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Tacoma City Council Meeting - October 29, 2013



Resolution No. 38759 A resolution setting Tuesday, November 12, 2013, at approximately 5:30 p.m., as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on the proposed Ad Valorem tax levies for 2014. [Tadd Wille, Budget Officer; Andy Cherullo, Director, Finance]



Mayor Strickland proclaimed November 2013 as Art at Work: Tacoma Arts Month in celebration of the wealth of arts and cultural assets that contribute to Tacoma’s livability and economic vitality. The mayor encouraged everyone to participate in the diverse arts programming scheduled all month long this November.



Three commenters spoke this week, all on the subject of land use and zoning pertaining to medical marijuana uses. We heard concerns from one commenter that the definition of "parks" included in the interim regulations was too broad, and thus too restrictive, prohibiting marijuana uses in areas that need not be protected; he encouraged Council to consider the less broad definition used by the state. A Port of Tacoma representative thanked Council for considering a substitute ordinance that would prohibit retail uses in high commercial truck traffic areas within the Port; she encouraged Council to adopt the changes. A third speaker raised a question about environmental impact studies relating to the uses.





Resolution No. 38760 A resolution awarding a contract to Kemira Water Solutions, Inc., in the amount of $229,500, sales tax not applicable, plus the option to renew for three additional one-year periods, for a cumulative total of $609,337, budgeted from the Wastewater Fund, for the purchase of liquid polyaluminum chloride for the treatment of wastewater - Specification No. ES13-0369F. [Kenneth Tross, Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

The resolution was adopted without comment.

Resolution No. 38761 A resolution awarding a contract to MVG, LLC, in the amount of $350,000, plus sales tax, plus a 10 percent contingency, for a cumulative total of $385,000, budgeted from the Surface Water 2006 Bond Construction Fund, for the construction of the Urban Forestry Landfill Plant Storage Area at the Tacoma Landfill - Specification No. ES13-0291F. [Geoffrey Smyth, P.E., Science and Engineering Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

This resolution was also adopted without comment.



Resolution No. 38762 A resolution authorizing the execution of a Purchase and Sale Agreement and Restrictive Covenant with Alan Lynden, in the amount of $285,000, for the sale of the former Sector Four Police Substation, located at 3524 McKinley Avenue, to relocate Chuckals Office Products to the site. [Conor McCarthy, Assistant Division Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Interim Director, Public Works]

In 2010 TPD relocated away from the facility, in 2012 animal control also reloacated, leaving the building vacant. The Tier 2 property was put on the market this spring, with an appraised market value of $335,000. There was some interest in the property, but no responsive bids at that time. The decision was made to reduce the minimum bid amount to $280,000 and extend the deadline for proposals. The City got two bids this time around, and selected the Chuckals offer. The Chuckals bid to rehabilitate the property to be used as a for-profit commercial use was chosen as most closely in line with both City and neighborhood goals for the area.



Ordinance No. 28179 An ordinance relating to cable communications and franchise services, granting a ten-year limited franchise to LightSpeed Networks, Inc., dba LSN, to construct, operate, maintain, remove, replace, and repair fiber-optic communications facilities within designated public right-of-way areas within the City of Tacoma. (From the meeting of October 8, 2013) [Jeff Lueders, Administrative Services Manager, Media and Communication Services; T.C. Broadnax, City Manager]

The ordinance was unanimously adopted with no further comment.



Ordinance No. 28182 An ordinance amending Title 13 of the Municipal Code, entitled “Land Use Regulatory Code”, to adopt interim regulations regarding the production, processing, and retail sale of recreational marijuana associated with Initiative 502. [Brian Boudet, Planning Division Manager; Peter Huffman, Interim Director, Planning and Development Services]

The proposed interim land use/zoning regulations relating to recreational marijuana uses come after many conversations, including public comment at last week's Council meeting. This particular ordinance looks specifically at how Tacoma will handle marijuana uses from a land use and zoning perspective. Under the regulations proposed, processing and production of marijuana would be allowed in industrial zones, and retail uses would be allowed in areas of Tacoma currently zoned for retail use in general. Specific development standards are also included in the proposed regulations, mainly in the category of buffers; the ordinance would adopt state designated sensitive uses, mostly involving children, and add to them City of Tacoma designated sensitive uses, including jails, courthouses, and drug detox and rehab facilities. Other specific development standards proposed include prohibiting drive-throughs for marijuana uses, and requiring steps be taken so that marijuana products are neither visible nor smellable from outside the premises. In response to the earlier public question regarding environmental impact studies, an environmental review was undertaken, resulting in both state and local findings of no significant environmental impact.

A substitute ordinance was proposed and adopted that would make a few changes and clarifications. The timeline for developing a set of permanent regulations was extended from the typical six months to a full year in recognition of the fact that it will take a little while to see how uncertainties around the new industry play out. The changes further clarify that no off-site or outdoor sales will be allowed, and ensure that visibility is limited. The substitute ordinance also adopts the Port's request that retail uses be banned from the PMI, which is not the full Port area, but just the core area of the Port. Major travel areas around the edge of the Port are zoned M2, and retail uses would still be allowed there. Final reading of the ordinance is scheduled for next week's meeting.


Ordinance No. 28183 An ordinance amending Chapter 8.30 of the Municipal Code, relating to public nuisances, to identify nuisance activities related to recreational marijuana. [Lisa Wojtanowicz, Division Manager, Community Services Division; Tansy Hayward, Director, Neighborhood and Community Services]

This ordinance would amend the TMC nuisance code to include activities related to recreational marijuana. Changes include the creation of a buffer to sensitive uses, as mandated by the state – schools, parks, libraries, daycare, etc – as well as City-named uses - jails, courthouses, and drug detox and rehab facilities. No one under 21 will be allowed in marijuana-related facilities, no products or services other than usable marijuana are to be sold, sales would be prohibited between 12 and 8 a.m., no unlicensed uses would be allowed, and all processing must take place either indoors or within a wall of at least eight feet in height that fully obscures visibility.

The proposed amendments apply to both collective gardens and recreational uses, with buffer zones being measured in a straight line from parcel line to parcel line between the use and sensitive uses. This ordinance also establishes the definition of "park" that would be used; the proposed definition takes the state definition of park and combines it with Tacoma's park code definition. The nuisance code amendments further clarify odor and visibility requirements; neither should be observable from the adjacent right of way.

Councilmember Boe asked staff about the new definition of "park" included here. The new definition does represent a change from what was used in previous discussions of medical cannabis. It is also a change from the definition used to create the preliminary map of where uses would or would not be allowed, meaning that there might be changes to the map. Staff will provide Council with the new map, and it sounds like there is room for flexibility in the timeline for the ordinance to allow council members time to consider the changes, if necessary.



City information sessions on Proposition 1 are wrapping up, with the final session tonight at 6 p.m. at the Tacoma Nature Center. City Manager Broadnax took the opportunity to present the information one more time. If you've missed the presentations so far, head over to tonight's session. If you've caught them, great. Either way, make sure to vote.



Neighborhoods and Housing Committee – Councilmember Walker reported on topics covered by the committee at recent meetings.

  • Presentation on the City's efforts to address homeless encampments.
  • Update on Tacoma's Community Clean-up program, including results from the 2013 program, comparisons to previous years, and recommendations for future improvements.
  • Discussion of the Tacoma Murals Project. 23 murals will be completed by the end of 2013.
  • Presentation on traffic circle beautification in Tacoma
  • Information on Tacoma noise code update.

At the next meeting the committee will discuss the Neighborhood Council review process.



Councilmember Woodards announced an event for individuals and families with questions related to the Affordable Care Act. This Saturday, from 11 to 3 at the Tacoma Mall, Washington Health Plan Finder will be hosting an event with experts to answer questions, help people sign up, etc. 

Councilmember Lonergan reminded us that this weekend it is time once again to fall back. This Sunday don't forget to set your clocks back an hour, and take the time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

Councilmember Boe reminded us that there are also a lot of leaves coming down, and with the rain coming, now would be a great time to go out and make sure that the drains on your street are clear to avoid flooding and standing water. Boe also reminded us that the Pacific Avenue Streetscape is nearing completion; he encouraged everyone to come on down and check out the historic light fixtures, see the rain gardens at work, and support the businesses.

Councilmember Walker announced that Community Healthcare's new clinic will be opening this Saturday at the intersection of MLK and Ernest S Brazil in Hilltop.

Councilmember Woodards chimed in to mention that the opening ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. at a church one block away from the new clinic.

Deputy Mayor Campbell reminded us that mural artists are hard at work finishing murals around Tacoma, including the mural at 34th and McKinley, which he suggested we all stop by and check out.

Mayor Strickland reminded everyone to make sure they have the facts on Tacoma's Prop 1.




So there you have it - don't forget to vote. Early and often is our policy...

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

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