The Tacoma City Council is set to hear tonight an appeal from developers seeking to overturn a city hearing examiner’s decision earlier this year that denied a controversial proposal to build hundreds of homes over the North Shore Golf Course in Northeast Tacoma.
Attorneys for developers Northshore Investors LLC have filed two appeals in the case – one to the Tacoma City Council, the other to Pierce County Superior Court. The appeals contend hearing examiner Wick Dufford had no legal standing for his denials and recommendations earlier this year against the developers’ land use application. Council members will hold a formal hearing on the appeal before them tonight, while the separate court appeal remains pending.
Opponents of the project, primarily neighborhood residents who formed the Save NE Tacoma group to fight the development, are expected to show up en masse at tonight’s City Council meeting. The group’s website promotes tonight’s hearing as “The Final City Council Meeting” on the issue, and it reminds people to: “TELL ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS WE NEED EVERYONE IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS.”
But if anyone is expecting to publicly speak on the matter tonight, they’ll be disappointed.
City spokesman Rob McNair-Huff noted that under the appeals process for city hearing examiner rulings that go before council, no public comment is allowed on the issue.
“The time for public comment has already taken place during all the meetings in front of the hearing examiner, which led to the current recommendation,” McNair-Huff said. “…We’re aware of a lot of public interest in this particular topic. We would like to help get the word out, so that people are not coming with the wrong idea.
“We certainly expect that a lot of people will want to be there and just through their presence, make their voices heard. But we’re a little concern that their may be some misperception (about public comment).”
“The decision is not final yet, but the appeals process does not have a public comment portion.”