Rumors & Questions

Check this page for updates on rumors, chatter heard about town to get the facts and real scoop straight from the source.

Check this page for updates on rumors, chatter heard about town to get the facts and real scoop straight from the source.

What question do you have? Have you heard a rumor that you want to check? Let us know! Scroll down to see information on other questions/rumors we've received.

Full DIsclosure: Questions asked by "City of Sumner" are ones we're receiving a lot of in other forums (email, phone calls) so have added ourselves.

Q&A

  • Why is there only 1 grocery store in town now? When Sumner was small there were 3.

    Kim P asked 16 days ago

    We actually have two: Fred Meyer and Winco, and like the national trend, each are much larger than stores were 30 years ago. I guess there are even more in Sumner if you also count Day & Night Grocery, AM/PM and the 7-11 on the 24th St interchange, all probably the same size as the old Thriftway that used to be on Main! 

    Things like privately run grocery stores remain at the discretion of the companies who run them whether or not to locate in a city. Just ask Fife and Dupont, two neighboring cities who have been trying to recruit even one store for decades now.

  • What’s going on the vacant lot at the Valley & Main intersection?

    CityofSumner asked 28 days ago

    Plans are underway for a 7-11 mini-mart and gas station to go in the long vacant lot on the southeast corner of this intersection. A few residents in the area have expressed concern over traffic into the adjacent neighborhoods. We’ve also heard the oft-asked question for most development: “Why did the city let that go there?”

    First, the neighborhood traffic impact should be minimal. Driving into the neighborhood’s rather circuitous streets does not offer future customers any kind of direct connection to major routes like Valley Avenue or Main Street or even Meade McCumber. Customers from the future store will follow similar traffic patterns as customers of the long-standing high-traffic stores already there, including Starbucks, Jack-in-the-Box, McDonald’s, Fred Meyer and Subway.

    Second, it’s a common misconception that city government gets to pick or have a significant say in private land deals. We provide general zoning (i.e. commercial, residential) to try to limit incompatible uses from being next to each other, and our Design Commission can ensure that the building follows architectural guidelines. In this case, the zoning is general commercial, which conditionally allows for gas stations and drive thru businesses. A conditional use permit is issued after a hearing with the Hearing Examiner. Watch public notices for the hearing date. You can provide testimony about your concerns regarding impacts like traffic to the Hearing Examiner, and the conditional use permit may impose conditions on the development to mitigate impacts. Keep in mind: the Hearing Examiner does not have the ability to stop the project.

    Generally, when someone wants to do something on their own land, they usually find the city too restrictive; but when they want to have a say in what someone else does on their land, they often find us too permissive.

  • Is a parking garage in Sumner ever getting built?

    CityofSumner asked 24 days ago

    We really hope so. Passed in 2008 with Sound Transit 2, funding has been in place since then to improve access to Sumner’s station. Sound Transit determined the biggest hindrances were the Traffic Avenue interchange and lack of parking, in that order. With some funding from Sound Transit and others, we fixed the interchange, while the garage moved slowly through the process to identify the right size, the right location (on the existing open parking lot), and the right design to fit Sumner’s adjacent neighborhood. Sound Transit was close to heading into final design and construction when COVID hit.

    The City of Sumner has been in communication with Sound Transit officials recently to try to keep Sumner’s garage on track. We fear that as Sound Transit re-prioritizes projects based on their funding losses, Sumner’s garage may get delayed or even changed in size or design in an effort to save money. We believe that we’re so far into the process that building what was planned as quickly as possible is the best option for Sumner, for regional commuters and for Sound Transit’s finances.  Our elected officials and staff continue to work with the Sound Transit Board of Directors to move this project forward as quickly as possible.

  • Why have my property taxes gone up recently? Where does it go?

    CityofSumner asked 28 days ago

    Property taxes are based on rates and value of your property. The average home value in Sumner is now $374,594. Property taxes support a number of jurisdictions and may be voted on directly or, in the City's case, approved through the Council after holding a public hearing. 

    The chart gives you a breakdown of where your money goes by % of your total property tax bill. The * indicates a tax that was voter-approved. The table shows you the same information plus the actual tax rate per $1000 of your property's assessed value and the amount that the average home would pay in dollars. 

  • Would it be possible to make large trucks use the 24th St interchange to access Hwy 167 instead of coming down Traffic Ave? Not only do they cause an awful lot of congestion but I’m sure it tears up the roads too.

    sgibson33 asked 4 months ago

    Yes, we get that suggestion a lot. The problem with doing that is that because of the wear and tear large vehicles put on our roads, the trucking industry helps pay for their repair. The Freight Mobility Board and Port of Tacoma both contributed to the new Traffic Avenue improvements. (Freight Mobility in the millions of $.) Without their support, we would still all be stuck on a two-lane bottleneck. So, it's not really fair to take their funding and then send them another way. The other factor is that trucks can go off truck routes if it's the closest route. So for all the businesses on the southern end of town, their trucks could still use Traffic Avenue even if it weren't on the truck route.

  • Why is there a Pride Progress bench going in at Loyalty Park?

    CityofSumner asked about 1 month ago

    As part of the ongoing discussion about diversity and effort to ensure the Sumner community is inclusive and welcoming to all, a few members of the community asked for a Pride, or Progress, crosswalk on Main Street. Councilmembers asked staff to research the suggestion. We found there were various safety and legal issues with a crosswalk, plus we didn’t have any new crosswalks budgeted. An opportunity arose as part of the Loyalty Park Inclusive playground upgrade. After discussion at public meetings, staff, Council and the Forestry & Parks Commission moved forward with adding a Progress Pride Bench at Loyalty. It fills multiple needs, fits well with the intent of the nearby inclusive playground, and provides a simple symbol of welcome to all.

  • We have the first Monday sirens for two months.

    LeClair's asked 2 months ago

    I'm so sorry for the delay. I meant to circle back with you earlier because I wasn't quite sure what you were asking. With your reference to "two months," I think you mean the fact that the monthly tests of the lahar sirens have gone recently to a test chime sound instead of the full wail. The full wail is now in reserve for emergencies, not tests. You can still go hear what the full wail sounds like on the Pierce County site. Here's the link with more information about the siren testing. https://www.co.pierce.wa.us/5888/Outdoor-Warning-System

  • Can large trucks cross the new Cannery Way Bridge?

    CityofSumner asked 4 months ago

    Yes and no. The new Cannery Way Bridge does not have the weight restrictions of the old Bridge Street bridge, so vehicles of all weights--including fire engines and school buses--may cross safely. However, Cannery Way is not part of the Sumner truck route. That means trucks may use the bridge for local access only

    For example, a truck needing to get fuel at Pacific Pride/Snider Petroleum or deliver to The Old Cannery is okay to cross the bridge. A truck using the route to deliver up on the West Valley Highway and avoid the perpetual congestion on SR 167 is not okay to cross the bridge and needs to use the 24th Street interchange instead.

  • Did the City Council raise our sales tax for affordable housing?

    CityofSumner asked 8 months ago

    No, they did not. They took advantage of a new State law that lets the City divert a portion of the sales tax that had been going to the State of Washington to remain with the City for the specific use of providing affordable housing within our city. In other words, you will pay the same sales tax rate on goods in Sumner; but instead of the money from your tax going to the State as it had been, a small portion of that will now come to Sumner to work on making/keeping housing affordable. The Council did have to take a vote in order to put this diversion of dollars in place.


  • Am I allowed to turn the planting strip (the portion of my front yard between the sidewalk and the street) into a planting bed for, say, tomatoes? What about my front lawn--does it have to be grass, or can I convert it into a field of beans?

    betteirene asked 10 months ago

    That’s a good question! We like the idea of vegetables being added to gardens, especially if they’re interspersed ornamentally for both good dinners to come and beautiful yards for all to enjoy seeing. However, the purpose of the planter strip really is access: for someone to be able to park and walk to a house, the sidewalk or a business. That strip really needs to be grass and/or trees only for ease of access. We also have to protect sight-lines so that cars easily see each other, pedestrians easily see cars coming, etc. Plus, you wouldn’t want your beautiful veggies to get trampled before they hit the kitchen. So, bottom line is you’ll want to skip veggies in the planter strip. For the rest of your front yard, you can add veggies, but just remember that all yards have to look well maintained, and that rule applies whether it’s grass, beans, flowers or whatever you’re planting and maintaining. Hope this helps. Happy gardening!