Council Roundup: February 27, 2023

Arts Commission, Black Home Initiative, Boulevard Park Flooding, Eagle Landing Park Stair Removal
Posted on 03/07/2023
A flooded field of grass.

The Burien City Council appointed new Arts Commission members, voted to partner with Black Home Initiative, directed City staff to seek funding to address flooding the Boulevard Park neighborhood, and heard an update on the project to remove the stairs in Eagle Landing Park.

Community Members Appointed to Arts Commission

The City Council appointed four community members to the Arts Commission. Three of the appointees have previously served on the Commission.

  • Anna Miller
  • Marco Mazzoni*
  • Molly Lyman*
  • Putsata Reang*
  • Crystal German was appointed as an alternate

*Previously served

Black Home Initiative Seeks to Reduce Racial Disparities in Homeownership

The City Council heard a presentation from Black Home Initiative, a new regional effort to increase homeownership for 1,500 new Black households in the next five years in South Seattle, South King County, and North Pierce County. Their approach targets racial inequities at the core of the housing ecosystem through helping prepare individual homebuyers for homeownership, addressing discriminatory underwriting and lending practices, supporting construction of new housing, working with elected officials and governments on policy reform, and helping sustain existing homeowners.

In 2021, the City Council approved the Burien Housing Action Plan. Since the City Council, commissions have been seeking strategies to achieve Housing Action Plan, which includes helping undo harms of the past such as the long-term impacts of redlining and racial housing covenants.

The City Council agreed to endorse the principles of Black Home Initiative and directed staff to partner when possible to advance the initiative’s goals. In addition, they asked for periodic updates from the Planning Commission on how to operationalize building of homes in areas where there is inequity and infrastructure issues.

Solution to Reduce Boulevard Park Flooding Approved

Last year, the City conducted a study looking at causes and possible solutions for flooding in an area of the Boulevard Park neighborhood west of Des Moines Memorial Dr.

The study found that a primarily privately owned stormwater conveyance system flows through the study area. The neighborhood has experienced nuisance flooding for many years, but in recent years the amount of annual flooding on some properties and structures in the area has increased. Most of the affected properties are still on septic systems. Twelve properties were identified as being affected by having at least some flooding in their yards.

The study identified the causes of the flooding to be:

  • Private property owners modifying the historic stream channel over time.
    Private pipes are too small and too high. Channels have been filled in.
  • Groundwater. The 1958 septic system design for one home noted that groundwater was within 1 foot of the surface.

Staff reviewed options that were previously presented to the City Council. The City Council directed staff to pursue a funding source for the $1 million needed to implement “option B”, which replaces and lowers City-owned stormwater pipes connected to the privately-managed stormwater pipes. The City Council also stated that If additional funds are available through federal grants or other sources, staff should pursue the additional options presented.

Valley View Sewer District has received grants and is also making investments in the neighborhood to expand access to sewer. Last year, the City Council agreed to allocate $400,000 of federal pandemic recovery funding to help households still on septic systems in the affected area connect to sewer.

City Council Hears Update on Project to Remove Eagle Landing Park Stairs

City staff presented an overview of the conditions in Eagle Landing Park that led to the City Council’s previous decision to remove the stairway.

The removal of the stairway is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The City is currently seeking final permits and preparing to hire a contractor.


Council Reports, City Manager’s Report, and Planning Calendar

During Council Reports section of the agenda, Councilmember Cydney Moore reminded community that the Burien Severe Weather Shelter was open and needing donations and support. Deputy Mayor Kevin Schilling reported that he had participated in a “ride along” with the Burien Police Department and invited other community members to contact the police department to coordinate their own ridealong. Councilmember Hugo Garcia reported that he was joined by City Manager Adolfo Bailon to a workshop on renter protections hosted by Para los Niños.

The City Manager shared that staff will be sending a letter to Senator Patty Murray on the topic of earmarks.

He also encouraged councilmembers to participate in the Association of Washington Cities Lobby Day on March 16.

The City Council requested the following topics be added to future agendas:

  • Bring back a menu of short-term, rapid action responses to identify a place for temporary, sanctioned camps/tiny home sites for 24-hour shelter
  • Discuss resuming City programming for youth summer camps
  • Receive update on missing middle housing legislation