Options for the Tideflats

The Tideflats Steering Committee, working on the Tideflats Subarea Plan, has been working with an environmental consulting group to come up with three possible maps for the Port of Tacoma for further study:

  • Alternative 1 – presents no changes for consideration
  • Alternative 2 – provides some zoning changes and environmental remediation
  • Alternative 3 – provides more zoning changes and environmental remediation
Each Alternative can be seen larger down below.

On March 24, the Steering Committee met to go over amendments proposed to the above alternatives by the Puyallup Tribe, the City of Tacoma, and the Port of Tacoma. The Steering Committee also includes Pierce County and the City of Fife.

The Puyallup Tribe amendment basically called for study, protection and restoration of the Hylebos and Wapato Creeks. They would like for Alternative 3 to include different land uses to protect those two estuaries, just as is being done around the Puyallup River. As Puyallup Tribal Council Member Annette Bryan said “”salmon are our life and very important to us.”

The City of Tacoma proposed two amendments: to take into account, in Alternative 2, the new Sound Transit station that will be built in Tacoma by appropriate zoning adjustments, and to add decarbonization to the guiding principles of the entire study.

The Port of Tacoma initially proposed to keep Alternative 1 (which is as things are now) and to use their own proposal for Alternative 2, which was basically not changing the map at all. They did not want to consider Alternative 3 at all.

Pierce County Council Member Ryan Mello emphasized that it is important to consider a wide range of alternatives as any final plan will undoubtedly be a combination of all those considered. Eliminating options would unnecessarily restrict future options. Mayor Woodards reinforced this idea with comments of her own.

In the end, Council Member Kristina Walker moved to approve the Puyallup Tribe amendment, the City of Tacoma amendments, and to make the Port’s amendment an additional option (Alternative 4). After some discussion, all agreed to make this so.

Mayor Woodards closed off by saying “There is still a commitment to making sure the Port thrives…This is the beginning of the meat of the [Tideflats Subarea Plan] process.”

Now the four options will move to the Planning Commission for further study and consideration.

We are still seeking ways to provide community input into this process and there should be a scoping process in the coming months where we can influence what factors should be studied in an impact statement.

All the fuss the past four years over the interim and non-interim regulations has been about freezing the map as-is until the Tideflats Subarea Plan can be finished. Unfortunately the non-interim regulations still allow for current fossil fuel companies, like US Oil and SeaPort Sound Terminal, to expand by 15% (supposedly only for the production of “renewable” fuels). They also allow PSE to double the processing capacity of their LNG facility.