Port of Tacoma Commission to discuss public access plan

The Port of Tacoma Commission is scheduled to meet this week to discuss its public access plan.

The City of Tacoma’s locally-adopted Shoreline Master Program requires public agencies, including the Port of Tacoma, to provide public access when new development projects require a city shoreline permit, according to a memo prepared by Port of Tacoma staff. In the past, the City of Tacoma waived public access requirements for projects with safety and/or security concerns. However, under the new Shoreline Master Program, if safety and/or security issues prevent public access from being provided on-site, the City of Tacoma requires that public access must be provided at another location.

Port of Tacoma staff developed a public access plan in accordance with the City of Tacoma’s Shoreline Master Program in an effort to ensure a predictable and streamlined shoreline permitting process. In addition, Port of Tacoma Commissioners Connie Bacon and Don Meyer attended five meetings with Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Tacoma City Councilmember Ryan Mello to share visibility and coordinate the Port of Tacoma’s draft public access plan with the City of Tacoma’s Shoreline Master Program and Public Access Alternatives Plan, according to Port of Tacoma staff. Following more discussions, the City of Tacoma and the Port of Tacoma have drafted an Interlocal Agreement (ILA) that authorizes a flexible approach to shoreline public access provisions including a fee-in-lieu option.

The Port of Tacoma Commission is scheduled to discuss the issue during a study session on Thurs., May 30 at noon in Room 104 of The Fabulich Center, located at 3600 Port of Tacoma Road. A joint study session between the Port of Tacoma and the City of Tacoma is tentatively scheduled for Tues., June 11. The Port of Tacoma Commission is expected to take final action on the matter later this summer.