Council Roundup: March 18, 2019

Support for State Housing and Essential Needs Funding, Construction Codes for Alleys, Shoreline Master Program, and Noise Ordinance
Posted on 03/21/2019
Seahurst Shoreline

Council discussed updates to the Shoreline Master Program and revisions to the City’s noise ordinance. They also expressed support for state legislation and community initiatives that address housing affordability, environmental protections, and infrastructure.

Safe Firearm Storage Giveaway Event

The Highline Schools Foundation is hosting an event on Saturday, March 23, 2019 where people can learn about the importance of safe firearm storage and receive a free lock box or trigger lock. 

Safe storage of guns saves lives lost to suicide and accidents, decreases thefts, unauthorized use, community violence, and guns brought to schools. Receive hands-on training on how to use a lock box and trigger lock.

The event is sponsored by CHI Franciscan, Kaiser Permanente, and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. The event is endorsed by Highline Public Schools, Highline Schools Foundation, and the police departments in Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, and SeaTac, and King County Sheriff.

Sea-Tac Stakeholder Advisory Round Table (StART)

There is an opening for a Burien community member to serve on the Sea-Tac Stakeholder Advisory Round Table (StART)

StART offers an opportunity for the Southwest King County communities to engage with the Port of Seattle staff and aviation industry representatives, develop a shared understanding and voice feedback on the airport’s construction projects, programs, and operations. Each city has designated three StART members who are joined by airline representatives and Sea-Tac Airport staff. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to provide agency expertise.

Challenge Seattle

Council signed a letter of support declaring Burien’s support for former Governor Chris Gregoire’s Challenge Seattle’s call-to-action for low- and middle-income housing in the Puget Sound region. The Council also agreed to support the Sound Cities Association public policy position on housing affordability.

Council Approves Resolution Supporting Increase to State’s Housing and Essential Needs Rental Assistance Funding

The State of Washington’s Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program ensures that extremely low-income people diagnosed with significant, temporary mental illnesses or physical disabilities can meet their basic needs like housing and hygiene while they are unable to work. HEN is both a frontline investment in our state’s behavioral health system and a critical component of our homelessness response systems in local communities. HEN funding has not been increased since its inception in 2011, while housing and living expenses have dramatically increased throughout the state during this period. Simultaneously, the homelessness crisis and behavioral health crisis have worsened significantly. The Council passed a resolution to support a State legislature budget proposal to increase state funds for the HEN program by an additional $69 million.

Use of Alleys for New Construction

Council discussed the current standards for use of alleys as primary access for new construction. Currently, construction codes allow for case-by-case evaluation (variance process) of whether alleys can be considered an access point for new construction. Criteria that City staff consider include measuring if the alley is wide enough for fire trucks to enter, can traffic pass through the alley safely, and do pedestrians have a safe place to walk or get out of the way of an emergency vehicle. 

Shoreline Master Program Receives Minor Updates

Council discussed updates to the Shoreline Master Program to make it consistent with updated state law. Burien’s Shoreline Master Program (SMP), a land use plan for local shoreline areas, applies to approximately five miles of marine shoreline along Puget Sound and Lake Burien. The SMP protects the environmental resources of state shorelines, promotes public access and enjoyment, and gives priority to uses that require a shoreline location. The City did a major update in 2013, and a minor update in 2016 to include new critical area updates. Washington State law requires periodic review every eight years of local SMPs. The City has received a letter of initial compliance from the Department of Ecology. The Council will vote on the proposed updates on April 1, 2019 in order to meet the State’s June 31, 2019 deadline.

Discussion on Potential Changes to Noise Ordinance

Council discussed possible changes to the City’s noise ordinance that would allow more public events to extend into the evening. Burien’s noise ordinance currently prevents public events from being held in Burien after 10:00 p.m. on all nights of the week. City staff gathered community feedback in 2018 from both residents and local businesses. Council directed staff to bring a revised ordinance back to a future Council meeting that would lift noise restrictions from specially permitted public events held in downtown Burien.  

Discussion on Options to Enhance the Boards and Commissions Selection Process

Council discussed improvements to the selection process for citizen advisory boards and commissions. Recommendations to included changes to interview process, revising position descriptions and application questions, providing input through the city manager, and establishing working sessions with Council and boards. Proposed changes will be discussed again on April 1, 2019.

City Manager’s Report

  • Council approved a letter of support for the Sea-Tac Airport Impacts Study.
  • Council asked for more information about several housing affordability bills being discussed in the state legislature. Once more information is presented, Council will discuss whether to send a letter of support.
  • Council asked to learn more about proposed State regulation changes that would increase the size and weight of trucks allowed on our roadways. Council will discuss at a future meeting.
  • Council sent a letter of support to state legislators supporting Senate Bill 5116: Washington’s clean energy economy and transitioning to a clean, affordable, and reliable energy future.
  • Council approved several proclamations, including: Affordable Housing Week (sponsored by Deputy Mayor Bell), Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week (sponsored by Councilmember Edgar), Sexual Assault Awareness Month (sponsored by Councilmember Nancy Tosta), and Burien Pride Month (sponsored by Councilmember Marx).
  • A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for April 17 for the Lakeview Park new playground.