Council Roundup: July 18, 2022

Pandemic Recovery, Downtown Parking, Accessory Dwelling Units, Electronic Parking Readers, City Manager Performance Goals and Review
Posted on 07/21/2022
Cars in parking lot.

The Burien City Council continued discussions on use of American Rescue Plan Act funding, began discussions of zoning code related to parking in downtown and at accessory dwelling units, use of electronic license plate readers to enforce parking regulations, and setting performance goals and a performance review process for the new city manager.

City Council Supportive of Proposed Investment Priorities for American Rescue Plan Funding

City staff presented investment priorities based on community, City Council, and City staff feedback on how to spend the City of Burien's allocation of American Rescue Plan federal stimulus funding.

The City Council showed support for the investment plan which focuses on economic development, meeting community needs, and improving public infrastructure. City staff will bring back a more detailed implementation plan in mid-August for the City Council to review and approve. Community members are encouraged to provide City Council with comments on this proposal via email and public comment at the upcoming August meetings.

Parking Code Amendments Receive Support

The City Council discussed three code amendments that address parking, following previous decisions updating Burien’s parking code. They placed approval of all three amendments on the consent agenda for the next regular City Council meeting.

The first code amendment they discussed extends existing off-street parking exemptions in the Downtown and Old Burien zones. The parking exemption allows re-use and limited expansions to existing building in Burien’s downtown neighborhood without the need to provide additional parking. For example, if a restaurant moves into a space that was previously home to an accountant’s office, the restaurant will not have to add more dedicated parking, even though they will likely have more parking needs. The purpose behind this exemption is to lower barriers for businesses moving into downtown, ensuring that the commercial spaces remain active and full of tenants.

The second amendment they discussed removes parking requirements from accessory dwelling units (ADUs) throughout Burien. in 2019, the City Council approved a pilot policy to remove parking requirements for ADUs that were within one quarter mile of a transit stop. This new regulation extends that policy to all Burien neighborhoods. 

Accessory dwelling units are an important strategy in Burien’s Housing Action Plan [link] as they can increase the supply of affordable housing, especially in Burien’s single-family zones. Between 2002-2020, 63 ADUs were issued permits, approximately three per year. Between 2020 and now, 26 new ADU units were approved, approximately 17 per year. Removing the parking requirement, along with other supportive policies, is helping increase the number of ADUs in Burien.

The third parking-related code amendment is related electronic license plate readers. The City Council placed on the consent agenda approval of a new ordinance allowing Burien Police Department’s parking enforcement to use electronic license place reader to enforce parking regulations. The prior method used by parking enforcement was to mark tires with chalk to calculate the length of time the vehicle had been parked. Taylor vs. Saginaw found that chalking was considered an unlawful search.

City Council Reviews Executive Leadership and Performance Consultants

The City Council decided to request proposals from Nash Consulting and Exigy to provide executive leadership services with the goal of developing performance goals and review process for the new city manager.

Letter Urges Port of Seattle to Extend Environmental Review Period of SAMP

The City Council approved the signing of a letter to be sent to Lance Little, Aviation Managing Director at SeaTac Airport, to extend environmental review period of the Sustainable Airport Master Plan (SAMP). They stated that due to the length and technical nature of the SAMP, the City will need more time to carefully review and share meaningful feedback.