April 14, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Following an administrative hearing earlier this week, the City of Lakewood has reinstated the business license for the Star Lite Swap Meet if the business can meet certain conditions.
The decision by Hearing Officer John Unfred - which he ordered on Thursday, April 14, 2016 – reverses the City’s original action to revoke the Star Lite’s license, due mostly to the safety hazard the business creates during its busiest times. The Star Lite Swap Meet is located at 8327 South Tacoma Way.
The decision allows the Star Lite to reopen under a set of conditions that address several issues that came to light during this week’s testimony. To keep its business license, the swap meet must:
- Accurately count attendance each day using a mechanical or electronic counting device at all entrances. Daily attendance must be submitted in a monthly report to the City of Lakewood
Submit a Traffic Management Plan to the City of Lakewood within 60 days. The plan should detail the temporary traffic control measures used to control vehicle and pedestrian traffic flow in and out of the business for weekend and other high-volume days. The proposed plan should comply with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices from the Federal Highway Administration and, at minimum, address the following:
- Ensure all parking attendants maintain a current and valid Washington Flagger Certification
- Ensure all parking attendants wear Performance Class 2 High-Visibility Apparel
- Ensure all parking attendants use some type of handheld signaling device such as a stop sign, orange cone, reflective gloves and/or signal flag
- Improve signage and pavement markings for all parking stalls and pedestrian walkways on the property in accordance the Lakewood Municipal Code
- Coordinate and assist West Pierce Fire & Rescue in conducting a fire inspection on a weekend day with 60 days.
The decision comes a week after the City of Lakewood determined that conditions at the Star Lite constitute a public nuisance that warrants enforcement action. On Thursday, April 7, 2016, the City of Lakewood issued a notice and order revoking/suspending the Star Lite Swap Meet’s business license. This action was related directly to public safety issues that arose the prior weekend that created a lack of adequate access for first responders. The revocation/suspension effectively closed the swap meet, although a Pierce County Superior Court Judge later allowed the swap meet to remain open through the following weekend.
During this week’s administrative appeal, Unfred heard testimony from the Star Lite ownership and City of Lakewood representatives, including the Lakewood Police Officers who first observed the swap meet’s safety hazards.
Responding to a report of a missing child at the swap meet on April 3, 2016, the officers “found roadways and parking congested by vehicles and pedestrians, hindering their ability to enter the business for the purpose of responding to the missing child call,” according to Unfred’s decision.
Officers also found that traffic was backed up along both directions of 84th Street, directly in front the swap meet, with pedestrians crossing 84th Street mid-block, the decision states.
Following Unfred’s decision Thursday, Lakewood City Manager John Caulfield said he is pleased with the result.
“From Day 1, the City of Lakewood’s most paramount concern was public safety,” Caulfield said. “The conditions specified in the Hearing Officer’s decision address several safety issues that - although they should have been addressed already - provide a foundation that will allow the Star Lite to continue operations in a safe manner.”