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Tacoma officials seek to create port buffer zones

Tacoma officials seek to create port buffer zones

Officials from the port and city of Tacoma are preparing to finalize a deal that will formally protect 31 acres of forested land near the port from future development.

   The purchase of the $2 million parcel will be spilt between the two, with the port contributing $1.7 million and the remaining $300,000 coming from a city open space fund. Highway contractor Woodworth & Co. owns the parcel.

   If the purchase is approved, the port and city will enter into a stewardship agreement to maintain the property in perpetuity through the Cascade Land Conservancy. The port will pick up most of the annual cost of the stewardship by establishing an endowment with port funds.

   The port also plans to purchase a nearby 36-acre former gravel pit, also owned by Woodworth, with similar goals of conservancy.

   Plans call for the two parcels to act as buffer zones between port facilities and nearby residents.

   While initial plans did not recommend allowing public access to trails on the parcels, at least one Tacoma City Council member requested that this option be explored.

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