Council Roundup: May 3, 2021

Proclamations, King County Sheriff, Urban Center Streetscape Design, Rental Housing
Posted on 05/06/2021
Bicyclist on a bike path.

Council issued four proclamations honoring Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Older Americans Month, Peace Officers Memorial Day, and Affordable Housing Week, heard an update on King County’s efforts to change sheriff position from elected to appointed, discussed a plan for urban center streetscape design, discussed progress on the Rental Housing Inspection Program, and welcomed new employees. A discussion of updates to the business license code was postponed to the next regular meeting on May 17, 2021.


Proclamations Honor AANHPI Heritage Month, Older Americans, Peace Officers Memorial Day, and Affordable Housing Week

Burien City Council issued four proclamations for the month of May.

Older Americans Month

The 2021 theme of Older Americans Month is “Communities of Strength.” The proclamation stated this theme exemplifies who we are as a city, and that this year it is especially important to remember and celebrate the value that older adults add to our community. The proclamation also acknowledged the disproportionate impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on older Americans. Alexander Lewis, a long-time Burien PaRCS fitness instructor who provides classes for older adults, and Mike Dormann and Janice Stewart, both long-time participants in these programs, accepted the proclamation.

Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

More than 26 different ethnic communities with over 67 unique languages and dialects make up the group of people that is being celebrated by this heritage month. The proclamation acknowledged the community’s significant contributions to Burien’s history, the painful legacy of anti-Asian hate and discrimination, and ways that the AANHPI community continues to contribute to Burien’s culture and quality of life in meaningful ways. Eileen Aparis, Vice President of Mission for Seattle Goodwill, accepted the proclamation. She shared her memories of growing up in Burien as well as the work she does with Goodwill Industries to help all access economic opportunity.

Peace Officers Memorial Day

The proclamation honors police officers who have died in the line of duty and recognizes the service of law enforcement officers. The proclamation also recognized Reggie Thomas, a police officer and youth mentor who worked for many years with the Burien Teen Late Night program. Deputy Thomas died of a stroke in 2020 while on duty.

Chief Theodore Boe accepted the proclamation on behalf of the officers of the Burien Police Department.

Affordable Housing Week

This proclamation raises awareness about the continued need for affordable housing, which has become more acute during the pandemic. The proclamation also highlights City-sponsored efforts to protect and increase affordable housing in Burien including the establishment of the Affordable Housing Demonstration Pilot Program and Burien Housing Action Plan, tenant protections, the rental housing inspection program, as well as participation in the South King County Housing and Homelessness Partnership and regional working groups.

Patrick Sullivan, Director of Real Estate and Development for Habitat for Humanity Seattle - King County, accepted the proclamation. He stated that the affordable housing project in Burien is set to start construction in the fall, and the forty units in this new development will contribute to the local Habitat for Humanity’s goal of 1,000 new units of affordable housing by 2025.

King County Changing Sheriff from Elected to Appointed Position

Marcus Stubblefield and Gail Stone of the King County Executive’s Office presented information on the process King County is following to fulfil voter-approved King County Charter Amendments 5 and 6. Charter Amendment 5 directs King County to change the sheriff position from appointed to elected by January 1, 2022. The amendment also directs King County to consider community input during the selection, appointment, and confirmation processes. Charter 6 authorizes the King County Council to establish the duties and structure of King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO).

A Public Safety Advisory Committee has been established to advise on the process. Burien City Manager Brian J. Wilson serves on this committee as a representative of a KCSO contract city. King County will also be announcing soon details of a broader community engagement process.

Boulevard Park Stormwater Study Underway

The City signed a contract with the engineering firm Otak on April 16, 2021 to initiate a study of stormwater issues in the Boulevard Park neighborhoods. The study will take approximately five months to complete and will help the City and residents understand the causes of flooding in the area, as well as possible solutions.

Illustration of sidewalk and bike lane.

Urban Center Streetscape Design Plan Discussed

Council was introduced to a draft plan that establishes a vision and plan for public rights-of-way in Burien’s Urban Center. They voted to place it on the consent agenda of the next council meeting.

The plan builds on public feedback that was gathered during the urban center planning process conducted in 2019.

The streetscape plan identifies possible street types and street extensions that can make streets more accessible and safe and that accommodates design for pedestrians and cyclists. The plan also identifies ways to integrate natural systems such as landscaping and stormwater features and ways to make streets easier to navigate and ways to help the streets better support local businesses. The plan also looks at alleyways and other flexible spaces.

The plan will be used to guide public right-of-way design for new developments. It also identifies potential funding sources for larger scale projects.

House and keys.

Rental Housing Inspection Program Progresses

Council heard a progress update on the Burien Rental Housing Inspection Program. Successes include the development of the operational details of the program, the production of a rental housing handbook available in both English and Spanish, and initial outreach and communication. The program has been challenged by not enough landlords licensing their properties, so more emphatic and targeted communication is planned to encourage more compliance.

Welcome New Employees 

Kendra Hixenbough, a new permit tech and administrative assistant for the Community Development department, and Michael Amaya, the new code compliance officer, were introduced and welcomed.