makes changes to the arrangement of city council committees. The Neighborhoods and Housing Committee is being eliminated because work done by that committee has been overlapping with other committees, so to improve efficiency, it is going away, and the work previously done by that committee will be divvyed up among the remaining committees.
The name of the Public Safety, Human Services, and Education Committee is also being changed. The new name, the Community, Vitality, and Safety Committee, is meant to more accurately reflect the work done by that group.
Because this resolution makes changes to rules and procedures, it needs a second reading, which it will get at the January 26 meeting.
We now interrupt your regularly scheduled council meeting for a special meeting of the
City of Tacoma Transportation Benefit District Governing Board Agenda
Resolution No. TBD012 A resolution setting Tuesday, January 26, 2016, at approximately 5:30 p.m., as the date for a public hearing on adjustments to the 2015-2016 Transportation Benefit District Budget and Spending Plan.
This resolution sets the hearing date for the TBD budget and spending plan.
Our commenter from regular council comment returned, missing the point a bit, but asking, among other things, that when the council builds something, they give the homeless people their own little stores to buy and sell things like cigarettes, and also that they send them up to the mountains to grow things.
PUBLIC HEARINGS AND APPEALS
This was the date set for a public hearing by the City Council on the proposed temporary moratorium on new marijuana retail uses; and requesting the Planning Commission to develop findings of fact and a recommendation.
The moratorium comes in response to the awkward process of adding medical businesses into the established recreational system. The State has raised the cap on the number of marijuana businesses allowed, and will be issuing licenses.
In Tacoma the cap will now be 16, rather than 8. Additionally, most new applications have been for stores applying both for medical and recreational retail status. Tacoma wants to ensure that proper rules are in place to deal with regulating new businesses. The City is also considering a dispersion requirement to spread the businesses around the city. The moratorium will allow time for rulemaking. It will not impact existing businesses.
Three commenters spoke. One expressing concerns that the moratorium might keep some people from getting their licenses. He also expressed concerns about access to marijuana – preserving it for those who need it, and keeping it out of the hands of youth and the underground market – and about the impact of the moratorium on businesses and job creation. Another speaker, an owner of a cannabis collective in Tacoma, said he agrees with the dispersion idea, but that he is concerned about what will happen to existing operating medical marijuana businesses. The third speaker was our returning frequent commenter for the week. She reminded the council that the planet does not belong to them, and challenged government and others making money off marijuana, and using chemicals and genetic modification on it. Her answer appears to be for people, especially homeless people, to move to the mountains where they can grow weed.
FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES
Ordinance No. 28343 An ordinance enacting a temporary moratorium on new marijuana retail uses and the establishment of marijuana cooperatives for a period of six months or until earlier terminated if the City’s marijuana-related regulations are updated.
A substitute ordinance was considered, making one significant change to what we saw earlier – the moratorium will be effective immediately, based on “emergency circumstances.” The moratorium would be in place to put a pause on new marijuana businesses in Tacoma for up to 6 months, or a shorter period of time if the City can develop regulations sooner.
The majority of public comment at this month’s Citizens’ Forum was on the proposed methanol plant. We heard from a lot of people with concerns relating to the environmental and health impacts the proposed facility might have, both locally and globally.
We heard references to the Twin Towers, Fukushima, and the Port of Tacoma becoming a “fossil fuel time bomb” with the addition of a methanol facility to the already permitted LNG facility and increasing numbers of oil and coal trains. We also heard from quite a few very educated people talking about the impacts of the proposed facility on air and water quality, and Tacoma’s economic position, as well as public safety. The comments were uniformly opposed to the plant.
The handful of other commenters spoke mainly on topics related to police accountability – with a few mentioning their push to get the City to adopt Campaign Zero for police reforms, and an older gentleman, who spoke of his involvement in the community as a volunteer and mentor, before going on to describe an incident in which he called the police as the victim in a “crisis situation,” only to end up spending multiple nights in jail. Finally, one commenter shared her concerns over increasing utility rates covering the green-ing of TPU, and another expressed some specific frustration with City processes related to road repairs and utility work.
In response to the many comments on the methanol plant issue, Mayor Strickland clarified that the Port of Tacoma is the key decision maker here, and encouraged all to share their concerns with their elected officials at the Port as well.
She also had City staff clarify the City’s involvement in the proposed deal. Tacoma has been asked to evaluate a permit process for the plant. There is no federal or state regulatory role in the siting of this project, so those agencies are not interested in serving as the lead agency on impact studies. The City stepped in, taking the lead role as the permit is applied for and evaluated.
The feds will have a role in the laying of pipeline to the facility, and numerous environmental agencies at state and federal levels will play a role in evaluating the various impacts of the plant on shorelines, water, air, and other environmental factors. The permit process for which Tacoma is serving as the lead will take about a year, at the applicant’s expense.
Public meetings are scheduled related to setting the scope of the permitting process, which will produce a draft Environmental Impact Statement. That will then trigger a whole new round of public comment opportunities. When the EIS process is complete, there will be multiple separate permit processes, each with their own rounds of public comment.
REPORTS BY THE CITY MANAGER
City Manager Broadnax reported on the culminating Project PEACE event. The Project PEACE (Partnering for Equity And Community Engagement) process brought more than 550 community members out to a series of public conversations, where they discussed their relationships, interactions, and perceptions of Tacoma police.
The final, scheduled for February 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Convention Center, event will bring together facilitators and others from those meetings to share the comments collected. The City will also share specific proposals to respond to what it heard from the conversations. There will be an opportunity for public feedback on those proposals at this final meeting. Childcare and parking will be provided (or take the Link), but an RSVP is requested.
COMMENTS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
Councilmember Campbell announced an event called Building a Healthy Eastside Neighborhood, which is coming up at the Salishan Family Investment Center on Friday, January 22 for residents, and on January 23 for businesses involved in health-related services. The events will be all-day conversations about health inequities throughout Tacoma.
Councilmember Woodards announced an additional MLK Day event to be held at UW Tacoma on Monday, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. after the City’s MLK Day main event. The event, called Flip the Script, will recognize men of color as community assets. Everyone is encouraged to join the event.
For more on items on this week’s agenda, see our City Business Preview for the week.
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