Tacoma City Council Meeting - September 10, 2013



Resolution No. 38724 Authorizing the execution of an interlocal agreement with the Port of Tacoma to provide a cooperative framework for coordinating certain stormwater management activities. [Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

Resolution No. 38725 Authorizing the execution of an interlocal agreement with the Port of Tacoma in the amount of $210,000; accepting and depositing said sum into the Miscellaneous Special Revenue Fund, for the coordination and management of the Port of Tacoma Emergency Warning System. [Roger Edington, Assistant Chief; James P. Duggan, Chief, Tacoma Fire]

The second resolution was continued to a date to be determined at the request of staff.



Mayor Strickland proclaimed the month of September 2013 as Attendance Awareness Month in the City of Tacoma in recognition of the importance of attendance to student success.

The Mayor also proclaimed the week of September 8-14,2013 as National Assisted Living Week, and encouraged everyone to visit friends and loved ones who live in these facilities, and to learn more about assisted living.



A representative of Pierce County NORML thanked Council and the City for their work to implement I-502.



A motion was considered and adopted to authorize the City's full and final settlement of all claims against the City by Emerald Services, Inc., for Claim Nos. 14210 and 14235, upon payment by the City in the amount of $60,741.



Resolution No. 38726 Reappointing Sean Armentrout to the Board of Ethics to serve a term to expire December 31,2015. [Doris Sorum, City Clerk; Elizabeth Pauli, City Attorney]

The resolution was adopted, with thanks to Sean for his continued service.



Purchase Resolution No. 38727 Awarding a contract to: Asphalt Patch Systems, Inc., in the amount of $85,000, sales tax not applicable, for a cumulative total of $623,035, budgeted from the Streets Special Revenue Fund, to increase the contract for the reconstruction of sidewalks at approximately 164 locations citywide - Specification No. PW12-0336F. [Chris Larson, Engineering Division Manager; Kurtis Kingsolver, Interim Director, Public Works]

The purchase resolution was adopted without comment.


Resolution No. 38728 Accepting a 2013 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan, in the amount of $12,120,000; and authorizing the execution of a low-interest loan agreement with the Washington State Public Works Board for a term of 20 years for the Green River Filtration Facility project. [Craig Downs, Water Quality Engineering Supervisor; Linda McCrea, Superintendent, Tacoma Water] 

The Green River Filtration Facilities project adds filtration and storage capacity to comply with cryptosporidium treatment requirements. The project is currently on track to begin work in early 2015.



Ordinance No. 28169 Amending Chapters 8.28 and 8.29 of the Municipal Code, relating to narcotics and drug paraphernalia, to add language relating to the public use and display of marijuana and medical cannabis, and revising the definition of drug paraphernalia to be consistent with state law. [Shawn Stringer, Captain; Don Ramsdell, Chief, Tacoma Police]

The ordinance was adopted without comment.



Ordinance No. 28170 Amending Chapter 2.04 of the Municipal Code, relating to the Electrical Code, to update and clarify electrical licensing requirements and exemptions. [James Hellman, Chief Electrical Inspector; Ted Coates, Superintendent, Tacoma Power] 

The amendments in this ordinance are housekeeping in nature, and don’t represent any substantive changes. They seek to add clarification of requirements individuals must meet to obtain a permit and do electrical work in Tacoma.


Ordinance No. 28171 Amending Chapter 8.30 of the Municipal Code, relating to public nuisances, to identify nuisance activities related to recreational cannabis. [Lisa Wojtanowicz, Division Manager; Tansy Hayward, Director, Neighborhood and Community Services]

This ordinance was removed from this week's agenda at the request of staff, to be considered at a later date.


Ordinance No. 28172 Amending Title 8 of the Municipal Code, relating to historic properties, to create a new Chapter 8.35 entitled "Preventing Neglect of Historic Properties" to provide additional enforcement tools to prevent ongoing neglect of historic properties. [Reuben McKnight, Historic Preservation Officer; Peter Huffman, Interim Director, Planning and Development Services] 

The new chapter of the TMC is proposed for the purpose of improving protections for Tacoma's historic structures from demolition by neglect in situations where owners neglect building maintenance and repairs until the only feasible path to abate the public safety hazard is demolition. The new tools are designed to work in tandem with existing incentives and structures, including low-interest loans and other financial and development incentives for historic preservation, and the landmarks preservation process.

After outreach to the community, support was strong, and the few changes made included language to clarify the City's intent to work collaboratively with property owners, and the removal of the word "properly" to avoid perceived subjectivity.

Other concerns voiced included concern over the impact on property owners otherwise in good standing and the need to balance enforcement with support and incentives.

The ordinance will treat neglect of historic structures as a public nuisance, applying to commercial and multi-family structures listed on Tacoma or national registers of historic places and as contributing structures in historic districts. The new tools included in the proposal would allow the City to address abatement of long-term neglect of historic structures when necessary by obtaining a warrant to enter and fix the imminent threat. The City would establish an emergency preservation sub fund to address these situations.

Mayor Strickland called the proposal a good compromise to balancing concerns over historic preservation in Tacoma with property rights.




The first commenter began speaking, but was asked to leave when his testimony bore no resemblance to issues of City Council jurisdiction or appropriate public discourse.

Other than that, we heard from four citizens with thoughtful comments on the idea of a potential disposable plastic bag ban, and the benefits such a ban would offer compared to the relatively small inconvenience of adjusted shopping habits. Commenters listed among their concerns the impact of plastics in the environment when ingested by organisms of all sizes, the carbon cost of plastic bags in terms of manufacturing and distribution, the reality that the cost of recycling the bags outweighs their worth, and research that suggests that plastics in the environment adsorb (a new word for us) toxins, which are then a threat to organisms at all levels - even up to humans.

A final commenter spoke on his concerns regarding code enforcement and animal control. He requested that the City reconsider codes limiting the number of animals allowed in a residence, and consider either expanding animal control from one employee or merging the program with Code Enforcement. He also requested a consideration of reducing the number of calls required for a response to a noise complaint.



The City Manager had two items to share.

  • The Mayor, Council and citizens are all invited to Say Hey, Tacoma, an event from the City and community organizations and businesses. It will be a two hour celebration and networking event with individuals with disabilities, employers, and anyone from the community who supports diversity in the workplace. The event will be held Wednesday, September 18 at Evergreen College Tacoma from 4 to 6 p.m., and requires an RSVP by September 13.
  • Another Tacoma Proposition 1 info session will be held September 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Fern Hill Library



Deputy Mayor Campbell stepped in for Councilmember Boe to share two more items.

  • Stadium Fare happens again this Saturday at First Presbyterian Church in the Stadium District. Everyone is invited to come out to enjoy the food, entertainment, crafts and other fun.
  • All three of Tacoma Farmers' Markets are still going – 6th Avenue on Tuesday evenings, Broadway on Thursdays mid-day, and the South Tacoma market on Sundays.

Council members Mello and Boe were absent this week.



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

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