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No, however there are other City venues available for this purpose. Visit the Facility Rentals page for further information.
The City of University Place and Pierce County Library System own the Atrium and may use the space for any events sponsored by the City of University Place or the Pierce County Library System or sponsored by a group which the Library or City has formally recognized as affiliated with the Library or City. If the time of use is proposed during hours the University Place Pierce County Library is open, the Library System must approve the use.
The type of uses would need to be approved by the City and if during the Library’s open hours, by the Library.
Activities may not interfere with access to the University Place Library during hours the Library is open. For more information, see the Suggested Atrium Use Floor Plans on the Atrium page.
The City will review and determine approval when activities may occur in the Atrium, and if the event is proposed to occur during the Library’s open hours, the Library will review and determine approval. Event organizers must complete and submit an application through e-mail, mail or fax. The City of University Place and Pierce County Library will review your application and the City will respond to you. The Library will review applications that request to use the Atrium during the University Place Library’s open hours.
Yes, effective January 1, 2003 all businesses operating within the City of University Place are required to obtain a City of University Place Business License. Some exemptions apply.
You may also contact the Business Licensing Office for more information at 253.566.5656.Also check with the State to make sure you are complying with all State licensing requirements. You may reach the Washington State Business Licensing Department at 360.705.6741. In addition, please continue to use the Sales Tax Location Code of 2719 when reporting on your excise tax return form.
No, the City does not have a Business and Occupation Tax.
Yes, since January 1, 2003, Home Occupation Businesses located in the City of University Place are required to obtain a City Home Occupation Business License. Contact the State of Washington Business Licensing Service by calling 360.705.6741 or 1.800.451.7985.
Yes, a Peddler/Solicitor License is required for peddling/soliciting activities. Applications are available through the Peddler/Solicitor page or in the Business Licensing Office at City Hall.
A Master Peddler/Solicitor License costs $50 for each calendar year. Individual or Agent Under Master Peddler/Solicitor Licenses cost $25 for each calendar year.
The City of University Place contracts with the Pierce County District Court for court and related services. In addition to court hearings and trials, Pierce County provides University Place residents with prosecution services, assigned counsel services for indigent clients, assistance to victims, probation services, as well as maintenance of all court records.
Contact the University Place Municipal Court for information relating to traffic infraction. The phone number is 253.512.2258. University Place Municipal Court6000 Main Street SWLakewood WA 98499
Yes. the University Place Municipal Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. In addition to the traffic matters listed above, the Court handles some civil matters, such as those involving certain damages for injury to individuals or personal property, civil claims (also known as 'small claims') for recovery of money not exceeding $4,000 as well as penalties and contract disputes no greater than $50,000. Please check the Pierce County District Court website, or call 253.798.7474 for more information.
The Superior Court is the highest trial court at the state level and is the only court of general jurisdiction. Visit the Superior Court Administration webpage for a list of all services provided by the Pierce County Superior Court, or call their office at 253.798.3654.Additionally, the Pierce County Superior Court Clerk's Office maintains all Superior Court records and provides other court-related services. The Clerk's Office is located on the first floor of the County-City Building at 930 Tacoma Avenue South, Tacoma. Please check the Superior Court Clerk website for details about services and business hours, or call 253.798.7455.
The Washington State Courts website provides excellent information about state appellate and trial courts, including the Washington State Court of Appeals/Division II in Tacoma and the Washington State Supreme Court in Olympia. In addition, most local libraries and the Washington State Library in Olympia maintain educational information about our state court system.
The U.S. District Court and U.S. Bankruptcy Court for our area are located at 1717 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma. The District Court Clerk phone number is 253.593.6313. The Bankruptcy Court number is 253.593.6310.Please visit The Federal Judiciary homepage for information about federal courts. You may also wish to visit the website of the highest court in the land, The U.S. Supreme Court.The Federal Public Defender is located at 1331 Broadway, Suite 400, Tacoma, WA 98402. The phone number is 253.593.6710.
Visit the City Building at 930 Tacoma Avenue South in Tacoma. Clerks are available at both locations during normal business hours to assist in completing forms.
Phone the Domestic Violence Helpline at 253.798.4166Toll free 800.764.2420 (if outside of the 253 area code)253.798.4620 for TDD services
Domestic violence resources are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center, 718 Court E, Tacoma, WA 98402.
It is also possible to obtain a domestic violence protective order Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the University Place Police Department, 3631 Drexler Drive W Suite A, in University Place.
The City of University Place Municipal Code (UPMC) includes the laws and regulations that govern the city and its citizens. The UPMC is hosted on our Code Publishing website. If you do not know the exact code you are looking for, you may make a word search through this site.
You may call the City Clerk at 253.566.5656 to verify whether a part of the UPMC has been amended or repealed.
The Pierce County Code (PCC) is a compilation of laws pertaining to Pierce County residents who live outside of incorporated areas. The PCC contains the laws of Pierce County which are of a general and permanent nature and which may impose fines, penalties or forfeitures. Certain parts of the PCC were adopted by University Place upon incorporation. However, the City now has its own code (UPMC) which covers most laws pertaining to City of University Place residents that were formerly covered by the PCC.
The code is listed by numbered years. Earlier editions of RCW and its predecessors, as far back as the Code of 1881, are available at the State Law Library.The Washington Administrative Code (WAC) is a compilation of the regulations of executive branch agencies, which are issued by authority of statutes. Like legislation and the Constitution, regulations are a source of primary law in Washington State. The WAC codifies the regulations and arranges them by subject or agency. A new edition of the WAC is issued every two years with supplements issued each year between new editions.Both the RCW and the WAC can be viewed from the Statute Law Committee website. Additionally, many local libraries maintain these books in their reference sections, and they can be found at the Washington State Library in Olympia.
The State of Washington State Legislature provides ongoing bill updates during its open session periods. Additionally, assistance is available at the toll-free Legislative Hotline 800.562.6000.
The Washington State Constitution and the U.S. Constitution can be found in Volume 0 of the RCW (Revised Code of Washington). These can be found on the Statute Law Committee website.
No. The City Attorney represents the City government. The City Attorney must decline to assist citizens with individual legal problems. Please see the next FAQ for information about obtaining an attorney.
General legal information may be obtained at the web sites of Findlaw and LegalEngine.com and other legal information websites.
Consult your local library's reference section for Black's Law Dictionary and other helpful legal reference books. On the Internet, you may visit the Legal Engine website and find many legal terms listed under the Legal References column.
Visit the City Building for information.
Pierce County Bar Association (TPCBA) maintains a Lawyer Referral Service. The Bar office is located at:
620 Ernest S Brazill Street (Suite B)Tacoma, WA 98405-4620
Please visit their website or call 253.383.3432 to obtain business hours and information about services and costs. Services for low-income citizens may be obtained by calling the toll-free number for the Northwest Justice Project - CLEAR (Coordinated Legal Education, Advice and Referral) at 888.201.1014. Special services for seniors is at toll-free 888.387.7111. This coordinated effort links citizens to local volunteer lawyer programs, law school clinics, or other legal resources in the caller's community. You may also check the Northwest Justice Project website and the CLEAR website for information and qualifications for legal services. Both sites are accessible in English, Spanish, and Russian. The Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel (DAC) provides legal representation for qualified indigent clients. DAC handles Pierce County criminal proceedings at Superior Court, District Court, and Juvenile Court levels as well as at Tacoma Municipal Court. The department also handles dependency and termination proceedings at Juvenile/Family Court, as well as provides representation for persons detained for involuntary civil commitment proceedings. Contact the DAC website or call them at 253. 798.6062 to obtain details about services and qualifications for representation, office locations, business hours, etc.
A Dispute Center website is planned for the near future for issues regarding housing (tenant, mobile home park, etc.) and consumer/business disputes, as well as workplace, personal injury and probate issues. In the meanwhile, citizens may obtain information about services by calling 253.572.3657or visiting the center's website.
Review the tenant laws for Washington state. Many local libraries maintain a set of the RCW in their reference sections.
Legal documents can be recorded at the Pierce County Auditor's Office, 2401 South 35th Street, Room 200, Tacoma. Call 253.798.7427 for office hours, fees, etc., or visit the Auditor's website.
Marriage licenses can be obtained at the Pierce County Auditor's Office, 2401 South 35th Street, Room 200, Tacoma. Call 253.798.7427 for office hours, costs of licenses, etc., or visit the Auditor's website. Some Pierce County Judges do perform marriage ceremonies. Call Superior Court Administration at 253.798.3654, or visit the Superior Court Administration website and click on "Marriage Ceremony Providers" for further information.
Treasurer's Office is located at 2401 South 35th Street, Room 142, Tacoma. Contact them at 253.798.6111 for business hours and other information. Visit the Assessor-Treasurer website to do a parcel search or obtain information.
Go to the Access Washington website for a wide variety of information and resources, from government and departments, to information on recreation, business, education, and touring.
The City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. the first and third Mondays of the month for Regular Business Meetings. All City Council meetings are held in the Council Chambers, located at City Hall, 3609 Market Place West, Suite 200. Each Council meeting is listed on the Event Calendar section of the website with a link to its agenda.
Yes, at the beginning of Regular Council meetings, under the agenda item "Public Comments," you may address the Council and comment on issues that concern you and are not on that evening's agenda for Council Consideration or Public Hearing. Although, separate opportunities are provided later in the meeting for comments concerning those issues. Public comments are limited to three minutes per person as Council must allow sufficient time to address a full business agenda. Please be aware that the comment period is an opportunity to provide comment, not a question and answer session.
Agendas are posted on the City's webpage and at the U.P. Library.
Sustainable practices are those that "meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In other words, sustainability means taking responsibility for our actions. This includes adopting responsible economic, social, and environmental practices that set ourselves and our community up for a bright future.
Green UP is a commitment and collaborative effort by local organizations to become more sustainable and encourage sustainable practices throughout the community.
The City and Library, and the Fire and School Districts have been working with a group of local business and resident stakeholders to develop a shared set of focus areas and goals for the initiative. Meanwhile, each department has already started implementing sustainable practices internally. The City has also been encouraging sustainable practices community wide through a variety of avenues, such as rain garden workshops, green tips in the newsletter, and more.The Sustainability Advisory Committee was created to develop a community wide sustainability plan and recommendations for implementations. For more information on the Vision the group developed and their recommendations check out our Green UP Sustainability Advisory Committee page.
Yes, we do rent out a variety of City facilities. See our facility rentals page for a description of facilities that the City rents out.
Regular office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
City Ordinances, Resolutions, Minutes, Agendas, and the Municipal Code are available for viewing on the City's webpage by clicking on one of the links. You may also submit a public records request through the City's Public Records Request Center to obtain copies of these records or other city records. Contact the City Clerk's Office for more information.
No, there is no local B&O tax in the City of University Place.
For issues with the City's website, email Public Relations.
Call 253.460.5405 for more information.
In 2019, the Washington State Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) received $5 million to provide grant funds to local governments for activities to increase residential building capacity, streamline development, or develop a Housing Action Toolkit (HAT). The City of University Place chose to develop a HAT. As required by the State legislation, the HAT focuses on possible future actions that would “…encourage construction of additional affordable and market rate housing in a greater variety of housing types and at price….”The HAT was adopted by the University Place City Council on June 21, 2021. The HAT itself does not result in any Comprehensive Plan Policy or development regulation changes. It is, in fact, a toolkit that outlines information, recommendations, and possible actions that the City can consider taking in the future.
The Housing Action Toolkit includes the following considerations and steps:
In 2020, the City of U.P. will celebrate its 25th anniversary since its official incorporation in 1995.So what projects do you think we should tackle over the next 25 years? What do you think our priorities should be? Imagine 2045 is a community effort to determine what we want our community to look like by 2045.
When the City of University Place was incorporated 25 years ago, community members engaged in a robust visioning process that identified our collective priorities and community values. That information became the basis of our Comprehensive Plan, which has been the guiding force behind all of U.P.’s governing efforts—from budgeting to planning to public services. As we approach the milestone of entering our second 25 years, it makes sense to re-examine our vision for the City of U.P. We need to look back on what has changed and been accomplished in the last quarter century and use that information to shape our efforts through 2045.
You will! And your neighbors. And local businesses. The goal is to get input from all stakeholders. Everyone’s input matters, because we want a broad range of perspectives on a number of critical issues, including:
City of U.P. staff, City Council Members and Commissioners will actively seek input from members of the community during popular events such as Duck Daze, National Night Out and the annual Christmas Tree Lighting.Residents and stakeholders will also be encouraged to enroll in FlashVote, which will provide them with the opportunity to answer brief, periodic surveys and weigh-in on key topics.This information will then be reviewed and organized into a draft vision statement for the City of University Place. This community vision will then be used to help shape the City’s Comprehensive Plan, the document the City Council and Commissioners will use as the roadmap for all of the City’s efforts through 2045.
Imagine 2045 will officially launch during Duck Daze 2019 when City Council Members, Commissioners and staff will be asking the public: What is your vision of U.P. in 2045?Stakeholders will be given additional opportunities to share their thoughts over the next 12 months. Then in June 2020, the information collected will be reviewed and analyzed to create a draft vision statement. That draft statement will be presented to the public during the City’s 25th Anniversary Celebration in August 2020.There will be opportunities for public comment and revision to the document before the final vision statement is unveiled in December 2020 during the annual Christmas Tree Lighting festivities.Residents are encouraged to visit a special “Community Gallery” in the Civic Building to remember where U.P. was in 1995 and what it looks like today. This trip down memory lane reminds us that thoughtful planning can make a community’s vision become its reality.
The City has several ways of addressing speeding in the neighborhood. Citizens can participate in a Neighborhood Speed Watch Program or request a Speed Trailer. For more information, please contact the University Place Police Department at 253.798.4058.
We realize street lighting is a major concern for our community.
In 1997, the City contracted with Tacoma Public Utilities to place over 551 standard street lights on arterials. Unfortunately, our budget does not allow us to place lights on residential streets at this time. As arterials are improved or reconstructed with decorative lighting (i.e. Grandview Drive West and Bridgeport Way West) the lights from those streets will be moved onto residential streets based on prioritization and funding availability.
In the interim, citizens or neighborhood groups can contract directly with Tacoma Public Utilities to have individual streetlights installed at a nominal cost. Please contact 253.460.2526 for more information.
Arterial streets are swept once monthly. Residential streets are swept one time a year.
Report a pothole by calling 253.460.6493.
Complete a request on-line at South Sound 911, through the Records Portal, or in person at 945 Tacoma Avenue S, Tacoma, WA 98402. The phone number is 253.798.7441.
Call 253.798.4721. This will dispatch an officer to your location to take a report.
While University Place has a relatively low and stable violent crime rate, the City has experienced growth in the property crime rate, resulting in higher calls for service at the Police Department. After completing a comprehensive study on police services, the City Council has begun the process of educating the community about the community’s public safety needs and seeking public input on the idea of a property tax levy to support additional police staffing.
The primary revenue source for the City’s public safety expenditures is property tax. In fact, all the property tax collected by the City is dedicated to public safety funding. For an average- home in U.P. (valued at $524,870, as determined by the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer), a homeowner pays the City approximately $408 in property tax.
The City only receives approximately $0.06 for every $1 a homeowner pays in property tax. 94% of property taxes are distributed to other jurisdictions, such as the School District, the Fire District, the County, and the State.
Most of that amount is determined by voter approved levies and bonds for our community’s school and fire districts.
State law severely limits how much additional revenue the City can collect in property taxes each year without voter approval. The annual increase is limited to 1% more than the City received in the prior year, plus tax on the value of new construction. For 2022, the City will receive $71,209 more in property tax than it received in 2021. In contrast, the City’s police services contract increased by $193,660, due to ordinary inflationary expenses. This discrepancy is not sustainable.
The City’s budget places a priority on meeting legal obligations and the provision of essential services. The City spends almost 40% of its operating budget on public safety expenses. The budget also reflects, however, the City’s statutory obligation to process permits, adopt and enforce zoning regulations, maintain public records, account for its finances, and repay its debts. And, finally, the budget prioritizes the minimal needs to maintain public facilities, including basic maintenance for streets and parks. These activities and services represent most of the City’s expenses. Given these obligations, it simply is not possible to fund additional public safety staffing and services without new revenue.
Yes, apartment complexes are taxed at the same tax rate as single family, commercial and vacant properties. The amount of tax is based on the value of the property.
It is a common but mistaken belief that apartment complexes use more police services. For example, we reviewed calls for service data for five complexes here in U.P., from 2016 to 2020. We found that these apartments generated 0.9 calls per unit. We then reviewed the data for a single-family residential neighborhood with a similar number of residential units. We found the single-family neighborhood generated 0.9 calls per residence.
More importantly, State doesn’t allow local jurisdictions to tax different types of property (commercial, single-family, multi-family) differently. Each property must be taxed at the same tax rate.
Our community has the lowest officer to citizen ratio in the State of Washington (0.45 officers per 1,000 residents, compared to an average of 1.19 for similarly sized cities. While this formula is not the only measure used to establish police staffing levels it does give a glimpse into our staffing challenge.
Our officers also handle a higher-than-average number of calls for service than neighboring jurisdictions. This reduces the opportunity for pro-active police work, to include follow-up investigations, traffic enforcement, neighborhood patrols, and community engagement.
Yes, specifically around shoplifting/theft. Our six-year average for shoplifting incidents is 125 per year. This year, we are on pace for nearly 200 – a 64% increase. We also have seen increased calls for suspicious behavior and loitering that are associated with these types of incidents.
Our Police Department has 16 commissioned officers. The City Council is considering a several staffing models that would increase staffing by 6 to 14 officers. These officers would include additions to investigations (specifically to focus on property crimes), patrol officers to enhance response times and the visual presence in our community, and officers dedicated to traffic enforcement.
Yes, during the staffing model research, we identified the need for one or two limited commission positions located within the police department to help address calls for service that require an individual trained in public safety but do not require a full commissioned officer. The position would have outreach functions with persons dealing with various types of crises. They would have enhanced knowledge of community resources to be an effective primary responder for welfare checks and calls about homeless complaints or panhandling. Additionally, the position will be trained to provide crime prevention education to businesses, apartment complex managers, and homeowners to help tackle our property crime challenges. The position also would be able to handle routine reports, freeing up commissioned officers for higher-level tasks.
Limited commission officers provide a visible presence and perform important duties, but they are substantially less expensive than commissioned staff.
Depending on the staffing model, the estimated additional cost to the average homeowner would be approximately $14 to $30 a month.
When the established a Police Department in 1996, the City had 25 officers. That staffing model allowed to City’s Police Department to adopt a motto called “no call too small.” This is one of the components of community-oriented policing – having sufficient staffing to take time for officers to work with residents on issues in their neighborhood, not just “take the report and go.”
Today, with a staffing of 16 officers and a growing demand on public safety services, that motto has been severely impacted. UPPD officers still respond to all types of calls for service, but our response time may be delayed compared to year’s past. Also, we ask citizens to complete online reports for several types of crimes to avoid dispatching officers to help maximize their time. This is not the most effective way to address crime problems. While online reporting may be convenient for some citizens, it does not provide the most efficient way to document and review a criminal incident. Most citizens are not report writers and either don’t know what to include or how to write it accurately. Also, they may miss evidence or important details that can be helpful in an investigation. Online reports are still reviewed by a UPPD supervisor, but the process still doesn’t allow for the most effective response to a reported criminal incident.
There are three areas of improvement that the various staffing models address. The first involves police availability and visibility. With only two patrol officers on at a time, the amount of time where both officers are tied up is becoming more frequent. This means more and more calls are pending longer. An increased amount of police visibility also will enhance community safety.
The second involves our capacity to address growing crime problems in our community. Adding to our investigations staff will help address the property crime challenges and hold more criminals accountable for these “lower-level crimes,” so they learn not to commit them in U.P.
Lastly, as noted above, addition one or two non-commissioned into the Police Department would help focus our patrol officers’ time on more pressing issues, while providing critical functions at a much lower cost than a commissioned officer.
In 1987, the State Legislature created Transportation Benefit Districts (TBDs) as an option for local governments to fund transportation improvements. Chapter 36.73 of the Revised Code of Washington provides for the establishment of TBD by cities and counties for the sole purpose of acquiring, constructing, improving, providing, and funding transportation improvements within the district. In 2005 and 2007, the Legislature amended the TBD statute to expand its uses and revenue authority, including the ability to authorize a $20 annual vehicle license fee (VLF), and up to an additional $80 of VLF, if approved by voters within the district. The state legislature provided local governments with these tools because inflation has eroded the local share of gas tax and because a series of statewide ballot initiatives passed over the last 12 years have eliminated other traditional sources of funding for local transportation needs. For example, in 2002 a statewide initiative had the effect of repealing a $15 annual countywide VLF that had been dedicated to the same local street maintenance needs supported by the Seattle TBD's annual fee.
The University Place Transportation Benefit District is governed by a Board, comprised of University Place City Councilmembers acting ex officio and independently of their elected position, as required by the authorizing state law.
The following cities have established or are considering a TBD:
All of these areas collect annual VLF's through a Transportation Benefit District. Others collect sales taxes through TBDs. Additional TBD information can be found at the MRSC's Transportation Benefit Districts page.
Funding is available based on voter approval.
Without voter approval:
With voter approval:
In large part, the legislature authorized the $20 VLF to replace a $15 countywide license fee dedicated to local street funding that had been eliminated by passage of I-776 in 2002.
The TBD budget spends the revenue on a mix of maintenance and preservation as well as safety and enhancements to University Place's existing transportation network.
For other questions relating to Vehicle Licensing, please contact the state Department of Licensing, Vehicle Licensing division at 360.902.3770. Locally, you can contact the Pierce County Auditor’s office at 253.798.7427.