The Tumwater General Government Committee recommended to its city council on Wednesday, November 8, to approve an ordinance amending the city’s municipal code to apply park rules in all city properties.
Parks and Recreation Director Chuck Denney explained that it made sense to expand the coverage of park rules as the Parks and Recreation Department not only maintains grounds for city parks but also for city properties.
“It creates a more even playing field for the public,” Denney said. “There's no confusion when [someone is] in a park or on the grounds of the library. The rules will be the same everywhere.”
The amendment does not largely change any of the current rules, but adds language to indicate that the regulations apply to all city properties.
A full list of the rules is available in Tumwater Municipal Code section 12.32.020. Denney mentioned some of the rules to the committee, including those related to building fires, riding horses, vandalism, overnight parking, wildlife, use of drones, alcohol, and several more.
The ordinance also seeks to include a new section in Chapter 12.32 to suspend the enforcement of 12.32.020(F), which prohibits loitering in city parks and properties between sundown and sunrise unless permitted for certain events. This sub-section is being suspended to allow leniency for those who are indigent or are experiencing homelessness.
“Enforcement of TMC 12.32.020(F) nighttime exclusion shall be suspended for persons who are indigent and homeless any time there is no space or beds available in reasonably accessible homeless shelters, to the extent such available space is required by law,” the new section reads.
Interlocal agreement with Port of Olympia to develop HCP extended
During the same meeting, the committee also recommended the approval of an amendment extending an interlocal agreement between the city and Port of Olympia to develop the Bush Prairie Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP).
The agreement was forged in 2016 and in its current form, would end on December 31 this year. The proposed amendment pushes the agreement's expiration to the end of 2025. Nothing else in the agreement would be changed with the amendment.
The HCP is a planning document required by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to develop areas where species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) occur.
Both the ordinance and the amendment to the interlocal agreement will be included in the consent agenda of the city council’s November 21 meeting.