Tacoma City Council Meeting - September 9, 2014



Resolution No. 38996 A resolution setting Tuesday, September 23, 2014, at approximately 5:30 p.m., as the date for a public hearing by the City Council to declare surplus and approve the negotiated sale of approximately 0.85 of an acre of surplus land located near the intersection of Canyon Road and 172nd Street East in Pierce County to Fretoc, LLC for $50,000. [Gloria Fletcher, Sr. Real Estate Officer; Linda McCrea, Superintendent, Tacoma Water]

Resolution No. 38997 A resolution authorizing the execution of an amendment to the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant award from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, accepting and depositing $575,380 into the Fire Miscellaneous Special Revenue Fund, for a total grant award of $4,021,560 to pay the salary and benefit costs of five firefighters for one additional year. [James P. Duggan, Chief, Tacoma Fire Department]


Ordinance No. 28242 An ordinance amending Chapter 13.06 of the Municipal Code to reclassify two parcels totaling approximately 2.23 acres located at 620 and 630 South Pearl Street from an “R-2” Single-Family Dwelling District to an “R-4-L” Low-Density Multiple-Family Dwelling District to allow for the construction of a 60-bed extended care facility. (Avamere BelAir Properties, LLC; File No. REZ2014-40000223364) [Wick Dufford, Hearing Examiner, Pro Tempore]

The consent agenda was adopted. The ordinance will get a final reading at a date to be determined.



Mayor Strickland proclaimed September 19, 2014 as United Way Day of Caring Day in the City of Tacoma. United Way’s annual Day of Caring connects volunteers with local nonprofit organizations to complete service projects in the community. It’s a day of citizens working together to enhance the quality of life for all Tacoma residents. Thousands of people have participated in the Day of Caring over the years. This year more than 1,200 volunteers are registered to complete more than 50 projects around Pierce County. United Way is taking inspiration from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and challenging the entire City Council, and everyone in Pierce County, to either join in a Day of Caring event, or to do a good deed on their own on September 19.



Two commenters spoke at public comment this week, but both were actually speaking to the hearing on the North Downtown Subarea Plan, so their comment was transferred to that item (see below).




Resolution No. 38998 A resolution reappointing Glen Garrett to the Board of Building Appeals.[Doris Sorum, City Clerk; Elizabeth Pauli, City Attorney]

The Board of Building Appeals reviews and approves updating of building-related City codes on behalf of the Council Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability Committee.


Resolution No. 38999 A resolution reappointing Erle Thompson and Scott Winship to the Planning Commission. [Doris Sorum, City Clerk; Elizabeth Pauli, City Attorney]

The Planning Commission makes important recommendations for Infrastructure, Planning, and Sustainability committee, and ensures plans, goals, and policies promote a coordinated growth strategy for Tacoma.



Resolution No. 39000 A resolution awarding contracts to EnviroTech Services, Inc., in the amount of $808,515, plus sales tax, and Salt Distributors Inc., in the amount of $415,800, plus sales tax, budgeted from the Street Operations and Maintenance Fund, for the purchase of solid deicer (road salt) and brine salt for the snow and ice removal program - Washington State Contract 02714. [Rae Bailey, Division Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

The resolution was adopted without comment.


Resolution No. 39001 A resolution authorizing the increase of a contract with Global Contractors, LLC, in the amount of $50,000, sales tax not applicable, for a cumulative total of $245,413, budgeted from the Transportation Capital Fund, for construction of the pedestrian crossing and sidewalks on Pacific Avenue at South 17th Street - Specification No. PW14-0303F. [Chris E. Larson, P.E., Division Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

The resolution was also adopted without comment.


Resolution No. 39002 A resolution awarding a contract to Pape & Sons Construction, Inc., in the amount of $1,410,906.13, plus sales tax, plus a 10 percent contingency, for a cumulative total of $1,551,996.75, budgeted from the Transportation Capital, Surface Water, Wastewater and Water Funds, for improving two alleys and one residential street located in north Tacoma Local Improvement District Nos. 8652-1; 8652-2; and 8655-1 - Specification No. PW14-0019F. [Chris E. Larson, P.E., Division Manager; Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

In order to avoid an appearance of a conflict of interest, Councilmember Boe recused himself from commenting or voting on the item. The resolution passed without further comment.



Resolution No. 39003 A resolution modifying the existing boundaries for Local Improvement District Nos. 3967, 5728, 6980, 7726, and 8656, relating to the Point Ruston neighborhood. [Michael San Soucie, Treasury Manager; Andy Cherullo, Director, Finance] 

The boundary line adjustment requested by Point Ruston will not change the total value of the LID, but will split the assessment to allow the developer to divide it among property owners.


Resolution No. 39004 A resolution relating to Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail; recommending that one alternative with the following proposed Tacoma Link Stations locations be included in the Environmental Review Process: (1) Martin Luther King Jr Way (“MLK”)/ South 19th Street; (2) MLK/South 11th Street; (3) MLK/6th Avenue; (4) Stadium District; (5) Stadium Way/South 4th Street; (6) Old City Hall, as an alternative to the existing Theater District Station; and (7) Division Avenue.[Kurtis D. Kingsolver, P.E., Director, Public Works]

A presentation during City Council study session earlier went into more detail of the decision to move seven potential Link station locations along to the environmental review phase. The seventh location, at MLK and Division was not in the original plan, but came up as a highly requested stop during public outreach, and so has been added for the next phase of review. The list also includes a possible stop near Old City Hall, just north of the existing end of line “Theater District” station. The new stop was added for consideration on hopes that it might stimulate development, directly serving Old City Hall and the McMenamins Elks building.

These seven station locations will now move forward to the environmental review process, which will provide more information on which to base the final decision of where to locate stations along the line. Identification of specific station locations is needed to apply for grants to fund the project.


Resolution No. 39005 A resolution relating to a lease agreement between the City and the Tacoma Community Redevelopment Authority for the Pantages Theater; authorizing an early termination of various subleases with tax credit investors and payment of a termination fee. [Andy Cherullo, Director, Finance]

The early termination of the lease comes as the City works with the Broadway Center on their centennial capital campaign. The early termination takes no general fund money, and is the first of three steps toward raising funds toward improvements to Broadway Center facilities. The resolution passed with a minor amendment.



This is the date set for a public hearing by the City Council on the draft North Downtown Subarea Plan and proposed amendments to the Municipal Code Chapter 13.06A, Downtown Tacoma. [Ian Munce, Special Assistant to the Director; Peter Huffman, Director, Planning and Development Services]

This is the third of three subarea plans that will set the vision for development in downtown Tacoma for the next 20 years. The Environmental Impact Statement for the area has already passed; that document does the groundwork to avoid project-by-project environmental reviews.

The Subarea Plan preapproves policies to allow development to move forward more quickly, while still falling in line with a larger vision for the downtown. The document seeks to identify important issues, and mitigation options. Some of the key issues identified in the process include

  • Stadium Way Slope design standards
  • Link extension integration into the Stadium District and Stadium Way
  • Expansion of the reduced parking area from other parts of downtown
  • Support for the Bates Campus Master Plan
  • Stadium Business District Boundaries
  • On-street parking in the Stadium Mixed-Use Center

The ultimate goal is for permits for downtown development to be issued in a timeframe that looks more like 30 days, rather than 30 weeks, or 30 months.

The two speakers who spoke at public comment on this issue were both judges from the Pierce County court system. Judges Culpepper and Ramey both asked the Council to reconsider the eventual phasing out of free parking for jurors as a part of parking changes around the County City Building. Both judges stressed that jurors provide a valuable public service, that they are already not paid much, and that there is not enough all day parking available for them.

Denny Faker from the Stadium Business District, and a member of the North Downtown Subarea Planning Committee thanked the City for the robust public process. David Schroedel, representing the Downtown BIA asked the Council to consider including some sort of official designation for the Theater District to be included in the plan. Two residents of the area voiced their concerns about running the Link up Stadium Way and into the Stadium District, although, as one acknowledged, the horse has already left the barn on that one. The second speaker also voiced concerns about protecting views of Commencement Bay from Stadium Way. Finally, a representative from Bates Technical College shared aspects of the Bates master plan that address issues of diversity, accessibility, and sustainability.



Although the bulk of comment at this month’s Citizens’ Forum was on paid sick leave, we did hear a couple other issues. Two of the more regular commenters at CF returned, the first with his ongoing saga of persecution by all levels of government, the second with a repeat request for the City Manager to initiate a “racial assessment” of Tacoma Police, to which he added this month a request for the same of Tacoma Public Schools.

A commenter inviting the Council to join her organization, Imagine Me, in an event celebrating people fighting cancer. Another commenter shared her ongoing work on deaf awareness, specifically with the Tacoma business community, leading up to the Deaf Nation Expo coming to the Convention Center next month, and Deaf Awareness Week later this month.

We also heard from a commenter speaking on behalf of the bike community, thanking the City for the recent work to improve bicycle safety through the installation of sharrows and other improvements, and asking them to continue to invest in bike infrastructure to improve safety and conditions for those who can’t or don’t drive, and for the next generation of cyclists.

The remainder of public comment was about paid sick leave. We heard 15 speakers in favor of mandatory paid sick leave, and one voice against. There were many stories of employees working without paid sick leave and dealing with their own illness or that of a child. We heard about the negative impacts on vulnerable populations including the poor, the elderly in nursing homes staffed without paid sick leave, and homeless teens and others in unstable situations, who struggle to keep jobs without time off.

Several union members spoke, asking that the City adopt mandatory paid sick leave, as well as unrepresented workers. We heard echoes of “it’s the right thing to do,” and opinions that it won’t hurt businesses as much as many are concerned it might. Several speakers said they would be glad to pay a few extra cents for a cup of coffee to know that their servers could take a sick day.

Jeannine Mitchell, the Chair of the Pierce County Democrats voiced their support for mandatory sick leave, saying that we need to support all levels of our society. Representatives of Pierce County Labor and Unite Here Local 8 spoke in favor of paid sick leave, and requested that a condition of the Yareton Convention Center hotel project be union representation for employees.

The dissenting voice came from a representative of the Freedom Foundation, who shared a study from the organization, which he said showed a wide gulf between intentions and results in other places that have enacted mandatory sick leave. The Freedom Foundation report found support for the idea that paid sick leave doesn’t decrease workers showing up sick or turnover rates, that studies of employer support exaggerate that support, and that employers are negatively impacted by paid sick leave, and tend to pass the consequences along to employees and/or customers.

As one commenter pointed out, this is part of a larger, ongoing national conversation. We're guessing this won't be the last we hear of this issue.



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

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