Laurelhurst Community Club
Serving 2800 Households in
Council President Peter Steinbrueck and
Members of the
RE: UW Lease Lid
Dear Council President Steinbrueck and Members of the Council:
The Laurelhurst Community Club Board of Trustees continues to monitor Council efforts with regard to the UW lease lid. Unlike the University, our group has at all times been willing to compromise—to sit down and develop a solution that works for everyone—the City, the University and the surrounding communities. We believe it is important to allow the University flexibility to meet its needs, but loss of housing and the impact upon surrounding communities must also be addressed. We support the alternative proposed by Councilmember Licata.
The “Drago/Nicastro” solution was an important start in retaining provisions in the City-University Agreement relating to ground floor use, in providing oversight by CUCAC and preventing leasing in neighborhoods outside the University District. We believe that proposal fell short, however, in addressing the impact upon existing affordable and low income housing and in other areas.
What began as a good start at Thursday’s committee meeting eroded into what appeared to be support for virtually no restriction on UW leasing. We were disappointed that a representative from the University was allowed a place at the table to promote the University’s position, while communities were left out and unable to respond. In response to legitimate concerns about what would happen if the City begins to lose housing and retail as a result of UW leasing, the only response from the UW representative was that the City could pursue another amendment to the City-University Agreement at that time—certainly not an easy undertaking.
Councilmember Licata’s compromise proposal provides a generous addition to the allowable lease limit and real incentives to promote housing. The University indicates it has no interest in producing housing, yet one of the chief features of the UW’s Tacoma master plan is a proposed $21 million housing and parking complex at South 17th and Market Streets that will include 94 apartments and a 300-space garage. This could happen in the University District with incentives such as those proposed by Councilmember Licata.
We urge you to support Councilmember Licata’s proposed compromise. In the alternative, we ask that you hold this matter over to allow community groups to meet individually with councilmembers. Thank you for considering our views and for your continued efforts in addressing issues related to the Mayor’s proposal to eliminate the UW lease lid.
Jeannie Hale, President
525-5135 / fax 525-9631