Council Roundup: December 2, 2019

2020 Budget, Affordable Housing Investment, Comprehensive Plan Amendments, Climate Change, Stream Restoration, Severe Weather Shelter
Posted on 12/12/2019
Burien Discusses New Environmental Standards

Council discussed the City of Burien vs. FAA, the Miller Creek Project, Burien's Severe Winter Weather Shelter, and more. The December 23 meeting has been canceled.

City of Burien vs. FAA

On November 27, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in favor of the City of Burien in Burien’s lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arising from the FAA’s change of a flight path over Burien without environmental review.

Miller Creek Project Daylights Important Fish Passage and Restores Stream to More Natural State

The Port of Seattle Commission approved $800,000 to help fund a project designed to help Miller Creek provide a better environment for fish passage. The project will daylight the creek, restoring the stream to a more natural state and make it easier for fish, in particular salmon, pass along the creek on their journey from Puget Sound. The project will cost a total of $3.5 million.

Burien’s Severe Winter Weather Shelter to Receive Funding from City of Burien and King County

The City of Burien has been working with the Ecumenical Leadership Circle and Catholic Community Services to stand up a severe weather shelter at the Highline United Methodist church in Burien for the upcoming winter season. King County Councilmember Joe McDermott’s office allocated $30,000 to the shelter for this winter season.

Council Adopts 2020 Budget

Council adopted the adjustments to 2019-2020 budget [link to budget document]. Key components of the new budget include:

  • Adjustments to staff salaries based on the 2019 salary survey
  • New positions: Replacing the Economic Development Intern with an Emergency Management Intern, new Rental Housing Inspection Coordinator, and new Accounting Assistant.
  • Adjustments to transportation and infrastructure programs to account for financial impact of I-976
  • Property tax rate changes from $1.09 per $1,000 assessed value to $1.04 per $1,000 assessed value
  • Adjustments to commercial property tax and surface water management rates
  • Adjustments to revenue projections based on new grants the City will be receiving

New Legislation Changes Rules for Accessory Dwelling Units

Council approved updates to the Burien Zoning Code to make it easier to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs) such as backyard cottages and basement apartments in single-family neighborhoods. The council also moved to prohibit the construction of single-family homes in multifamily zones, in order to maximize the development potential in those neighborhoods. Specific changes to the zoning code include:

  • Two ADUs now allowed on a property (1 attached, 1 detached)
  • No more owner-occupancy requirement
  • Parking requirement waived if within a quarter mile of a transit stop

The new regulations are part of a suite policies the city is pursuing to address housing affordability in Burien.

Urban Center Plan Discussion Continues

Council continued a discussion on the Burien Urban Center Plan. Council will vote on whether to adopt the final plan on December 16, 2019.

Council Discusses New Environmental Standards

Council discussed a resolution to support the adoption of a clean fuels standard and a joint letter of commitment for climate change actions. Council will vote on these items at the December 16, 2019 meeting.

Administrative Changes to Business and Occupation Tax

The State of Washington have directed cities who have a business and occupation (B&O) tax to update their municipal code to account for administrative changes to the way taxes are filed. Council adopted the new B&O tax ordinance in order to comply with the new State law. This is an administrative change and does not increase the tax rate for Burien businesses.

Affordable Housing Funds to be Pooled with Cities in the South King Housing and Homelessness Partners

Council discussed pooling affordable housing funds from HB 1406 with other South King County cities participating in South King County Housing and Homelessness Partners (SKHHP). Council will vote on this item on December 16, 2019.

Council Discussed Salaries and Benefits for Future Councilmembers

Staff presented a comparison of Burien City Council salaries and benefits as compared to 15 neighboring jurisdictions. After comparing the compensation packages, the Council decided to not change Council salaries and benefits.

Get Involved

The Council encourages Burien residents to understand the business of the City as well as discussions on specific topics that are brought before the City Council. There are several ways to follow the workings of the Council:

  • Attend the Monday night City Council meetings-in person, on Channel 21, or streamed online. See schedule of meetings (
  • Watch for scheduled public meetings or public hearings on specific projects and topics (

The Council is interested in hearing from residents and businesses. Ways to provide meaningful input include:

  • Send emails to the City Council at [email protected] or to each individual Councilmembers’ email address, which can be found listed at:
  • Contact Councilmembers at their City phone number, which can be found listed at:
  • Attend a City Council meeting and speak to the Council for up to two minutes during public comment.