Council Roundup: January 25, 2021

Grocery Worker Hazard Pay, Miller Walker Creek Stewardship, Zoning Code Amendments, Comprehensive Plan Docket
Posted on 01/29/2021
Photo of Miller Creek in Burien.

Council discussed  grocery worker hazard pay, utility tax relief program, the Miller and Walker Creek Stewardship Program, zoning code amendments on legacy storefronts and home occupations, and the 2021 Comprehensive Plan docket.

Council discussed and placed several items on the consent agenda to be approved at the February 1, 2021 meeting. The Council often uses a “two-touch” process and by placing items on the consent agenda to be approved at the next regularly scheduled meeting.

Grocery worker with box of fresh produce.

Grocery Worker Hazard Pay

Council placed on the consent agenda a resolution asking the state of Washington to pass state law requiring grocery stores pay hazard pay to its workers during the emergency. The Burien City Council directed staff to create an ordinance to require grocery stores pay its workers hazard pay during the pandemic. The draft ordinance could be presented to the council as early as the February 1, 2021 meeting.

Image of phone and cable remote control.

Utility Tax Relief Program

Council were briefed on the work plan to revise the code governing the Burien Utility Tax Relief program. The plan includes a review of best practices in the Puget Sound region. The community engagement plan includes reaching out to potential community partners to help expand the reach of the program. Applications for the program will open this fall so rebate checks can be sent out in mid-December. 

Close up of Miller Creek in Burien.

Miller and Walker Creek Stewardship Program

Council placed on the consent agenda an interlocal agreement between King County, Port of Seattle, Burien, SeaTac, and Normandy Park in support of the Miller and Walker Creek Stewardship Program. The 15-year old program supports the salary for a paid steward who conducts outreach, coordinates the Community Salmon Investigation program, supports StormFest, and organizes work parties to remove invasive and plant natives, and works one-to-one with property owners who live along the creek and need assistance with restoration. The steward also advises on low impact development projects in the area.

Data collected through the CSI program contributed to a landmark study that discovered that tire dust was the principal cause of Coho salmon die off.

Stylist wearing a mask and protective face shield cutting a customer's hair.

Zoning Code Amendments Address Home Occupations and Legacy Storefronts

Council placed on the consent agenda amendments to the zoning code that govern permits for home occupation businesses and legacy storefronts.

Home occupations

Home occupation permits allow residents to operate businesses from their homes to encourage flexibility in the workplace and small business opportunities. Permits for home occupations are required so that the businesses operate in a manner that maintains the residential character of the neighborhood.

The code amendments make the permit process more efficient. Business owners will still need to purchase an annual business license, but will not need to obtain a separate land use permit.

Legacy storefronts

This code amendment will allow small historic storefronts located in residential zones to operate under limited circumstances. Storefronts that existed prior to 1950 may legally operate as a commercial use if they restore the historic features of the building and comply with the new standards.   

Map of Burien.

2021 Comprehensive Plan Docket

Council placed the 2021 Comprehensive Plan docket on the consent agenda for February 1, 2021. There are 11 items on this year’s docket.

Docket items that were not completed in 2020 will be carried forward into the 2021 docket, including: the development of guidelines and policies for the development of neighborhood plans, subarea planning work for the Ambaum Corridor and Boulevard Park, and goals and policies in support of the potential annexation of the North Highline and White Center areas.

New items approved for the 2021 docket include:

  • Generalize land use designations on the Comprehensive Plan Map. Currently, Comprehensive Plan land use designations nearly mirror zoning designations, which results in the need for a Comprehensive Plan Map amendment for nearly all proposed rezones. The generalization of the land use map would broaden the range of zones within each Comprehensive Plan land use designation, allowing for greater flexibility in rezoning.
  • Establish a minimum density policy to avoid underdevelopment of land within Burien. This will ensure that Burien can meet regional growth by supporting development that maximizes the use of buildable land in higher-density areas.
  • Create goals and policies directing city government to consider race and social equity in policies, practices, and actions. Historic urban planning practices have disproportionately impacted communities of color, and negative patterns of marginalization persist as a result. By using a racial equity lens in the development of plans and projects, the City can ensure that those communities impacted most can contribute to the City’s decision-making process.
  • Develop goals and policies following the Burien Sustainable Climate Action Plan.
  • Strengthen goals and policies related to Burien’s urban forest in conjunction with the Green Burien Partnership Urban Forest Plan