Council Roundup: April 19, 2021

DESC Supportive Housing, Proclamations, New Advisory Board Members, Public Safety, Food Trucks, Code Updates
Posted on 04/19/2021
Burien Police Department officer walks bicycle through Burien Farmers' Market.

Council issued three proclamations, continued discussion on the DESC supportive housing project, updated municipal code governing fireworks, junk vehicles, and business licenses, selected new advisory board members, discussed concerns about public safety, addressed concerns about food truck pilot program, and more.

Thumbnail images of proclamations issued by City of Burien.

Proclamations Raise Awareness about Infertility and Celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day

The Burien City Council issued two proclamations to raise awareness and support actions to protect the environment. The Earth Day proclamation coincides with a week of planned events in the Burien community. The Arbor Day proclamation highlighted the benefits of a healthy urban forest and steps the City is taking to protect Burien’s tree canopy.

Joanna Stoddard, executive director of Environmental Science Center, accepted the Earth Day proclamation, and said, “Each year we bring thousands of people out to local rivers, forests, and school gardens in order to deepen their connection to the natural world and to learn more about their role in protecting and preserving these natural treasures which make Burien so special.”

Brenda Sullivan, long time park steward of Salmon Creek Park, accepted the Arbor Day proclamation. She thanked the Burien City Council for the invitation and said, “On behalf of the tree lovers of Burien, I would like to accept this proclamation. One of the reasons I like to live in Burien is because of all the trees we have here.” She went on to say, “We need trees for our physical and our mental health. It’s good for us and good for our children. I encourage everyone to go out and plant trees, remove that dreadful ivy that’s contributing to the death of trees, and volunteer for Burien Parks and Recreation to help restore our native tree canopy.”

The Burien City Council issued a proclamation raising awareness about infertility, and the impact it has on people from all communities and socioeconomic backgrounds. Melanie Thomas, a volunteer with RESOLVE: National Infertility Association accepted the proclamation, sharing her experience with infertility. She went on to say that “People don’t fully understand infertility. There’s a lot of guilt and shame associated with it … and we just don’t feel comfortable to talk about it. There’s a lot of stigma and I think it’s time that we start to change that, start to talk about it, and really acknowledge that it’s there and it’s pretty prevalent in the community.”

Burien Police Department officer walks bicycle through Burien Farmers' Market.

Addressing Business Community’s Concerns about Public Safety

Chief Ted Boe presented information to Council in response to public safety concerns raised by local business owners. Chief Boe shared that the Burien Police Department has the lowest staffing per capita in South King County. Because of the number of calls they receive, it is difficult to provide the level of proactive policing that many in the community would like to see. In direct response to the community requests, overtime foot and bicycle patrols will be conducted several times per week at all hours of the day and night, lasting through May.  Chief Boe also highlighted a few of the special programs that have been put in place to support crime reduction in Burien, including grant support for a storefront officer in downtown Burien and the harm reduction programs LEAD and Co-LEAD.

The Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a meeting open to the community on the topic of public safety on April 29, 7-8:30 p.m. Representatives from the Burien Police Department, Sound Health, and Burien LEAD will be speaking.

Rendering of proposed DESC building.

Council to Continue Discussion of DESC’s Proposed Supportive Housing Development in Burien

Council discussed whether to approve a supportive housing project built by DESC as part of the Affordable Housing Demonstration Program. The discussion follows a lengthy presentation and discussion at the April 5, 2021 meeting. Council voted to bring it back for further discussion during their May 17, 2021 meeting.

Congratulations to New Advisory Board and Commission Members!

The Burien City Council selected new members to serve on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Arts Commission. Congratulations to the following people who were selected to serve:

Parks and Recreation Advisory Board

  • Kellie Bassen
  • Geetha Fink
  • Diana Holman
  • Jenn Newmann

Arts Commission

  • Melinda Behrman (2-year term)
  • Jill Big Eagle
  • Gabriela Frank
  • Andrew McMasters
  • Tess Ross-Busichio
  • Gaylloyd Sisson

Council Considers Delay of Food Truck Pilot Program

Council heard results from continued communication with a group of local restaurant owners regarding details of a new pilot program to allow food trucks in Burien city limits. Staff presented revised recommendations from the Business and Economic Development Partnership, which reflected multiple discussions with Empresarios Unidos and other restaurant owners. Council voted to bring back a new resolution for consideration at the April 26, 2021 meeting that would delay the start date of the pilot program until after restaurants are allowed to be at full capacity.

Updates to Fireworks Code Clarifies Liability of Person Responsible for Violation

Council discussed new language that more clearly defines the liability of the “responsible persons” who may be subject to penalties under Burien’s fireworks code. The code updates were placed on the consent agenda for the May 3, 2021 meeting.

Fireworks are not allowed within city limits. In 2019, Council increased the penalties for violations of this law.

Updates to Business License Code Address Criteria for Revocation

Council discussed municipal code updates that would allow the City to revoke a business license based on complaints of negative impacts on the neighbors or community. Council directed staff to bring back alternative language for additional consideration.

Other license revocation criteria that currently exist in Burien Municipal Code includes: license was procured fraudulently, failure to pay fees or fines in a timely manner, failure to comply with zoning code or other development regulations, business has caused or allowed a public nuisance to exist, licensee or their employees have allowed unlawful activity to take place, or business results in a substantial danger to public health, safety, or welfare.

Updates to Junk Vehicle Code

Council discussed updates to the definition of a “junk vehicle” to allow for storage of junk vehicles on private property as long as they are screened from view and don’t violate other laws. The code updates were placed on the consent agenda for the May 3, 2021 meeting for approval.

Furlough Days Canceled, Eliminated Positions to Return

Because of significant revenue shortfalls related to COVID-19 pandemic economic slowdown, cost-reduction steps had to be taken in 2020 and 2021 to ensure a balanced budget. Staff layoffs and mandatory furlough days were among those cost-saving measures. The City’s financial current financial position is better than previously forecasted, and there is hope that more relaxed restrictions will bring more revenue. For this reason, the remaining furlough days are being eliminated and several positions will be re-filled, including two Public Works Maintenance Assistants and a Community Development permit technician. Two new positions are also being added: Records Coordinator and Accountant.  

Council Discussed Request to Segregate Special Assessment of Property Part of Local Improvement District No. 2008

Council discussed a routine request to “segregate” a special assessment against a tract of land to reflect current ownership of two new parcels. The properties are part of Local Improvement District (LID) No. 2008, which was established to pay for the cost of construction improvements to 1st Ave S from SW 146th St to SW 162nd Pl. It was placed on the consent agenda for the meeting for approval.

What is a Local Improvement District?

LIDs provide a way to help property owners finance infrastructure that benefits their properties through the formation of special assessment districts. Special assessment districts permit improvements to be financed and paid for over a period of time. Learn more about LIDs on the MRSC website.