Help plan the future of the Tacoma Mall neighborhood

The Tacoma Mall as seen in January 2013.
The Tacoma Mall as seen in January 2013. Staff file, 2013

Next up for City of Tacoma long-range planning: the neighborhood around the Tacoma Mall.

As it has already done for all of downtown and the Hilltop neighborhood, the city is launching the development of a sub-area plan and related environmental impact statement for the 485-acre area around the mall, which is one of the places the city hopes to funnel jobs and increase housing density.

Sub-area plans and environmental impact statements do not sound like the most riveting of documents, but they are a big deal in the planning and development process. As I outlined in detail in 2011, the goal is to streamline development by eliminating the need for environmental and traffic studies for individual real estate projects.

The plan will examine the area’s roads, power, water and sewer needs, giving city leaders a tool to help them decide what infrastructure investments to make in the future. It also will plan for parks, trails and open space. Additionally, writing an environmental impact statement for the entire area allows developers to skip that time- and money-consuming step.

The city team will “work closely with members of the community to develop a vision, goals and strategies for the area,” according to a news release.

Here’s how to get involved:

▪ Attend a community meeting: On Aug. 26, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Madison School Complex, 3101 S. 43rd St., the City will host a Community Meeting to discuss the project and invite people to participate.

▪ Join a stakeholders group: The City is organizing a Community Stakeholders Group and a Technical Stakeholders Group to guide the development of the Plan. Contact project staff for more information: Elliott Barnett at (253) 591-5389, Molly Harris at (253) 591-5383 or email

▪ More online: Learn about upcoming meetings, sign up for project updates and provide comments at