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Meeting Minutes: Special Meeting Minutes

Meeting Type

Special Meeting Minutes 

Meeting Date





Special Meeting of the City Council

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Fircrest Golf Club




The meeting was called to order at 8:30 a.m.


Mayor Keel, Mayor Pro Tem Belleci, Councilmember McCluskey, Councilmember Worthington, Councilmember Figueroa and Councilmember Nye.


Staff present:  City Manager Sugg, Executive Director/ACM Craig, Executive Director/ACM Faison, Police Chief Blair, City Attorney Kaser, Public Works, Parks & Facilities Director Cooper, Communications/I.T. Manager Seesz, Principal Planner Briske, Network Administrator Vallantyne, Communications Specialist Kleber,


A motion was made and was carried to excuse Councilmember Grassi.


Mayor’s Remarks:  Mayor compliments all involved for progress we have made over the past few years.  Mayor Keel circulated a draft high-level notional plan.  He discussed the deliverables and milestones identified in the plan.  He noted upcoming focus on citizen engagement, move into the new facility.


Assignment of Council Roles:  Facilitator Pendleton led Council through a discussion of changes. 

§ Council discussed making interim assignments to serve on behalf of Councilmember Grassi on the Pierce Transit Board – Mayor Pro Tem Belleci/Councilmember Worthington were selected to serve on an interim basis as primary/alternate. 

§ Councilmember Worthington noted that he no longer serves on AWC Legislative Committee. 

§ Councilmember McCluskey removed herself from the City Commission Interview Committee.  Discussion ensued on potential changes to the committee structure.  Two core issues – should the mayor serve on the committee and who should replace Councilmember McCluskey.  There was consensus to have a study session on whether it is possible under state law to amend the ordinance to have the Selection Committee do the interviews and make a recommendation to Council, with the Committee’s recommendation appearing on the Consent Agenda for Council approval.  State law may require mayoral appointment with Council confirmation.  Councilmember Figueroa volunteered to serve in place of Councilmember McCluskey.

§ The Vision and 25th Anniversary Committees need to be added to the assignment chart.  Also, there needs to be a replacement identified for Councilmember Grassi on the Vision Committee.


2019-2020 Council Goals Review:  City Manager Sugg reviewed Council’s 2019-2020 Council Goals. 

§ He noted that Goals 1 and 5 relate to the Regional Growth Center Subarea Plan.  He noted that we have engaged a consultant to create an economic model that we can use to evaluate the costs and benefits from certain development typologies and public investment in targeted developments.  We are in the process of adopting form-based codes and other implementation tools.  He added that we need to have more discussion with the County on sewer service.  Lastly, he stated that there is interest by the City of Tacoma to combine efforts with University Place and Fircrest on redevelopment efforts as a designated “Countywide Center” in the Narrows Plaza area.

§ On Goal 2, he told Council that they would be hearing from the Communication/IT department on the status of the electronic citizens/public communications strategy.

§ A presentation on Goal 3, the 25-year celebration, will be made later in the day by Mayor Pro Tem Belleci.

§ A review of Goal 4 was assigned to the Public Safety Commission in December.  The Commission will be working closely with the Planning Commission and Economic Development Advisory Commission on recommendations to Council.


Guest Speakers from Microsoft Corporation and Synchronoss Technologies, Inc.

Mayor Keel introduced the concept of smart cities as it relates to University Place, particularly the use of technology to talk to residents and businesses, and how technology can be integrated into our future efforts. Phil Koretz and Vincent Broyles presented on smart city efforts across the country, and the overarching theme of adding value for residents and government. 


Update/Discussion on Plans for the Future

§ South Sound Alliance:  Dr. Modarres presented demographic information of University Place, including the fact that the city is growing amongst younger and older people, and population growth of 8% vs. job growth of 6%.  Our population characteristics are similar to the national average in terms of the percentage of millennials and those retiring soon, with slightly less (but growing) racial diversity.  Our largest industry is government – far greater than the national average.  We have a lower percentage of jobs by industry jobs in most other categories.  Our highest growth in jobs has been construction, followed by services.  Over two-thirds of our businesses have fewer than nine employees.  Only thirteen companies with more than 100 employees.  11,000 residents of UP leave UP for work.  4,000 are commuting to UP for work – most are coming here to work in service industry.  Most are commuting to Tacoma.  How to grow:  a) Increase livability – reduce external commutes, build walkable/more dense places and be more family and child friendly; b) Focus on small firms and innovation/incentive zones; and c)  Be methodical and build on what you have.

§ Regional Growth Center Sub-Area Plan:  Mariza Craig and Kevin Briske provided an update on the status of the City’s Sub-area Plan.  A public hearing is scheduled on February 6th on Comprehensive Plan amendments and Zoning Code changes to implement the Comprehensive Plan changes.  A focus will be on mixed-use, with differences within the Sub-area based on building height.  The City also is proposing the adoption of form-based codes to regulate business form first and building use second to achieve a particular type of place or built environment based on a community vision.  Mariza Craig also talked about economic development potential on 90 opportunity parcels within the Sub-area.  Staff has completed a development feasibility analysis and is now working on a fiscal impact tool, an opportunity property owners outreach initiative and urban analytic center.

§ Technology Presentation:  Communication/IT Department provided update on implementation of Council’s goals.  Update provided on City’s social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) and upcoming e-communication platforms (online permitting, public records request and customer relations systems).


Council Future Brainstorm

Facilitator Pendleton introduced the topic by asking Council whether there are lessons learned from the information provided so far that could guide the City’s actions.


Councilmember McCluskey spoke about getting a better understanding of what the residents want so that we can tailor our implementation tools to address those needs/concerns.  Strategic, manageable and action oriented smart city.  We know why the families are here.  Why are the gray-hairs still here?  She like the flexibility provided by the form-based code.


Councilmember Worthington talked about linking up with larger entities that have more contact or data with our residents.  There is a lot of stuff to measure, but we need to be focused on information that has a purpose.  He emphasized Microsoft’s strategy of trying to seek a quick win.


Councilmember Nye asked how does the increase in AI (and its effect on the job market) affect our residents and our policies/decision-making.  He would like to see the data broken down into our City limits, rather than the zip code-based data that includes other areas like Fircrest.  How do we capitalize on the draw to UP – the school district.  Can we have more condos to appeal to snow-birds.


Councilmember Worthington noted that the stats show that we are becoming a younger city.  What does that mean in terms of smart city implementation?


Facilitator Pendleton talked about how this demographic trend impacts housing choices.  How do we incentivize development typologies? 

Mayor Keel said we need to dig down into Dr. Modarres’ data to better understand these trends.  He believes that there are opportunities for quick wins – he cited some of our current electronic efforts.  He would like to see us provide wireless access across the entire city.

Mayor Pro Tem Belleci says we need to find a way to communicate with the older generation who may not be captivated by their phones.  We have good ideas.  We need to figure out what our ultimate goals are and how to get there.  We need to ask each of the different generations.


Council Subcommittee Report

25th Anniversary Celebration:  There have only been two meetings so far.  The meetings were more brainstorming sessions.  Lots of ideas, but not real consensus yet.  It has been determined that the City should leverage its existing events and Chambers Bay is not an option for the location.  Market Square has been identified as the preferred location.  The Committee believes that an events coordinator is required to organize activities and sponsorships.  Staff is going to look at using the $50k for the coordinator.  The expert can tell us what day works best.  As part of the event (the day before), there would be an appreciation event to honor prior council members, friends groups and community volunteers the evening before the celebration.  We should look to the business community and non-profits to help subsidize the cost.  There will be a council study session soon to discuss the event coordinator and budget.


Community Vision:  Councilmember Worthington introduced other members of the sub-committee (Mayor Keel and Councilmember McCluskey).  He gave a summary of committee meeting ideas to date.  He introduced idea of kicking-off the visioning campaign on Duck Daze 2019. Council listened to a presentation on branding options.  Council selected “Imagine 2045” as the tagline.  Council preferred utilizing the Imagine logo with the City logo over the first “I”.  They also supported using an existing event – Duck Daze – to kick off the visioning campaign.  The Council did not prefer the grey color. 



Councilmember Figueroa:  He is concerned about workload.  He’s also concerned about timing – such as the Anniversary and Community Vision subcommittees.  He thinks action items need to be put on Council’s agenda for study.  He thinks it’s a lot of work to get citizen engagement, but we can utilize our committees for feedback and as ambassadors. 


Councilmember McCluskey:  Appreciated the breadth of the meeting and the ideas discussed.  We need to discuss the funding and staffing resources needed to execute some of these ideas.


Councilmember Nye:  Has questions about economic feasibility analysis.  He has concerns about Tim Eyman’s initiative on car tabs. 


Councilmember Worthington:  Was excited to hear from the private sector attendees.  He was pleased to hear what is happening on the IT/Communication work.


City Manager Sugg:  There is a lot to follow-up on.  We’ve had a good, strong start to the year.  The meeting reflected to preparation.  We will decipher our notes and discuss with Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem the scheduling of various necessary meetings.


Mayor Keel:  Thanked the staff for work on the meeting and the Council for their discussion.  He really liked the “Imagine” concept.  He appreciated the City Manager Sugg’s framing of the discussion and prioritization around the Council’s top five goals.


The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.  No other action followed.


Submitted by: 




Eric Faison

Executive Director/ACM


Special Meeting Minutes-20190126-0958 

Meeting Type / Meeting Date

43491/Special Meeting Minutes 


Special Meeting Agenda-20190126-0846 




Content Type: Meeting Minutes
Created at 2/20/2019 9:58 AM  by Emelita Genetia 
Last modified at 2/20/2019 9:58 AM  by Emelita Genetia