Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Many Wins in SMP Update

 Last night the Tacoma City Council passed the Shoreline Master Program Update. The Council heard testimony from 20 persons representing Chamber leadership, businesses, labor groups and environmental groups.  Another 13 persons spoke against the Chamber’s positions.

Throughout the process leading up to the passing of SMP, the Chamber collaborated with businesses impacted by the plan, realizing the huge asset waterfront access means to industrial companies in the region.  Businesses benefited from Chamber-supported successful changes to the Draft Shoreline Master Program Update. These changes worked to ameliorate the adverse impacts that were in recommendations made by the Tacoma Planning Commission.

The Chamber worked as advocates for your businesses by calling for changes to the Draft SMP.  We’re much better off now than we might have been. We gained the following “wins” with adoption of the final plan.

The Council finally adopted action to implement Council Resolution 36702 of 2005, where they agreed to a "barrier" composed of building codes along E. D Street to serve as a deterrent to conflict between industrial development to the east and expected residential development west along the Foss shoreline.

Likewise, the Council adopted an extension of the S-10 industrial zone the full length of the E. Foss Peninsula from the tip at NuStar Terminal to the Murray Morgan Bridge, finalizing action expected from a Tacoma Comprehensive Plan Amendment in 2005.

Although the Council passed an amendment they called a compromise regarding Sperry Ocean Terminals, it appeared not to be a compromise but a spot zoning of the business’s property. 

The action to classify as "Prohibited" lay-berthing (at Sperry Ocean) in a made-up transition zone, strikes at the very essence of the business, lay-berthing of MARAD ships.  In addition to Tuesday's testimony, and many hours work over years, the Council action is possibly a "taking" of private property, jeopardizes Sperry's lease renewal with the state Dept. of Natural Resources and subjects the firm to higher operating and financing costs.

Prime (Sperry) amendment sponsors Councilmembers David Boe and Jake Fey said the recent negotiations with Sperry to develop an operational and mitigation plan could still be continued.  But, they did not say what more they expected of the business than what was already offered.

In earlier advocacy action regarding SMP, the Chamber was successful in getting the Tacoma Planning Commission:

1) to comply with Washington state constitutional and case law in limiting public access to nexus and proportionality tests,
2) to place the burden of proof on the City for claims of public access requirements
3) to continue to allow log storage in Commencement Bay
4) to include all the NuStar Terminal in the S-10 industrial zone
5) to allow existing businesses in the Foss Waterway to expand beyond their 1996 property lines

Much of the successes of the Chamber’s efforts are credited to the advocacy, attendance, testimony and letters of its members and community partners in labor and environmental groups.  Thanks to all for your commitment. 

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