Council Roundup: March 1, 2021

Women’s History Month, DESC Housing, Food Trucks, Ambaum Development, Downtown Parking
Posted on 03/03/2021
Food truck.

Burien City Council acknowledged Women’s History Month, heard an update on a proposed housing development in downtown Burien, discussed a food truck pilot program, discussed extending the moratorium on new development along the Ambaum Blvd Corridor, and discussed extending the parking program aimed at aiding economic development in downtown Burien.

Proclamation: Women's History Month 2021

Women’s History Month: Burien Women Making History

Burien City Council issued a proclamation naming March 2021 “Women’s History Month” in the city and asking all community members to celebrate the history and contributions of all people who identify as women to the Burien community. The proclamation highlighted that since Burien’s incorporation in 1993, 46 percent of councilmembers, 65 percent of deputy mayors, and almost half of Burien mayors have been women. It also noted that almost half of Burien’s businesses are either owned or co-owned by women, and that “women constitute a majority of Burien’s population and a significant portion of the labor force, making countless contributions to our community across every facet of life.”

The proclamation, read by Deputy Mayor Krystal Marx and Councilmember Sofia Aragon, was accepted by Kittle Milne and Sally Nelson, two former Burien mayors.


Update on Proposed DESC Housing

Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) has proposed a new affordable housing development in downtown Burien. The proposed project is part of the Affordable Housing Demonstration Program.

The building is designed to be five stories and will contain 95 studio units of housing with supportive services onsite including behavioral health care, crisis intervention, and employment services. The development also includes indoor and outdoor community spaces for single adults who are disabled and formerly homeless.

DESC hosted a community meeting on February 23, 2021. The Planning Commission will review the proposed project on March 10 and the Burien City Council will review the project on April 5 and 19.

Council Discussed a Franchise Agreement Cingular Wireless

Council discussed and placed on the March 15 consent agenda a franchise agreement with Cingular Wireless (AT&T) that would allow them to operate and maintain a wireless telecommunications network throughout Burien. The public will have an opportunity to provide public comment during the March 15, 2021 meeting.

What is a franchise agreement?

The City of Burien has franchise agreements with utility and telecommunications companies. The franchise is an agreement between a city and utility provider who needs access to the public rights-of-way to deliver its services. The agreements, along with the permitting process, manage the utilities’ use of the public rights-of-way.

Ambaum Blvd Corridor Development Moratorium

Council discussed renewing a development moratorium in the Ambaum Blvd Corridor so that subarea planning and zoning code updates can occur. The Ambaum Blvd Corridor and Boulevard Park subarea planning project is set to be completed by the end of 2021, with Council consideration of zoning changes in early 2022. Community engagement is beginning in March, with a public hearing scheduled for March 15

The moratorium on new developments affects new construction, remodels affecting more than 50% of exterior or interior, and parcels within 300 feet of certain transit stops. The moratorium is set to expire March 21, unless renewed by Council.

Food truck.

Council Discusses Food Truck Pilot Program

Council discussed the merits of a food truck pilot program in Burien. The Business and Economic Development Partnership recommended the program, stating in their report that it could create a new path for entrepreneurs to start a business, encourage growth of food-oriented businesses that may later invest in brick and mortar locations in Burien, provide additional food options for areas of Burien with limited restaurant choices, and build community and vibrancy in the city. The BEDP recommended the program be allowed in areas where zoning currently allows food and drinking establishments, with restrictions on operations in the downtown.

Council approved the program with some modifications, including expanding the pilot program area into residential areas and the downtown, and placed it on the consent agenda of the March 15 meeting. The pilot program goes into effect 45 calendar days from passage by Council and will last for 12 months. 

Parking lot.

Downtown Parking Program to Support Economic Development

Council discussed a temporary extension of a parking program in downtown Burien which reduces the amount of parking required for certain types of building projects. In 2017, after a public process, council approved a downtown parking exemption for building projects that met certain criteria. This was meant to aid in the redevelopment or re-use of existing buildings. The parking program was extended into six months after public health restrictions are lifted. This is so a parking study could occur that would reflect normal parking needs and patterns.

Future Discussion of Police Services in Burien

In order to address Council interest in public safety services in Burien, the following will be discussed at future Council meetings:

  • Interlocal agreement between the City of Burien and King County for law enforcement services, including provisions regarding notice to cancel services. There will be a presentation on the 45-day letter City of SeaTac sent to the King County Sheriff’s Office on March 15, 2020.
  • King County Executive’s Office efforts to implement the two charter amendments passed by voters this past November 2020; moving from an elected sheriff to an appointed sheriff and having the duties and responsibilities of the King County Sheriff’s Department directed by the King County Council.
  • Update on the efforts of contract City representatives and their discussions with the King County Executive regarding police services contracts.
  • Presentation of BERK studies of police services comparing costs and services between the cities of Burien and SeaTac and the King County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Discussion of current state and federal legislative efforts addressing police reform.
  • Present a plan and selection process for an Independent Investigation Team with community members per the WAC requirements post I-940.
  • Discussion of the Burien Police Department as a model of public safety services (police and human services) and the efficiency of police services costs.
  • Future potential commissioning of a study regarding King County Sheriff’s Department services versus alternative jurisdictions or partnerships.