City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 9/26/08

September 26, 2008
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • City Retains Firm to Develop American Lake Gardens Master Plan: In partnership with the Port of Tacoma, the City has retained the Seattle firm of Huitt-Zollars and several sub consultants to develop an industrial master plan for American Lake Gardens. A significant portion of American Lake Gardens - some of which is vacant and some residentially developed - was designated to industrial redevelopment with adoption of the City's comprehensive plan in 2000, and industrial zoning followed in 2001. This was a major stimulus for extension of sewer service to the area, which is currently served only by septic systems. As sewer construction approaches, the City is exploring the most beneficial uses and approach to industrial redevelopment. The planning project is expected to be complete in early 2009.
  • Port of Tacoma Contributes $25,000 for American Lake Gardens Master Plan: Lakewood received a check from the Port of Tacoma in the amount of $25,000 to be used to defray costs associated with the preparation of the American Lake Gardens Master Plan.
  • City manager attends ICMA annual conference: The city manager participated this week with about 3.400 attendees at the national city managers conference (International City/County Management Association-ICMA) in Richmond VA. He attended workshops on gov't innovation, city managers who blog, building the business case for infrastructure, performance management and data systems, and community building. He also conducted a meeting with the city manager of Fayetteville NC, the "host" city to the joint bases of Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base. The two city managers discussed the city/installation relationships with growth-oriented military bases.
  • HR Director attends WA Public Employers Labor Relations Association Annual Conference: Human Resources Director Debi Young attended as a board member the Washington Public Employer Labor Relations Association Annual Conference (WAPELRA) in Chelan. The conference included a wide variety of topics related to Classification and Compensation Systems and Practices as well as the labor arena.
  • Code Enforcement Update: As of today, there have been a total of 272 Code Enforcement records entered for 2008. Of these, 104 have been closed, 54 are active, and 114 are pending.
  • Abatement Activity Update: Abatement activity has been active, with demolition of one house completed this week, a house extensively damaged by a fallen tree posted with an abatement order, demolition scheduled on a burned-out house with extensive structural damage and numerous illegal and substandard additions, and a Notice of Intent to Abate recorded with the Pierce County Auditor for another extensively burned-out house. The owners of each of these houses had failed to correct the problems, despite enforcement action and more than adequate time to respond. In Woodbrook, property owners cooperated and abated two related properties this week; both properties were subject to previous abatements in 1998. In Tillicum, demolition permits were also issued for two buildings in Tillicum to a new property owner that was sold because of pending abatement action.
  • Abatement coordination with Tacoma Police operation: Animal Control, Building, and Code Enforcement divisions were called out following a Tacoma Police Department raid on a Lakewood house, where a small marijuana growing operation was found. Animal Control removed four adult pit bull dogs and 11 puppies. The Building Division inspected and "red-tagged" the house, and Tacoma Power disconnected the electricity. There were extensive, unfinished additions to the house, unpermitted wiring, secret rooms being created in the attic spaces, unfinished storage areas converted into bedrooms, and various other code violations. There had reportedly been suspicious activity associated with the house. An abatement order is being issued for the house and property and the owner will have 30 days to correct the violations or appeal the order.
  • The Ribbon is Cut at the Lakewood Station: City officials joined officials from Intercity Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit, as well as State Rep. Tami Green and Congressman Norm Dicks in the Lakewood Station Grand Opening on Saturday, September 20th. It was also the birthday for Councilmember and Sound Transit boardmember Claudia Thomas, who led the ribbon cutting ceremony. Express bus service at the 600-car parking garage is now open.
    Use of the parking garage by commuters was checked on Monday and Friday of this week, and there has been an incremental increase in the use of the facility. About 150 vehicles were parked in the garage on Friday morning.