Debbie Klosowski, Mayor, City of University Place
Car Tabs Dropped – A proposed license tab fee for UP drivers is off the table due to voters rejecting two measures regarding privatizing liquor sales. The UP City Council unanimously shelved the proposed Transportation Benefit District after learning the City should receive approximately $200,000 in 2011 and $400,000 in 2012 from liquor sales. Council discussions on remaining budget adds and drops are slated for November 15 with final budget approval scheduled for early December.
Other items discussed during the Council’s November 8 study session included:
Library Condominium/Operating Agreements – In 2006, the City and UP Library reached an agreement in which the library would turn over its existing building and property to the City for use in the future Town Center area in return for a similar quality library. (As you may recall, the prior library was down in a “hole” below Bridgeport Way and was situated in the middle of several properties identified for future downtown development).
Since entering into the initial agreement, the City and the Library District have approved several amendments to the agreement, all of which occurred in open public meetings. While the prior UP City Council and Library Board have already approved the bulk of the substantial issues, City Attorney Steve Victor has been working diligently with the Library District’s attorney to finalize the Library/Civic Building condominium and operating agreements by the end of December.
The Civic Building under construction consists of three floors. Upon entering the building, visitors will pass through an atrium/public space flanked by two future retail spaces. The new 15,000 square foot library will occupy the far end of the building while the second and third floors will house City offices and future office/commercial space.
Under the Condominium Agreement, the building is divided into separate units based upon ownership as well as defining any common areas such as the atrium are defined. Details regarding a condo association as well as procedures regarding future assessments for maintenance, operation and insurance issues are included in this document which will be completed next month.
The Operating Agreement between the City and the Library covers details on how particular common areas are used. For example, the City and the Library will develop a joint calendar defining procedures and priorities for scheduling events within the atrium.
A third agreement (Town Center Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions or CC&Rs) is a set of rules which will govern the entire Town Center overlay zone (35th to 37th) regarding issues such as assessing all owners maintenance fees for common areas.
Since there are no other property owners right now, it is premature to finalize CC&Rs at this time. The City very much appreciates our partnership with the Library District as well as the patience of UP residents and Library patrons who are currently using the temporary library on 27th Street. Excitement is growing regarding the Library’s grand opening on Saturday, February 12, 2011 and I’m confident residents will agree the new facility is simply outstanding!
Planned Action Ordinance – In March 2004, the City Council adopted a “Town Center Planned Action” ordinance to encourage economic development by streamlining the permit process for any private commercial or residential projects within the Town Center zone stretching along Bridgeport Way in the identified “Planned Action Area” located between 35th Street and Homestead Park.
Under a typical development process, developers must identify building uses, parking needs and potential impacts upon streets and the environment. Such requirements are necessary to protect the community’s interests, address any environmental issues, impacts upon our streets and other concerns.
The initial Town Center “Planned Action” ordinance identified a list of potential uses that could occur within the Planned Action area including restaurants, retail, a gourmet supermarket, health club, movie theater, general and government offices, hotel, library and housing. Stricter design standards, increased heights, parking and traffic impacts were also addressed. As a result, any proposed project that fell within the identified parameters of the ordinance could proceed without further environmental review, thus saving the developer time and money.
Since additional parking and improved traffic circulation were critical components in attracting private sector partners, the City went ahead with necessary public infrastructure improvements. In a typical development process, a business owner may be required to provide additional parking along with paying for measures to reduce environmental impacts. But since the City has already completed certain improvements within the Planned Action area, any project which locates within this designated area would be able to count the City’s contributions, thus saving them time and money in the permit review process.
The City Council reviews the Town Center Planned Action ordinance every two years to determine whether the anticipated levels of growth have changed along with determining whether any changes are needed to assist the City in attracting economic development. The Council is slated to act on this ordinance before the end of the year.
In other action, Council approved change orders to:
* Transit Facility for approximately $24,000 to Pease & Sons involving fencing to separate completed parking areas from unfinished areas along with additional pedestrian railings. The contract for the garage is under the project budget which is funded 100% through a federal grant.
* Library Tenant Improvements for approximately $30,300 to cover items such as HVAC and sprinkler systems. Although the industry standard for change orders is normally 10-15%, the change orders associated with this project are under 2% and still well within budget.
* Veterans’ Pancake Breakfast – Help honor our veterans and enjoy a delicious pancake breakfast on Saturday, November 13, from 8 to 11 a.m. at the American Legion Post 138, located at 7515 Cirque Drive West.
Proceeds from the breakfast go toward the future UP Veterans’ Memorial which will feature a Circle of Honor Plaza ringed by eight flags representing the five military services, Merchant Marines, a MIA/POW flag and an American flag. A second “Donor” plaza will feature brick pavers, benches and an art piece. For more information, contact (253) 202-7134 or UPVeteransMemorial@gmail.com
Thanksgiving Dinner – No plans for Thanksgiving? Come enjoy a complimentary turkey Thanksgiving Day dinner sponsored by the UP Volunteer Center from noon to 2 p.m. at the University Place Primary Cafeteria, 2708 Grandview Drive West. Volunteers are needed from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Additionally monetary donations made payable to the UP Volunteer Center are also being accepted. For more information, contact (253) 223-0039.
Holiday Elves Needed – Help decorate the City Hall complex (3715 Bridgeport Way West) on Tuesday, November 30 starting at 10 a.m. in preparation for the Christmas Tree Lighting activities on Saturday, December 4. For information, please contact Ken Grassi at (253) 278-1946.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Please feel free to contact me at dklosowski@CityofUP.com.