Tacoma City Council Meeting - March 18, 2014

It was a long agenda for this week's Council meeting, but they managed to knock it out, Citizens' Forum and all, in just over an hour.

CONSENT AGENDA

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution No. 38857 A resolution setting Tuesday, April 1, 2014, at approximately 5:30 p.m., as the date 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]

Resolution No. 38858 A resolution setting Thursday, April 24, 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 South Adams Street right-of-way north of South 62nd Street to purchase a section of the parking lot. (HG Holdings, LLC; File No. 124.1340) [Troy Stevens, Sr. Real Estate Specialist; Kurtis D. Kingsolver P.E., Director, Public Works]

FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES

Ordinance No. 28210 An ordinance vacating a portion of Dock Street air rights north of State Route 509, to allow building modulation and design features for a mixed-use project located at 1933 Dock Street. (Henry Foss Group, LLC; File No. 124.1338) [Phyllis Macleod, Hearing Examiner]

The consent agenda was adopted, including the first reading of this ordinance, and the findings of the Hearing Examiner related to it. It will get a final reading on next week's 

 

PROCLAMATIONS/RECOGNITIONS/PRESENTATIONS/ANNOUNCEMENTS

Mayor Strickland proclaimed March 18, 2014, as Tacoma Kick Butts Day, and encouraged everyone to be tobacco-free, noting the benefits of being a tobacco-free community.

 

PUBLIC COMMENT

David Schroedel from the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber presented the Council with an annual report sharing what Tacoma’s downtown Business Improvement Area has accomplished. Schroedel noted that the BIA has not seen a rate increase in five years, and encouraged the Council to support extending its contract for another year.
 

 

REGULAR AGENDA

APPOINTMENTS

Resolution No. 38859 A resolution reappointing John. R (Jack) Connelly to the Tacoma Public Library Board of Trustees for a five-year term beginning March 18, 2014 through March 18, 2019. [Doris Sorum, City Clerk; Elizabeth Pauli, City Attorney]

Connelly was reappointed with the Mayor thanking him for his commitment to the library and to literacy.

 

PURCHASE RESOLUTIONS

Resolution No. 38860 A resolution awarding a contract to Rognlin’s, Inc., on its bid of $2,744,610, plus sales tax, plus a 20 percent contingency, for a cumulative total of $3,293,532, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, for upgrades to the Solids Dewatering Facility Upgrade Project - Specification No. PW13-0074F.[Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

In order to avoid the potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest, Councilmember Boe recused himself from voting or discussion on the resolution, which the rest of the Council passed without further comment.

Resolution No. 38861 A resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the agreement with CH2M HILL Engineers, Inc., in the amount of $122,706.31, sales tax not applicable, for a cumulative total of $649,573.96, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, to increase the contract for consultant engineering services associated with the design of the Central Treatment Plant Flood Protection project through December 31, 2017 - Specification No. CT12-0001F. [Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

Ditto the previous item.

 

RESOLUTIONS

Resolution No. 38862 A resolution declaring surplus and authorizing the execution of a Quit Claim Deed to convey approximately 10.82 acres of property located southeast of East Q Street, to Central Puget Sound Transit Authority (Sound Transit), for its Sounder Commuter Rail service and infrastructure improvements to reduce major congestion and increase safety. [Jennifer Hines, Assistant Division Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

At its January 14, 2014 meeting the Council approved a deal that gave a chunk of surplus City-owned land to Sound Transit. Since that time, Sound Transit identified two additional parcels of City property that it would need for the operation of its Sounder service. This resolution adds those parcels to the earlier deal. The resolution was adopted without Council comment.

 

Resolution No. 38863 RES38863 A resolution approving the 2014 City of Tacoma Strategic Direction.

Each year the Council identifies its objectives for the upcoming 12 months. Items listed will not necessarily be complete in 2014, but they will be the focus of City resources, efforts, and and attention, and inform staff as to priorities for the year. 

The Tacoma City Council Strategic Direction for 2014 include overarching policy priorities that guide Council decisions in a broad way.

  • Strengthen and maintain a Strong Fiscal Management position. 
  • Strengthen and support Public Safety, Human Services, Public Education, and Diverse Higher Learning Opportunities in Tacoma. 
  • Foster Neighborhood, Community, and Economic Development Vitality and Sustainability. 
  • Plan for and improve Public Infrastructure that meets the Transportation needs of all Tacoma residents and visitors. 
  • Encourage and promote an Open, Effective, Results-oriented Organization. 

​Also included in the Strategic Direction are a set of more concrete focus areas for the Council in 2014.

  1. Implement a Community and Organization Equity and Empowerment Initiative - The focus here is on developing equitable access to opportunities both in the larger Tacoma community and within the City's own operations.
  2. Focus on development of the South Tacoma and Lincoln District Mixed Use centers - The Council will focus on improving the infrastructure, cleanliness, and general attractiveness of these two business districts.
  3. Cultivate strong relationships with primary employers in Tacoma and leverage their presence to attract potential investors.
  4. Develop a comprehensive Greenroads program to improve water quality and neighborhood infrastructure.
  5. Make Tacoma a ''Welcoming City" and cultivate an immigrant-friendly environment. 
  6. Make Tacoma more physically attractive (2013-2014). 
  7. Develop and implement a comprehensive transportation plan (2013-2014). 
  8. Develop and implement a marketing/communication campaign (2013-2014). - To tell people about the great things going on in Tacoma.

The first five of these objectives are new items for 2014. The last three are carried over from past year(s), and represent longer-term efforts.

 

Resolution No. 38864 A resolution expressing support for the passage of Proposition No. 1 submitted by the Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma at the April 22, 2014 Special Election, which reads as follows:

METROPOLITAN PARK DISTRICT OF TACOMA
SPECIAL ELECTION - PROPOSITION NO. 1
NEIGHBORHOOD PARKS & ZOO
IMPROVEMENTS AND SAFETY UPGRADES
GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS - $198,000,000

The Board of Park Commissioners of the Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma adopted Resolution No. RR15-14 concerning bonds for neighborhood parks and recreation facilities and safety improvements. If approved, this proposition will authorize the District to upgrade Point Defiance Park, Zoo & Aquarium, exhibits and critical animal-support systems; improve parks, security, deteriorating playgrounds, pools, sports playfields, family community centers; expand waterfront access; preserve cultural and historical landmarks; protect natural areas, lakes, creeks, trails; clean up arsenic-contaminated parks; issue $198,000,000 of general obligation bonds maturing within a maximum of 20 years and levy annual excess property taxes to repay the bonds, as provided in Resolution RR15-14.

Should Proposition No. 1 be:

APPROVED? [ ]
REJECTED? [ ]

Councilmember Campbell explained his support for the bond measure with the simple statement that "great cities have great parks." Everyone uses them differently, but they bring value to the city and its citizens, Campbell said, noting that this measure covers improvements across the city and across the variety of uses. Councilmember Lonergan pointed to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, and the benefits that Tacoma sees from having such a destination attraction. Lonergan noted that the aquarium, built in the 1960s, houses more than half of the zoo's animal population, and is badly in need of replacement after 50 years. Lonergan encouraged all Tacoma residents to review the bond measure carefully, come to a decision based on the facts, and vote. Councilmember Ibsen called our parks, and Point Defiance in particular, "iconic Tacoma," noting that investing in parks makes economic sense in light of all the visitors to our parks. Councilmember Woodards expressed support for Metro Parks' ability to leverage the investment of the proposed bond dollars, just as they have past investments, to make Tacoma better.

The special election is scheduled for April 22nd, which also just happens to be Earth Day.

 

FINAL READING OF ORDINANCES

Ordinance No. 28207 An ordinance amending Chapters 6B.10 and 6B.20 of the Municipal Code, relating to General License Provisions and Annual Business Licenses, to clarify rental property owner and business license requirements and align administrative provisions with tax administrative provisions. [Danielle Larson, Division Manager, Tax & License; Andy Cherullo, Director, Finance]

The ordinance was adopted without further comment.

Ordinance No. 28208 An ordinance amending Title 6 of the Municipal Code, entitled “Tax and License Code”, by amending various sections to correct language and citations that are not consistent with other sections in the Municipal Code and the Revised Code of Washington. [Danielle Larson, Division Manager, Tax & License; Andy Cherullo, Director, Finance]

The ordinance was adopted without further comment.

Ordinance No. 28209 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 was adopted without further comment.

 

FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES

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]

This ordinance would continue Tacoma's downtown BIA for a 27th year. BIAs are public/private partnerships that use special assessments to finance improvements or services within a designated area. Tacoma's downtown BIA was first introduced in 1988, and currently covers the area from South 7th to South 21st, and from A Street to Court D. Services provided include security maintenance, and marketing/community relations, with security taking up the bulk of the budget. The BIA also provides street cleaning, graffiti removal, and other services within its boundaries. The BIA's proposed 2014 budget of $953,520 would come entirely from members.

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 would approve the addition of four parcels directly abutting the current northern boundary of the BIA. All four are owned by the McMenamins, who have requested the expansion to include their property. The addition of the Elks property and adacent lot would add $3,000 to the total amount assessed for the BIA, based on the lower vacant property rates. This presumably will change when the property is no longer vacant.

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS AND APPEALS

This is the date set for a public hearing by the City Council to consider 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]

BIA boundaries can be modified if over 50% of the members support the change. This expansion would add four parcels owned by the same owner, who has requested their addition. There would be no budget impact to the City, and a public notice was issued to all current BIA members. No one came forward to speak to the public hearing.

 

CITIZENS’ FORUM

It was a fairly full house for Citizens' Forum this month. We heard from two of our more regular commenters. The first continued his ongoing... comments on "dangerous David Ladenburg," this week including the Girl Scouts of America, Canadian two-time Olympic medalist Shannon Szabados, and the sons and daughters of Govenor Inslee in his rant comments. The second returned with his continuing request that the Council "do the right thing" by requesting a "racial assessment" of the Tacoma Police Department.

Several commenters spoke on the importance of bike safety to Tacoma, including the importance of providing safe bike routes, lanes, and crosswalks in the city, and of encouraging driver awareness of bikes on the roads. We heard concerns about unsafe and uncertain conditions for bike commuters and kids in Tacoma.

We also heard from several speakers concerned with the continued appearance of advertising circulars from The News Tribune in their neighborhoods. One speaker commented that if the driveway delivery identified by the TNT for the delivery of these packages was so desirable, wouldn't it be used for the delivery of the paper itself? Commenters reiterated concerns regarding the impact on the environment, on Tacoma's waste disposal systems, and on neighborhood safety when the bags pile up in front of unoccupied or unmaintained properties.

And finally, a group of citizens spoke to request that the Council consider mandatory paid sick leave in the City of Tacoma. We heard about the strain placed on working parents who have to decide between putting food on the table or staying home from work when they or their children are sick. We also heard the argument that it becomes a public health issue when employees in food or other service industry jobs show up to work sick, and interact with the public. The final speaker was a Teamster, who has paid sick days; he called the matter a health issue, and a basic rights issue, saying that we should take care of our people.

 

COMMENTS AND COMMITTEE REPORTS OF THE CITY COUNCIL

Councilmember Walker announced a series of upcoming meetings on the City's Pedestrian Crossings Improvement Project. The City is asking residents to "Talk the Walk," providing information on where in Tacoma improvements are needed to make pedestrian street crossings safer. You can share your thoughts at one of six upcoming public meetings, beginning March 24 through April 10, or by completing an online questionnaire.

Councilmember Lonergan announced that the City-sponsored Murals Program, which provides murals to combat blight and graffiti in neighborhoods around Tacoma, is now looking for applications from artists. Adult artists or teams of artists are encouraged to apply for the opportunity to work with neighborhood groups to design and execute high quality murals. The deadline for applications is at midnight on March 28. Apply online at cityoftacoma.org/murals.

Following up on public comment about bicycling and bike safety on Tacoma's Eastside, Councilmember Campbell shared a couple of upcoming events.

  • A Bike Rodeo at Sherman Elementary on April 26 
  • The grand opening of the new Swan Creek mountain bike trails on March 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Deputy Mayor Woodards reminded us that a series of films in honor of Women's History Month are being shown at UW Tacoma on Friday evenings followed by a discussion. This Friday's film, Miss Representation, takes a look at how women are represented in the media. The series is free and open to the public.

Councilmember Mello shared that he and Councilmember Thoms braved the cold and rain to volunteer with other community members and partner agencies to depave a corner of the intersection at Sprague and Division. The project, which will replace paved surfaces with a large rain garden is the first of its kind in Washington, supported by Portland, Oregon-based Depave. The heavy lifting of removing pavement from the corner across from Jason Lee Middle School is done, leaving the planting for this coming Sunday. Volunteers are encouraged to join in the planting this weekend between noon and 3 p.m. to complete the pilot project, which will serve as a showcase for future depaving projects in Tacoma and the Puget Sound.

Councilmember Ibsen shared a couple more events coming up this Sunday.

  • Metro Parks will be hosting a Mud Run at Titlow Park for $35
  • The Orchard and Vine Community Garden will be hosting a seed exchange and community potluck.

Councilmember Boe shared his weekly PSA on how to opt out of the TNT's non-subscriber ad deliveries. 

Adjournment

And since no one else mentioned it, we'll go ahead and add that this week's Tacoma Sister Cities International Film Festival offering, The Other Side of Sunday, comes to you from our sister city of Aalesund, Norway. Doors open at 6 p.m. at UPS, with a cultural program followed by the start of the film at 7. The series is free and open to the public.

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


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