Council Roundup: February 25, 2019

Economic Development, Burien Airport Committee, Emergency Services Update
Posted on 03/01/2019
SW 153rd St sign.

Council appointed four people to the Burien Airport Committee, signed letters of support for state legislative bills calling for the siting of a second commercial aviation facility in western Washington, and discussed economic development on SW 153rd St.

Emergency Services Update

City Manager Brian J. Wilson recognized staff for their response to the recent snow event and shared a few data points.

  • Public Works staff worked 12-hour shifts continuously for 2 weeks.
  • 130 tons of salt and 17,000 gallons of brine were applied to city streets.
  • Three large plows and three small plows were in operation, around the clock through the snow event.
  • Parks maintenance staff helped with tree removal, provided emergency repair to equipment, and shoveled snow from roofs and walkways.
  • The Burien Community Center remained open when City Hall was open, even though classes and programs were canceled.
  • The Ecumenical Leadership Circle organized a volunteer-led severe weather shelter. The shelter remained open for 13 nights and served as a warming center for 3 days. On average, 33 guests were sheltered each night. Full meals were served by volunteers. Five guests were connected to Evergreen Treatment Services and the City’s human services manager worked to connect these guests to services. The community raised $11,700 to fund the effort.
  • Burien Police and Fire departments worked around the clock to protect public safety in extremely challenging conditions.

Council Signs Letters of Support for State Legislative Bills SB 5370 and HB 1683

Council voted to sign letters of support for two legislative bills regarding the growth of Sea-Tac Airport. If passed, SB 5370 and HB 1683 would establish a commercial aviation coordinating commission tasked with identifying a location for a new primary commercial aviation facility in western Washington by January 1, 2021.

The letters reference resolutions passed by Council in January calling on regional and state leaders to consider the efficacy of continued development at Sea-Tac Airport and to act on finding a new location. 

Burien Airport Committee

The Council appointed Larry Cripe, Sharyn Parker, and Javier Tordable, and Debi Wagner to serve on the Burien Airport Committee.

Business and Economic Development Partnership Presents Annual Report and Plans for 2019

The City’s Business and Economic Development Partnership (BEDP), a Council-appointed advisory board made up of local residents and business owners, presented a report of their accomplishments for 2018. Their major achievements include advising on:

  • Improvements to SW 153rd St.
  • Implementation of Burien’s first business survey.
  • Changes to the admissions tax that supports small businesses.
  • Plastic bag ban.

The BEDP also provided letters of support for the designation of Burien neighborhoods to be federally-selected Opportunity Zones.

In the next two years, the BEDP will tackle the implementation of SW 153rd St improvements, targeted business attraction, and participate in a public visioning process for the Ambaum Blvd and Boulevard Park business districts, and work on business-focused public safety issues.

Business Survey Reveals Advantages and Challenges of Operating a Business in Burien

The City’s economic development staff reported on the results of the City of Burien’s business conditions survey. Results from the survey provide a valuable snapshot of Burien’s business community. Burien’s top advantages for businesses included location, a sense of community, the low cost of doing business, a small business-friendly community, and City staff and police being easy to work with. The City’s continued growth and diverse population were also named as assets. Challenges that were identified included crime, homelessness, taxes, and workforce-related issues.

SW 153rd St to See Improvements

Council directed the BEDP to move forward with their plans to make incremental improvements to SW 153rd St. The goal is to make small, but impactful changes in order to gain positive momentum, and inspire property owners on the street to invest in their properties, such as additional plants and greenery or façade improvements. A business leadership committee, made up of BEDP members and business and property owners on SW 153rd St, will be working with City staff to implement the following recommendations to mitigate issues that serve as barriers to more economic development on the street:

  • Procurement and placement of potted trees and plants along the street to add greenery.
  • Explore mandatory garbage service and dumpster locks for businesses adjacent to the alleyways on SW 153rd St.
  • Establish and begin to design and implement a unique ‘theme’ for the street.
  • Development of a façade improvement grant program.
  • Expansion of the 2-hour parking limits and increased parking enforcement.
  • Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) educational walking tours led by Burien Police Department.

Lodging Tax

A lodging tax is a tax on hotel rooms in a community. Washington State has rigorous requirements on how the tax is managed and collected, and on how the tax revenue can be used. After considering the administrative costs of managing a lodging tax and weighing it against the amount of potential revenue it would bring in, Council decided to delay enacting a lodging tax in Burien until the first hotel building permits have been issued.