LAKEWOOD CITY COUNCIL
STUDY SESSION MINUTES
Monday, June 12, 2006
City of Lakewood
City Council Chambers
6000 Main Street SW
Lakewood, WA 98499
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Thomas called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.
Councilmembers Present: 5 ? Mayor Claudia Thomas; Councilmembers Ron Cronk, Pad Finnigan, Helen McGovern and Walter Neary.
Councilmembers Excused: 2 ?Deputy Mayor John Arbeeny and Councilmember Doug Richardson.
ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION:
Presentation on the redevelopment options for Tillicum and American Lake Gardens.
City Manager Neiditz provided an overview of the sewer extension project that is being planned at Tillicum and American Lake Gardens (ALG) and the key policy issues for Council to consider concerning sewer hook-ups of area residents as well as other alternatives. He indicated that this presentation is the start of a long range visioning process and opportunity for redevelopment. He introduced the team involved in this project: Community Development Director Bugher, Redevelopment Administrator Hannan, Public Works Director Wickstrom and other staff. He indicated that copies of the PowerPoint presentation handouts will be provided later after the discussion.
Community Development Director Bugher explained the purpose of the sewer extension project in Tillicum and American Lake Gardens. He indicated that construction will commence in the summer of 2007 and be completed by the spring of 2008. He pointed out that there will only be parts of Tillicum which will be sewered and will serve as the groundwork for future sewer projects. He also pointed out where the various sewer components (i.e. force mains between pump stations and gravity collector pipes) will be located.
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Mr. Bugher reviewed the project costs and the various funding sources, amounting to $9.2 million (for the major trunk lines and the pump stations, not for the individual hookups). He indicated that the 2005 residential hookup cost estimates are between $4,750-$6,750 which is still relatively better than the surrounding cities. He then explained that there are several significant issues which should be addressed: (1) technical design requirements to include a minimum system capacity of 180,000 gallons of flow per day; (2) environmental process requiring National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) reviews and that the Environmental Justice must be included; (3) financial considerations impacted by whether to mandate connections or to make it voluntary; and (4) related land use issues. He provided the Council with some options if the minimum flow requirements are not met.
Mr. Bugher continued with reporting on the status of the NEPA review, and the pros and cons of voluntary sewer connections versus mandatory connections. He proposed that the next step is for Council to set policy direction to meet the timeframe for this project. The proposed next steps are to: 1) affirm voluntary sewer connections; 2) aggressively market the ALG industrial park; 3) negotiate with Sound Transit for the use of railroad right-of-way; 4) immediately obtain ?early? sewer hook up commitments from property owners; 5) provide Community Development Block Grant funds to low-income homeowners to hookup; 6) amend needed land use and development regulations; 7) clarify development vision and goals; 8) provide a deadline date for hookup commitments under the voluntary program and later consider a mandatory connection policy; and 9) pursue grant opportunities for road improvements.
Discussion ensued on surface water management funds which can only be used for storm sewer improvements; estimates of how many property owners are absentee owners and what the outflows would be from commercial and apartments combined. Transportation Division Manager Winkler clarified that the Environmental Justice looks at the population the City is affecting and not the property owners itself; and where the multifamily flow is.
Further discussion ensued on the Environmental Justice requirements and options for low income households (i.e. low interest loans for hookups, Local Improvement Districts vs. relocation or mandating inclusionary housing). Community Development Director Bugher asked the Council for policy direction on the issue of voluntary or mandatory hookups and the level of public outreach for the environmental assessments. A tentative timeframe for the public outreach is scheduled for July 2006.
Mr. Gary Maynard from Parametrix indicated there is flexibility for the City on addressing mandatory hookups such as low interest loans, and deferring payments for certain period of time, so as not to create an economic hardship for low income families.
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Discussion ensued on potential litigations that could arise from mandatory hookups and if the court system has determined that jurisdictions have the legal right to mandate, and at the same time, have to provide economic assistance for seniors, low income households, and disadvantaged or minority business owners; the reasons for the Redevelopment Advisory Board?s bus tour of Tillicum/ALG on June 13, 2006; strategically marketing the potential for the ALG industrial park by creating incentives for potential ?silver bullet? industries (ex. laundry businesses or large apartment complexes); and providing a survey count of who might be interested to hookup in order to estimate the flow and the cost involved to assist the Council with the decision on mandatory hookups.
Community Development Director Bugher indicated that this priority project involves a series of steps which should be done in the right sequence so that when sewers are ready, the initial requirements are already put into place.
City Manager Neiditz confirmed with the Council that their policy prerogative a year ago was NOT to have a mandatory program with the sewer surcharge. A majority of the Council indicated that they preferred the voluntary hookups.
Further discussion ensued on the public outreach process and making the information on the kinds of financing available to building owners; impacts of hookups for renters; the types of programs the City is able to offer to those that are impacted; ensuring that the outreach process include meeting the Environmental Justice requirements (i.e. available alternative housing); traffic issues especially at the narrow commercial corridor on Union Avenue; options for supplementing flow (i.e. possible hookup system with McChord Air Force Base); and the options of borrowing.
Councilmember Neary then provided copies of a compilation of a survey from individuals who responded to the question, ?What, if anything, would you like to see in Tillicum that is not there now?,? which he posted on his e-newsletter.
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Speaking before the Council were:
Homer Dodge, Windermere realtor, asked what was the average sewer flow per housing unit, and how many households are needed to reach the minimum flow requirements. He expressed his interest in the Environmental Justice and whether it will dislocate people in an unfair way. He asked whether the sizing of up to 180,000 gallons of flow per day allows for a potential huge amount of growth in that area.
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Dennis Haugen, Lakewood resident, indicated that Mr. Bugher gave a good presentation and addressed problematic issues that may be under false premises. He spoke about how, over 50 years ago, other northern counties constructed sewers in large numbers and the costs involved. He recalled that Lakewood had difficulty in digging, never approved or wanted sewers and that it was a decade long fight with Pierce County. He commented on sewer and storm water systems that ran together. He also spoke about quality control on existing septic tanks if they are properly engineered and maintained, without the need for sewers.
Richard Rabisa, #2 Thornewood Lane SW, expressed his hopes that the sewer project would be a reality. He suggested that the City asked property owners, not the tenants, if they are interested in the hookups. He also suggested other hookup options such as hooking to the canal from McChord Air Force Base. He expressed the concerns of Union Avenue businesses and Portland Avenue residents on the costs for hookups.
Ken Severe, Lakewood resident, spoke about his own experience when the sewers were constructed at his Bridgeport Way SW home many years ago. He then asked what is the monthly sewer fee that could impact rent costs. He indicated that if the City goes with mandatory hookups, it would result in the increase of connection construction price. He explained that an ?early hookup? does not mean being hooked up to the sewer but rather connected from the stubs. He also expressed concern about inequitable calculation of hookup costs between a multi-unit apartment versus a single residence. He recommended that landlords have mandatory hookups since it is a commercial business to them.
Edward Zhao, 11003 Addison Street SW, spoke about Des Moines being able to implement mandatory hookups when he resided there and expressed his support for mandatory hookups.
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Councilmember Finnigan asked for clarification on who will be paying for the tearing of the streets along the apartment units that will not be connected yet. He indicated that it would not make sense to ask for voluntary hookups when these multi-family units are not even close to the end of the line.
Community Development Director Bugher and Public Works Director Wickstrom reminded the Council that the City, as a contract city, is subject to Pierce County?s policies and connections, and would be seeking answers on what to do with closing the sewers and other work that need to be done.
Councilmember Finnigan cautioned on not implementing the sewer project on Union Avenue without looking into the long term redevelopment impacts to that business area.
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City Manager Neiditz commented that coordinating the critical timing of sewers and development could be a challenge. He then summarized from the discussions that the City should start to inventory the willingness of commercial and residential owners; what the financing and cost would be on a per month, per year basis; that mandatory hookups has not been ruled out but more information is necessary; that there is a sense of agreement that voluntary hookups would be easier to accomplish with the number of people involved; and considering the option of voluntary hookups to a certain point and then imposing mandatory hookups at a certain time after that. He indicated that the Council will be provided with more information but need to move forward to start the process.
Further discussion ensued on the need to identify industries with high water use and attract them by providing possible incentives, the need for more people, the ?Lakewood way? to opt for voluntary hookups; and possibilities of transforming the city.
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Mayor Thomas announced that tomorrow is Councilmember Neary?s birthday and asked the audience to sing ?happy birthday.?
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Council recessed at 8:45 p.m. and reconvened at 8:58 p.m.
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Mayor Thomas announced that General Services Director/City Clerk Bush is on bereavement leave due to her mother?s passing.
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Review of fireworks enforcement.
City Manager Neiditz decided not to show the PowerPoint presentation which is part of the Council packet. He reported that a survey and community input meetings were conducted to gather information. He noted that State law requires that any changes that would be made in the current fireworks ordinance must be done a year before the 4th of July of the current year in order for it to take effect on the next 4th of July. He added that no new mandates are being proposed other than civil and criminal sanctions being recommended by the Police Department. He indicated that Councilmember Richardson had expressed his support for the civil sanctions.
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Police Chief Saunders distributed copies of the draft ordinance and memo which provided an overview of the amendments to the fireworks ordinance including the provision of a $75 civil sanction as an enforcement tool, and allowing citizens to pay the fine without going to court. The sanctions would not go on a person?s record. He explained that the current criminal sanctions have a heavier penalty and police has to exercise caution in implementing it. He added that the other amendments will prohibit the use of fireworks on school grounds, in parks and rights-of-way. He summarized the results of the survey and spoke about how the Police Department is currently addressing fireworks-related concerns including public awareness campaigns especially in areas with high call volumes, and increased patrol shifts due to volume of calls which has more than doubled.
Councilmember Cronk expressed concern on the reasons or motivation for why the survey was initiated prior to Council?s buy-in unless there is an overriding cause or safety concern. Police Chief Saunders indicated that he followed the same procedures used with water safety issues, and felt strongly that, when there is a large number of complaints, research must be conducted to determine what level of support there is for the issues, and present measurable options to the Council to address those issues. City Manager Neiditz concurred.
Councilmember Cronk asked that, in the future, staff provide the Council with a heads-up prior to conducting such surveys but, at the same time, expressed his support for enforcement to control fireworks use.
Councilmember McGovern suggested that the survey results be published on the City Happenings, the City newsletter and the City?s website.
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Speaking before the Council was:
Ken Severe, Lakewood resident, expressed the concerns of an elderly lady who complained about fireworks to the former Mayor and stressed the importance to strictly enforce the sanctions. He then spoke about his own unpleasant experience with fireworks and avoiding a ?vigilante? response.
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Further discussion ensued on ensuring more enforcement while recognizing the challenges that go with it; and on confiscating only illegal fireworks.
BRIEFING BY THE CITY MANAGER
City Manager Neiditz indicated that the fireworks Ordinance will be coming before the Council for approval on the June 19, 2006 Council meeting.
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City Manager Neiditz announced that, aside from the Redevelopment Advisory Board?s bus tour tomorrow, they will also hold a meeting with the Ponders business owners and managers on June 27, 2006, at 5:30 p.m.
City Manager Neiditz indicated that the Planning Advisory Board, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Landmarks & Heritage Advisory Board will be holding a joint meeting tentatively on July 12, 2006, at 5:30 p.m., to discuss Ft. Steilacoom Park.
City Manager Neiditz reminded the Council of the visioning workshop at the June 26, 2006 City Council Study Session, which will begin at 6:00 p.m., in Conference Room 1E. City Manager Neiditz distributed copies of the budget reports showing the 2005-06 department goals for their review prior to the June 26, 2006 Study Session.
City Manager Neiditz announced that SummerFest will be held on Saturday, June 24, 2006, beginning at noon.
Mayor Thomas reminded the Council of the 4:00 p.m. joint meeting with the Clover Park School District on June 26, 2006, on the book review of Smart Communities.
ITEMS TENTATIVELY SCHEDULED FOR THE JUNE 19, 2006 REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING:
1. Recognizing outgoing Youth Council members for the 2005-2006 school year.
2. Crystal Judson Family Justice Center Overview of Services ? Ms. Susan Adams, Director, Crystal Judson Family Justice Center
3. Appointing members to the Youth Council for the school year 2006-2007. ? (Motion ? Regular Agenda)
4. Setting Wednesday, July 5, 2006, at approximately 7:00 p.m., as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on extending the moratorium for the filing of applications for licenses, permits and approvals for correctional facilities located within Public/Institutional Zoning Districts for six months. ? (Motion - Consent Agenda)
5. Authorizing the City Manager to execute an agreement with the Boys and Girls Club relative to the development of the HOPE Center. ? (Motion - Consent Agenda)
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6. Authorizing the City Manager to execute a grant agreement with the Washington State Department of Transportation, in the amount of $2,700,000, relative to the construction of the Lakewood Sounder Station and Pacific Highway Street improvements. - (Motion ? Regular Agenda)
CITY COUNCIL COMMENTS
Councilmember Finnigan spoke about The News Tribune article about Councilmember Cronk and asked that City staff set up a section on the website where citizens are able to see how each Councilmember voted on agenda items. Councilmember Cronk concurred.
Councilmember Cronk spoke about the Clover Park Technical College groundbreaking event he attended.
Councilmember Neary announced that his birthday coincides with Glen Spieth and Fredric Cornell?s birthdays.
Councilmember McGovern asked Councilmember Cronk if he would be able to fill in for her at the June 15, 2006 Pierce County Regional Council meeting. Councilmember Cronk declined due to a tight schedule.
Mayor Thomas reported that she, Councilmember Cronk and City Manager Neiditz attended the groundbreaking ceremony of the student center at the Clover Park Technical College and how it serves as a tremendous asset to the City. She added that it will be named the Sharon McGavick Student Center.
Mayor Thomas spoke about the Arts Task Force meeting she attended.
Mayor Thomas indicated that she spoke with the Sound Transit artist who commented at last week?s Council meeting and that the plan is for the artist to come up with another recommendation.
Mayor Thomas commented on the interviews she held with youth candidates for the Youth Council appointments for school year 2006-2007.
Mayor Thomas asked if a Councilmember could cover for her at the June 15, 2006 City Talk with the Mayor and Councilmember Finnigan agreed.
Councilmember Cronk noted that, during his visit to Bauang, Philippines, a student Council actually sits on the City Council and commented how that may be something the Council could look at in the future.
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There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:38 p.m.
CLAUDIA B. THOMAS, MAYOR
ALICE M. BUSH, MMC