This month, the Tacoma City Council voted 8-1 to adopt all of the recommended updates to the Municipal Park Code. This marked the first updates to the city’s municipal park code in 10 years to address issues involving temporary structures, as well as drones, vaping, and more.

Part of the updates include implementing a new rule that prohibits structures with walls — including tents — within city parks. The ban will go into effect Dec. 1.

According to Metro Parks, the delayed implementation gives city staff and community service providers more time to identify safe spaces and services for people experiencing homelessness.

The remaining code changes took effect Oct. 11.

Changes to Tacoma Municipal Code section 8.27:

  • Clarifies the current prohibition of smoking in parks to include the use of e-cigarettes, vapor products, or other nicotine-containing substances.
  • Adds drones, “sky lanterns,” unmanned aircraft systems, and motorized models as prohibited equipment except as specifically authorized.
  • Aligns electric scooters, e-bikes, mono-wheel devices, surreys, scooters, and similar devices with existing rules for bicycles that restrict them to designated roads, sidewalks, paths, or trails.
  • Limits permissible “structures” in parks to only those specifically authorized or are temporary and have only a roof and no walls.
  • Clarifies continuous moorage at park buoys as three overnight periods within a 10-day period, regardless of whether they are consecutive.
  • Authorizes the park district to adopt a code of conduct that regulates activities or behavior in parks to protect the public’s health and safety, to promote respect for the rights and needs of others, and to preserve park property.