Two weeks ago, when concerns flared that Walmart was eyeing the Elks property in Central Tacoma, the City Council quickly approved a six-month moratorium on big box retailers, in part to halt the project.
But the council’s temporary ban may not thwart Walmart’s plans after all – thanks to a state law that requires print publication of ordinances before they can take effect.
“There’s a question now of whether (the moratorium) applies or not,” Councilman Jake Fey said Friday.
The council approved its emergency moratorium ordinance to halt any new applications or permits for “retail establishments that exceed 65,000 square feet” on Tuesday, Aug. 30.
But legal publication of the new ordinance in the city’s newspaper of record didn’t occur until Thursday, Sept. 1.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Aug. 31, Walmart representatives officially submitted a development application for a 150,000-square-foot Super Center on the Tacoma Elks Lodge site.
Whether the city will seek to impose the terms of its big box ban on the Walmart proposal now appears to be a legal question squarely in the city’s court.
“That’s one of the things we are looking at while reviewing the application,” city spokesman Rob McNair-Huff said Monday.
Neither City Attorney Elizabeth Pauli nor her top deputy, Bill Fosbre, returned phone calls Monday.
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