Thursday, September 15, 2011

Public Comments on Shoreline Next Tuesday

Washington State, through its Shoreline Management Act, requires all jurisdictions to develop a plan for managing shorelines. Shorelines are the area from the waterline for 200 feet inland.

The local jurisdiction’s plan must meet certain guidelines but generally has wide latitude. The State mandates jurisdictions give equal weight to water-dependent uses, public access and no net loss of ecological function. Water-dependent uses are first priority over other water-related uses.

The State has mandated all jurisdictions update their Shoreline Master Program (SMP). Tacoma is in the final stages of that mandate. A public hearing will be held September 27, with written comments usually accepted for approximately one week after that. The vote for final adoption is scheduled for November 22.

Tacoma uses as its zoning plan a series of numbered shoreline districts where different uses and different standards are mandated. There are several issues and preliminary recommendations (adopted by the Tacoma Planning Commission) needing opposition or support.

The most critical issue is a Planning Commission recommendation to move the boundary between the S-6 District (for pedestrian and recreational use) to include lands currently in the S-7 District (for industrial and terminals use). That move will cause the Sperry Ocean Dock property, leased for MARAD ships, to become non-conforming use, subject to harmful constraints on future financing, leasing and permitting. You are urged to oppose this action and keep Sperry in the S-7 District.

The Planning Commission has also recommended changing a district boundary that presently bisects an industrial property, NuStar Terminal. The business is presently split between an S-10 District (industrial and terminal uses) and an S-8 District (mixed development). You are urged to support this recommendation to have NuStar all within one district, the S-10 District.

The Planning Commission did not change the boundary of the S-10 and S-8 Districts along the east bank of the Foss Waterway so that other industries there could be in an S-10 District. You are urged to support extending the S-10 District to the Murray Morgan (11th Street) Bridge.

The Planning Commission did recommend removing a restriction designed to force out its undesired industries along both sides of the Foss Waterway. That present restriction did not allow existing businesses to expand. The new recommendation does. You are urged to support this new regulation so existing business can expand.

You may write or comment to:

September 27, 5:30 p.m.
Tacoma Council Chambers City of Tacoma
747 Market Street, Tacoma 98402

Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Councilmembers
747 Market Street, Suite 1200, Tacoma, WA 98402

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