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City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 12/16/2011

December 16, 2011
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Officer Sievers to perform for Fallen Officer Food Drive: On Saturday, December 17th, Officer Gene Sievers will be performing at the DuPont Forza from 7pm to 9:30pm, and he will be accepting food donations during his performance for the Fallen Officer Food Drive. This is the last event connected to the Fallen Officer Food Drive and will effectively close the donation period for this year’s drive. We will be able to give updated totals before the holiday. As of right now we stand at: 41,919 pounds and $40,175.
  • Meeting in Governor’s office regarding Interstate 5 JBLM congestion: Representative Connie Ladenburg of the 29th district arranged a meeting with Governor Gregoire on December 13th to discuss the critical importance of funding IJR’s (Interchange Justification Reports) for the JBLM-related freeway interchanges between Lakewood and Lacey. Dan Penrose, project administrator for the JBLM Growth Coordination Plan process, provided information from the Defense Department-funded traffic analyses, and represented the newly-established South Sound Military & Communities Partnership.
  • Police and CSRT lead effort to clean up an abandoned property: LPD advised CSRT in early December that there was a house abandoned due to foreclosure on 92nd Street South. CSRT investigated neighbor complaints of trespassers, vagrants, squatters and trash at the house. CSRT discovered the house was unlocked; full of trash, and that it was evident that squatters were breaking into the house. CSRT contacted the bank that owned the property and worked with them to clean and secure the property in only twelve days. This is an example of LPD and CSRT working with the private sector to help clean up the community.
  • Waughop Lake Reduced to Caution Status: The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department reported that the amount of toxic algae in Waughop Lake has declined significantly and they reduced the toxic algae advisory from a warning to a caution status last week. Waughop Lake, located in Fort Steilacoom Park, is a small kettle lake, fed by storm water runoff and precipitation with no outfall. Less daylight and cooler temperatures are likely contributors to the reduced levels. If the amount of toxic algae continues to decline as predicted, the TPCHD may be able to lift the caution advisory and, for the first time in several years, NOT have a toxic algae advisory for Waughop Lake.
  • Candy Cane Lane at the Senior Activity Center: The Lakewood Senior Activity Center held its “Candy Cane Lane” event on December 8th, with more than 55 older adults enjoying food and fellowship and caroling. A repertoire of festive musical entertainment was provided throughout the event by Tom and Rene Brooks, a great way to kick off the holiday season.
  • LPD distributes meals to families in need: The Lakewood Police Department distributed Holiday Meals at John Dower Elementary School on December 15th. 150 meals were passed out to needy families throughout Lakewood. The families were all part of the Head Start Program which is coordinated through the Clover Park School District (CPSD). The families were also fed pizza, cookies and juice compliments of CPSD.
  • Youth Council assists Caring for Kids with Holiday Fair: The Lakewood Youth Council assisted Diane Formoso and Caring for Kids with the Holiday Fair which was held on Saturday, December 10th. The Fair provides gifts and presents to families that cannot afford to purchase their own. 650 families attended the Fair this year. The Youth Council along with many of their peers helped with the setup of the event the night before and then returned the following day to help distribute gifts.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 12/9/2011

December 9, 2011
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • 2nd Annual Fallen Officers Food Drive Update: Lakewood Police Department kicked off its 2nd Annual Fallen Officers Food Drive to benefit the Emergency Food Network (EFN) on November 29th. There was an outpouring of support from the community, with the drive collecting generous donations of $39,252 and 38,999 pounds of food during the one-week event.
  • Neighborhood Association leadership meeting: CSRT manager Steve Mauer and communications director Mike Savage convened a meeting with about 17 neighborhood association leaders from all districts on December 6th at the Police Station. The session provided important feedback on the CSRT operation and set the stage for an “all-community” meeting to be planned for 2012.
  • Lakewood’s 16th Christmas Tree Lighting Festival: Parks, Recreation & Community Services hosted the 16th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting on December 2nd, with over 300 kids and their families. It included a Kids parade, crafts, Santa, and performances from local groups including Charisma School of Dance, Lakewood YMCA Fly Dancers and the Tacoma Youth Choir, -- as well as the Lakes and Clover Park High School choirs and the CPHS marching band
  • Habitat for Humanity Groundbreaking in Tillicum: The City of Lakewood and Habitat for Humanity broke ground in Tillicum and demolished several dilapidated buildings to kick off the construction of over 30 new homes for low income families. This is another step in the economic transformation of Tillicum. Program Manager Jeff Gumm played a key role in guiding the project.
  • Police Chief and Ass’t Chief are speakers at Alaska Executive Law Enforcement Conference: Chief Bret Farrar and Assistant Chief Mike Zaro were invited to Anchorage to present at the Alaska Executive Law Enforcement Conference on December 7th. Approximately 80 law enforcement personnel were in attendance to hear their presentation on “Review and Lessons Learned from the Murder of Our Four Officers”, which was very well received.
  • New City Hall Art Display: Local artist Marjorie Mankin has been selected by the Lakewood Arts Commission to display her artwork on the first floor of City Hall. The paintings feature a variety of watercolors including depictions of flowers, gardens and other outdoor scenes. She currently has an exhibit showing at the Lakewood Historical Museum as well.

Lakewood Signs – Upcoming Changes

The Lakewood City Council adopted an Ordinance revising the City’s sign regulations in June 2011. Many of the changes were business-friendly allowing each business to continuously display one portable sign without a permit, as long as the sign is an A-frame, T-frame, or banner attached flat against the wall of the business. “We understand it is a tough economy for businesses right now and we wanted to provide them with the tools to increase visibility,” said City Manager Andrew Neiditz. Under prior law, similar signage required a permit.

One issue that was not addressed in June was the use of feather banners. The popularity of feather banners emerged after the Ordinance was complete. The Community Development Department issued a clarification on the use of feather banners indicating that these types of signs have different characteristics than A-frame or traditional banners displayed against a wall. The use of feather banners will require a temporary sign permit. “While we understand that these signs are currently popular because their movement draws attention to them, they have had the unintended consequence of creating blight along the City’s streets,” said Community Development Director Dave Bugher. Bugher noted that over time, the feather banners have an increased potential to become torn, frayed and faded. Numerous complaints have been received about the use of these signs, some of which have come from local businesses.

While the City has taken steps to increase business visibility through changing the sign code, City staff has noticed an increased amount of illegal signs along City streets. Much of this sign clutter comes from the overuse of temporary signs. Often the increased use of temporary signs by one business will compel nearby businesses to increase their signage which has an undesired effect on traffic safety, and community aesthetics. Effective immediately, where complaints have been filed regarding illegal temporary signs, Code Enforcement Officers will initiate enforcement efforts. Otherwise, beginning in January, 2012, the City will initiate proactive enforcement for those businesses that have installed illegal signs.

For more information regarding sign regulations, and the specific conditions for the portable signs, contact the City at (253) 512-2261. The regulations can be found in Chapter 18A of the Lakewood Municipal Code at .

Habitat for Humanity Groundbreaking in Tillicum

City of Lakewood and Habitat for Humanity Break Ground for Over 30 New Homes

The City of Lakewood and Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity broke ground in Tillicum to make way for over 30 new homes.  The homes will replace dilapidated buildings and vacant lots to provide home ownership opportunities for families making  30-50% of area median income ($21,150--$35,850 for a family of four).

The groundbreaking featured the actual demolition of buildings by City Officials, as one entire dilapidated structure was razed during the ceremony. City Manager Andrew Neiditz said the groundbreaking was “symbolic of the economic transformation that the Tillicum neighborhood is experiencing.”

The project was forged by a close relationship between the City and Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable homeownership opportunities to very low-income households throughout Pierce County. Habitat for Humanity has built over 180 units of affordable housing in Pierce County with only one foreclosure in its 26 year history. 

Habitat for Humanity has previously built three homes in Lakewood.  With the addition of  these 30 new homes, Habitat and the City are looking to expand their partnership by eliminating blight and creating much needed homeownership opportunities for the residents of Tillicum.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 12/2/2011

December 2, 2011
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager


  • Lakewood’s 16th Christmas Tree Lighting Festival this evening: Santa is coming to town for the 16th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Festival on December 2nd.  There will be lots of free activities for everyone to enjoy including a Kiddies Parade, crafts, games, refreshments and of course a visit with Santa.  Participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the Emergency Food Network.  The event is from 4 – 7pm at Lakewood City Hall.
  • Lakewood Police conducts 2nd Annual Fallen Officers Food Drive:  On November 29th, the Lakewood Police Department kicked off its 2nd Annual Fallen Officers Food Drive to benefit the Emergency Food Network (EFN).   Donations of food and money were accepted at the Police Station, all Forza Coffee locations, Pierce County Library branches and Lakewood Hardware from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily, and will continue until the drive concludes on December 5th. So far, $22,525 and 30,126 pounds of food have been collected. This is the biggest one day food drive for EFN in 30 years.
  • Bridgeport Way Construction Work Update:   Starting next week, December 5th, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., traffic at the north City Limits on Bridgeport Way SW will be reduced to two lane-two direction traffic. i.e., only one lane open in each direction.  However, all lanes will be open each night.  Delays should be expected when traveling through this area.
  • Safety training at coffee businesses: CSRT supervisor, Lt. Steve Mauer, and other CSRT team members gave a safety presentation on November 21st to 17 owners, managers and baristas of several stand-alone coffee businesses within the City.  The presentation was due to recent robberies of the coffee stands.  A security assessment was made of several of the buildings.  Suggestions were given on proper lighting, positioning of security cameras, strengthening of windows and doors and removal of signs and other items from the window area that obstruct vision inside and outside of the stands.  An emphasis was placed on awareness of customers and the immediate reporting of suspicious activities and individuals to the police.  Some basic self-defense techniques were shared with the employees as well.
  • Senior Center Visits Veterans Memorial Museum:  A group from the Lakewood Senior Activity Center traveled to Chehalis for a guided tour of the Veterans Memorial Museum.  This team of lively older adults was met by a docent eager to share information about the museum as well as insight on the displays throughout the museum.  This museum features a 9,000 square foot main gallery and hundreds of displays honoring our veterans. 
  • CSRT conducts crime prevention presentation to apartment residents:  CSRT member Gail Conelly recently conducted a crime prevention presentation for the residents of a north Lakewood apartment complex which has experienced a rash of vehicle prowls and burglaries. She presented ways for the residents to protect themselves and their property, as well as suggestions for increased protection of the apartments through actions of the management staff, such as better door locks and lighting.  There were about 25 people in attendance.