Council Roundup: May 20, 2019

Sign Code, Transportation Improvement Program, Initiative 976, Burien First Fridays
Posted on 05/23/2019
Burien's discussing an amendment to the sign code

Council discussed amendments to Burien’s sign code, updates to the Transportation Improvement Program, passed a resolution opposing Initiative 976, and heard a presentation about Burien First Fridays.

Burien First Fridays

Beka Atwood, owner of the Shoppe Seahurst, and Sara Klages, owner of Pickled and Preserved, presented information about a Burien First Friday event, sponsored by a new business group called the Burien Collective. Every first Friday of the month, businesses will stay open until at least 8 p.m. and offer free entertainment and other activities to entice people to come the business. Every business that participates will have ownership of what happens in their space, but the event will be promoted collectively through the Burien Collective’s social media efforts as well as Discover Burien, Chamber, and B-Town Beat. The first event is scheduled for June 7.

They described a marketing campaign that can be collectively used by numerous businesses. Themes for each the next four months have been established: June is Sip into Summer, July is Red, White, and Burien, August is the B-Town Beat, and September is Camp Burien, focused on kids.

Find more information on Facebook.

Compensation of City Manager

Council unanimously voted to approve a cost of living salary adjustment for the City Manager.

Sign Code

Council discussed updating the City’s sign regulations in the Burien Zoning Code to comply with the findings under the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert. The ruling clarified that sign codes must be content neutral and standards such as size, location, and duration cannot vary based on the message of the sign (e.g. “political sign” or “for sale” sign). The narrow focus of the changes to the zoning code is on the temporary sign regulations. The proposed changes to the code does not regulate based on the content of the sign.

Sign code regulates both permanent and temporary signage by zone (residential, non-residential, mixed use) and type (wall signs, freestanding, lawn, A-frame, flags, etc.). Language was added to the code that regulated the material type, favoring more durable materials and restricting less durable materials. The new code will allow temporary lawn signs to be up for 180 days.

There has been a moratorium on enforcing the City’s temporary sign regulations because the current sign code currently violates rules after Reed v Gilbert. City staff will conduct outreach to Burien businesses and residents regarding the new regulations. Enforcement of the sign code will be handled by the Code Compliance Officer, who responds to complaints filed by community members.

Planning Commission

Council appointed August Hahn to serve on the Planning Commission. Ryan Davis and Dr. Joe Hauser were appointed to the Planning Commission at the May 6 meeting.

2020-2025 Transportation Improvement Program

Council discussed the 2020-2025 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), a planning tool that helps the City’s Public Works Department coordinate projects with utilities and neighboring cities. Council reviews and adopts the TIP every year before July 1.

The TIP is guided by two long-range plans, the Storm Drainage Master Plan and the Transportation Master Plan. Public input is gathered through public hearings and from Council and it guides the biennial budget process. Highline School District also helps inform transportation project priorities. The project list outlined in the TIP is long, but there are currently not enough funding sources identified to accomplish all of the projects.

The 2020-2025 TIP is similar to the previous version, with a few exceptions. Two projects were deleted because they are already underway: S 144th Way in NERA  and a new pedestrian activated signal by Moshier Art Center and Highline High School. And, the priority was increased to complete a sidewalk project on 144th St, west of Ambaum Blvd, leading to Seahurst Elementary. There are a significant number of students walking along this shoulder, and it’s believed the number will increase as a result of school boundary changes, continued growth along Ambaum, and additional service provided by the new Metro H Line.

Council also heard about the status of improvements to 1st Ave S. Improvements to the north end of 1st Ave S is in design currently, but the construction phase is not currently fully funded. The City has received a grant for a portion of the paving on the project. The City will be applying for funds from the State of Washington to pay for the remainder of the construction phase.

Council will vote to approve the TIP at the June 3 Council meeting.

Resolution Opposing Initiative 976

Council passed a resolution opposing Initiative 976, which would place limits on motor vehicle taxes and fees. The initiative would eliminate revenue the City receives from the Transportation Benefit District (TBD) tax. In 2018, the City received $785,000 from TBD fees, which was used to fund the Pavement Management Program and debt service on prior street capital projects.