Derek Young

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Our first few months have been busy! With much of my time spent getting up to speed on issues before the Pierce County Council, I haven’t had as much time to update you as I would like.

Today’s e-newsletter is the first of more regular updates to help you stay informed. If you have questions or suggestions about what kind of information you’d like in these mailings, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

I also wanted to invite you to attend a special meeting of the Council's Community Development Committee coming up in Gig Harbor. On Monday, June 8, the committee will be discussing updates to the County's comprehensive plan from 5:30 - 8 p.m. at Harbor Ridge Middle School. The address is 9010 Prentice Ave, Gig Harbor, WA 98332, and I hope to see you all there.

As always, it's a privilege to represent your interests in county government. I look forward to hearing from you soon.




Shoreline Management Plan update

I've often said that local government is like a relay race, with one department handing over projects to the next.

That was particularly true of the state-mandated Shoreline Management Plan update. Years overdue, with dozens of amendments to make it a workable document, we finally managed to send a finished plan to the Department of Ecology for approval and comments.

As the prime sponsor, I focused most of my time on protections for habitat and upland property owners around the issue of aquaculture. It just doesn’t make much sense to me that we’d go through all this effort to restore endangered species, only to do harm to critical habitat necessary to achieve that goal.

It’s likely that DOE will return the plan with some suggested or required amendments, so we’re not quite done yet, but the finish line is within sight.


General Services building

By now you’ve probably read about the effort to consolidate general county services into a single office building (the GSB). I supported the proposal when it came before the Council because it will save the County budget tens of millions of dollars over the next 30 years and leave the next generation a like-new building owned free and clear.

However, there have been some significant concerns raised and a movement to put the project on the ballot.

A citizens group has filed a referendum and they’ve been collecting signatures for several weeks. Soon, a judge will decide whether or not this type of issue is subject to referendum. In the meantime, the Council passed a resolution to put the matter on the August 4 primary ballot for an advisory vote.


South Sound 911 building

The most consistent criticism of the GSB project was the lack of a robust public outreach effort. While the required public meetings were held and the project certainly wasn’t a secret - having been featured on the front page of The News Tribune - I agree that the County could have done much better. That’s why I asked for a delay prior to our vote to hold a town hall.

Unfortunately, the time to gather public input is at the beginning of the process before expensive plans are drawn up...another reason why I insisted that the proposed South Sound 911 building have a period of public comment before giving my support to move forward. Although a separate multi-jurisdiction agency, South Sound 911 is dependent on the County for site acquisition and bonding. As a result, the project requires a budget amendment and future bonding support which I’ve agreed to sponsor.

In 2011, voters overwhelmingly supported a 0.1% sales tax to provide first responders with state-of-the-art radios and a more reliable radio network. The plan also included consolidating aging dispatch centers into one new facility. The radios and much of the network are in place, so now the focus turns to the building. The current proposal seems to fulfill those wishes, but most voters don’t want to give government a blank check. They want to be involved (or at least know they can be).

It’s about accountability, and to that end we’ve scheduled a series of public meetings in our district and around the County. We'll be at the Gig Harbor Civic Center tomorrow, May 19, at 5:30 p.m., and at the West Tacoma Neighborhood Council on Wednesday, May 20, at 7:00 p.m. (Tacoma Fire Station 16, 7217 6th Ave.).

Click here for a full list of public meetings on the project.

Initiative 502 local ban repeal

On May 27, the Pierce County Council's Community Development Committee will have a hearing on an ordinance I sponsored to repeal the de facto local ban on I-502 (marijuana production and retail operations) in unincorporated Pierce County.

With the Legislature finally working out a way to deal with the proliferation of unlicensed, untaxed and unregulated dispensaries, it’s time for Pierce County to hold up its end of the bargain and implement the people’s clear wishes for a legal market.

I’ll have more on this as we get closer to the hearing, so keep an eye out for that email.

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