Tacoma City Council to discuss feather signs, TPU Web site upgrade

Tacoma residents will have plenty of opportunities this week to learn more about what’s happening in city government.

Tacoma City Council’s Neighborhoods and Housing Committee will meet Monday afternoon to receive updates on Metro Parks Tacoma’s planning efforts, the City of Tacoma’s Affordable Housing Policy Advisory Group, and the permitting process for temporary homeless camps.

On Tuesday morning, Tacoma City Council will hold a special meeting in executive session to discuss Tacoma City Manager T. C. Broadnax‘s job performance. Later that day, Tacoma City Council will hold its regular weekly study session and council meeting, as well as its twice-a-month Committee of the Whole meeting.

Here is a look ahead at some notable meetings, events, and issues on deck this week at Tacoma City Hall.

TACOMA PUBLIC UTILITIES: WEB SITE UPGRADE, INTEGRATED RESOURCE PLAN

Tacoma City Council has scheduled a study session Tuesday with the Tacoma Public Utility Board to receive a briefing on “MyAccount,” Tacoma Public Utilities’ new Web site for customer payments. In addition, Tacoma Public Utilities staff will share information on Tacoma Power’s Integrated Resource Plan process and findings. The plan aims to minimize customer costs and risks, while at the same time securing sufficient quantities of electricity to meet customer demand in an uncertain future, according to Tacoma Public Utilities staff. The 2013 Integrated Resource Plan indicates the best approach to reach those goals is to focus on energy conservation. An aggressive conservation effort will slow the growth in customer demand for electricity and, in turn, delay the need to acquire new physical generating assets through the mid-2020′s, according to Tacoma Public Utilities staff. Finally, Tacoma Public Utilities staff will provide an annual review of the Mountain Rail Division.

Councilmembers will discuss these issues during a study session, which will be held on Tues., Dec. 3, at 12 p.m. in Room 16 of Tacoma Municipal Building North, 733 Market St. Audio from the meeting will be broadcast live on TV Tacoma and online at tvtacoma.com. On-demand audio archives are available on the Web within 24 hours of the meeting online at tvtacoma.com. A copy of the agenda is available online here.

SOUTH DOWNTOWN SUBAREA PLAN: FEATHER SIGNS, DOWNTOWN FENCING STANDARDS

Also during Tacoma City Council’s Tuesday study session, City of Tacoma Planning and Development Services staff will provide an update on the South Downtown Subarea Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement. The South Downtown Subarea Plan will become a new element of the Comprehensive Plan and contain several associated changes to the Tacoma Municipal Code, including feather sign regulations and downtown fencing standards. A public hearing on the South Downtown Subarea Plan will be held on Tues., Dec. 3, at 5:30 p.m.

Councilmembers will discuss this issue during a study session, which will be held on Tues., Dec. 3, at 12 p.m. in Room 16 of Tacoma Municipal Building North, 733 Market St. Audio from the meeting will be broadcast live on TV Tacoma and online at tvtacoma.com. On-demand audio archives are available on the Web within 24 hours of the meeting online at tvtacoma.com. A copy of the agenda is available online here.

WIRE THEFT UPDATE

Also of interest, City of Tacoma Public Works Director Kurtis D. Kingsolver has provided an update on what appears to be a rise in wire thefts citywide. According to Kingsolver, an increase in scrap metal prices over the past few years has coincided with an increase in copper wire thefts nationwide.

“While the City routinely addresses wire theft throughout the year, there has been a significant increase in the amount of theft in the last few weeks,” noted Kingsolver in a Nov. 22 memo to Tacoma City Manager T. C. Broadnax. Kingsolver added that security measures employed in the past are now easily circumvented, creating an enormous inventory of vulnerable infrastructure throughout Tacoma. As of Nov. 1, the City of Tacoma had a backlog of five known circuits that were out due to wire theft. Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 21, the City of Tacoma received additional reports of 26 circuits out of service due to wire theft. During that time, City of Tacoma Public Works crews were able to restore service to 15 of the 31 circuits damaged due to wire theft, leaving a current backlog of 16 circuits yet to be repaired.

According to Kingsolver, the following circuits are anticipated to be restored by the end of the year: East 34th Street Bridge; 818 N. Alder St.; North Cedar Street, between North 16th Street and North 21st Street; South 11th Street and South Cushman Street; 2119 N. Lawrence St.; and South 9th Street, between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and South Sprague Avenue.

According to Kingsolver, the following circuits are anticipated to be restored by the end of January: South 39th Street to South 47th and South Yakima Avenue (series circuit will require significant amount of trenching); and the Lincoln Avenue Bridge (significant level of effort and traffic control required).

According to Kingsolver, the following circuits are anticipated to be restored by the end of February: Lincoln Avenue Loop Road (approach and loop; significant level of effort); 1700 East Bay Street to 2200 East Bay Street; and East Bay Street and East Q Street (underpass; damaged infrastructure).

According to Kingsolver, the following circuits are anticipated to be restored by the end of March: East 45th Court and East Roosevelt Avenue; 2600 S. Tyler St.; and 824 S. 28th St.

Finally, according to Kingsolver, the following circuits are anticipated to be restored by the end of April: South 66th Street and South Lawrence Street; and East 44th Street and East T Street.

Kingsolver notes the Washington State Legislature recently passed a bill that will require scrap metal buyers to be licensed by the State of Washington. The bill goes into effect on Weds., Jan. 1, 2014.

Tacoma City Hall. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)

Tacoma City Hall. (FILE PHOTO BY TODD MATTHEWS)