The Proctor Clears Another Hurdle

For those of you tracking the progress of plans for a new mixed-use development in the heart of the Proctor neighborhood, here's a quick update: the hearing examiner has recommended that the developer's request to vacate the air over the alley be approved.

Plans for The Proctor would connect the two parts of the project over the alley that runs parallel to North 27th and 28th, while still leaving alley access for vehicles, garbage, and fire to pass through. That idea requires approval from the City.

Residents opposed to the project for its size in general have also come out against allowing the sky bridge. Many of the concerns voiced - over the height and density of the planned development and the impact of a large number of smaller rental units on the neighborhood - were not directly related to the decision over the vacation of air rights. That decision was based on whether or not connecting the two sides would provide a public benefit.

Based on that question, the hearing examiner found a list of benefits, according to The News Tribune: an upgrade of the alley surface, burying of existing above-ground utilities, returning property to the tax rolls, and planned design enhancements.

It was recommended that the variance be allowed. That's not the final step, however, as the vacation still requires Council approval. 

We're guessing you can expect some heated public comment when the issue comes before Council, probably sometime next month.

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I support the Proctor project.  I believe this is the type of development we all asked the City to allow- move people into areas where businesses and services are nearby.  Two grocery stores, transit lines etc- its all right there. 

Say goodbye to an ugly strip mall building with a run down locksmith shop and a foul terriaki joint, say hello to some nice new retail spaces and functional housing.  Now, if we could find someone to take over Knapp’s and put in a decent restaurant…..

February 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Perhaps you could identify your royal “we” for readers? I certainly have not heard any overwhelming support for this project anywhere.

February 6, 2014 at 9:22 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I like the project’s goals. I don’t like the skybridge and alley air rights vacation. I really don’t like people dogging on Knapp’s.

If you want to turn Tacoma into Ballard, save us the trouble and just move. They’ve got all the over-sized apartment buildings and yuppified bars and restaurants you can ask for up there.

February 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Jim C

It would be silly to expect any support from the neighborhood on this outside of the three big investors. The development is nearly the same size and scale as the Pacifica and being built by the same firm; go stand under that concrete monstrosity near the mall and tell me it belongs smack dab in the middle of Proctor.

More importantly, low end mixed-uses are a dime a dozen these days (see Lakewood, UP, Puyallup, Kent, Mill Creek, etc.), densifying Proctor to the legal limit as a first step is, in my opinion, trampling on the essential qualities (quiet, safety, primarily single-family housing) that have made the neighborhood unique and desirable in the first place.

February 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I agree with Jim C.  A project of this size and cookie-cutter design will severely harm the characteristics that have allowed Proctor District to thrive.

February 9, 2014 at 10:57 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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I also agree with Jim C.  This development would be a benefit only to the developers.  For the residents of the Proctor district ( myself included ) I see only the negative impacts listed above.
Also, the increased traffic and parking issues will have a negative impact on the district and the children and parents of children at the nearby primary and middle schools.

February 10, 2014 at 8:28 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Complete lack of foresight by the residents of Proctor to allow the district to be zoned CCX and now the developer is somehow to blame?  Somehow want 60-75ft maximum heights with oodles of parking and single family housing? ROFL NIMBYs are out in full force and not surprising it is after the fact that they allowed this zoning to occur.  Pure negligence on the residents that are against the project.

February 10, 2014 at 10:23 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

Tend to agree with you today Xeno.  The zoning process and planning process have been followed to the letter. The city council has given it’s approval to the zoning and planning. If someone doesn’t like the outcome then they should stay better informed of proposed development laws or spend more time at the council meetings to give feedback in a timely manner. Saying you don’t like density at the 11th hour is a little late.

February 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Xeno and Fred, you are both right about being late to the party, but I think this project highlights the need for a better mechanism for making the average citizen aware of proposed zoning changes before they occur.  It’s evident that most people were unaware of the bonus program the city enacted just a few years ago to make exceptions to the previous height restriction of 45’.  Most of the feedback I’ve heard is supportive of a sensible development but considerable objection to the 65’ height.

February 10, 2014 at 2:57 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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How can I say this without being particularly uncouth? You’ll never be able to make the average citizen aware of density height bonuses being added to a mixed use zoning designation.  Time after time it is always a specific project that brings people up in arms.  And tell me if I’m wrong.  CCX in the code is 60 feet height limit.  A Density bonus gets you 75ft.  So even absent of the bonus you’d be dealing with 60 feet.  Meaning, it seems like residents have a problem with anything above 45ft from the get go, so the bonus really doesn’t mean a whole lot.

February 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Hell hath frozen over eh?

February 10, 2014 at 3:17 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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February 10, 2014 at 1:59 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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If this letter actually had any weight, you’d be inviting a huge lawsuit against the city.  You can’t selectively zone 1 development project.  That is called spot zoning and there are several court cases against your cause, unless you somehow got the project propenent to voluntarily do it, but of course they won’t because a 45ft tall mixed use center will not pencil out for them to even want to develop the property.  You should have gotten rid of the 60ft height limitation and the 75ft density bonus for the entire CCX zone.

February 10, 2014 at 3:07 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Six stories is still a human and neighborhood scale for a large city.  Tacoma is a large city and Proctor is a commercial hub for more than just a few blocks directly around the project site.  I drive or bike 22 blocks to get to proctor to shop and expect density, traffic and an urban fabric on these commercial blocks.  I don’t think this project is out of scale with the commercial nature of Proctor.  This project is being judged as if it is somehow opening the door on multiple mid rise development projects.  I think the neighborhood might see 2-4 over the course of 15 years, not a dozen.

February 10, 2014 at 4:52 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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