Council Roundup: September 21, 2020

Human Services Fund, Business License and Rental Housing Fees, StART, Ambaum Corridor Development
Posted on 09/23/2020

Council discussed updates to the building code, human services funding, rental housing and business license fees, participation in StART, Ambaum corridor development moratorium, and more.

Council discussed and placed several items on the consent agenda to be approved at the nn, 2020 meeting. The Council usually has a “two-touch” process and will often place items on the consent agenda to be approved at the next regularly scheduled meeting.

Burien Earns Housing Development Consortium Municipal Champion Award

Marty Kooistra, executive director of Housing Development Consortium (HDC), presented the Municipal Champion Award to the Burien City Council for their efforts to work collaboratively with community leaders to adopt an affordable housing demonstration program, smart housing policies, and inspection program to ensure healthy housing in Burien. The new demonstration program creates opportunity for the City of Burien to provide incentives and flexibility for the development of affordable housing over the next three years, with special acknowledgement to the community engagement process on rental housing issues.

Survey Open to Gather Feedback on Public Safety in Burien

Council hosted a special meeting on September 14 on the topic of public safety. If you were able to attend the meeting you, can still view the recording and provide public comment. The public comment survey closes October 5, 2020.

Do you know someone who would like a print survey? We can mail a print copy of the survey with a stamped and addressed envelope for you to mail back to the City of Burien. To request a print version of the online survey, please call Burien City Hall at (206) 241-4647 between 9 a.m and 4 p.m. and ask for a print public safety survey to be mailed to you.

Construction of building site.

Building Code Updates Adopted, Effective February 1, 2021

Council adopted building code updates into the Burien Municipal Code. Construction codes are updated every three years by the State Building Code Council and adopted by the Washington State Legislature. The Washington State Building Code Act (RCW 19.27) requires all jurisdictions in Washington state begin administering the new 2018 codes effective February 1, 2021.

Agreement Approved between City of Burien and Teamsters Local Union No. 763

Council approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Teamsters Local Union No. 763, which represents streets and stormwater maintenance workers in the City’s public works department. The MOU addresses action the City took on April 15, 2020 to reduce expenses in response to significant revenue reductions that were projected to occur because of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The MOU is an agreement on the implementation of four furlough days for represented staff, and an agreement from the City will not institute layoffs within the represented group in 2020.

Proposed Use of 2021 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds

The City of Burien will receive approximately $286,230 in fiscal year 2021 from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. These funds must be used for planning and administration (up to 20 percent), human services (up to 15 percent), and capital projects (balance goes to capital projects) that serve low-moderate income Burien residents.

Council discussed the following use of the funds in 2021:

  • Planning/Administration: $49,350 for continued use for staff salaries/benefits to administer the City's CDBG program.
  • Human Services: $49,350 for continued support of the Southwest Youth and Family Services New Futures program at the Alcove at Seahurst Apartments.
  • Capital: $187,530 for the Burien Community Center HVAC Replacement project. Design for

this project was funded by a $90,000 King County Veterans, Seniors, Human Services Levy grant awarded last year. This project is for construction-related costs of the replacement of the oldest of two HVAC systems at the Burien Community Center, which has exceeded its life expectancy.

Council will hold a public hearing on this topic during the October 5, 2020 regular meeting.

Human Services Fund priorities.

Human Services Fund priorities and results

Human Services Fund Allocation Recommendation Approved

Council reviewed the Human Services Commission’s recommendations to allocate funding to 35 organizations to provide essential human services to the Burien community. The City received 61 applications requesting $831,201. Council placed approval of the recommendations on the October 5, 2020 meeting’s consent agenda.

About the Human Services Fund

The City of Burien allocates $6.50 per capita of the General Fund to support the Human Services Fund. In 2021–22, this will equal $345,000. An additional $49,307 is available for each year from CBDG.

The Human Services Commission evaluates applications from local agencies based on criteria approved by the Burien City Council.  

Automatic Annual Increase in Rental Housing Business License Fees

Council approved an administrative procedure to automatically increase rental housing business license fees every year, based on the Consumer Price Index – All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The fees support the rental housing inspection program. Council placed the item on the consent agenda of the October 5, 2020 meeting.

Pink highlighter and check marks on form.

Business License Fees Increased

Council approved an increase to the City’s business license fees. The increase fees will provide revenue to help address budget shortfalls caused by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Business license fees have not been increased since 2005. Cities of similar size in our region charge similar amounts for their business license fees. Revenue from increased fees will help address budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and help maintain basic services. The new fees are:

  1. Home occupation based in the city will be $70 per year.
  2. Business based outside the city will be $180 per year.
  3. The business license fee for any business, which has zero to 39 employees, other than a home occupation based in the city, will be $180 per year.
  4. The business license fee for any business, which has 40 or more employees, other than a home occupation based in the city, will be $350 per year.

Burien to Rejoin Port of Seattle’s StART

Council discussed the history of Burien’s participation in SEA Airport Stakeholder Advisory Round Table (StART), a community advisory body managed by the Port of Seattle. Burien left the group in 2019 for a variety of reasons, including frustration with how communication was handled from the Port of Seattle.

During Monday night’s meeting Council took the following actions:

  • Directed the Burien Airport Committee to examine successful airport roundtables from other cities, and detail possible structural changes that could occur in StART in order to ensure worthwhile community participation.
  • Directed Burien to rejoin StART, and advocate on behalf of Burien to address noise, environmental, health, equity, and economic concerns as a result of Sea-Tac’s operations.
  • Council calls for community members knowledgeable on airport issues to volunteer as Burien representatives on StART. Recruitment of a community member to serve on the committee will begin as soon as possible.
Map of Ambaum Blvd and H Line.

Map of Ambaum Boulevard and King County Metro H Line.

Ambaum Boulevard Corridor Development Paused

Council adopted a temporary, six-month moratorium—or halt—to new development within 300 feet of planned Rapid Ride H Line “stations” (enhanced bus stops) along Ambaum Boulevard. The moratorium will allow City staff to develop amendments to the zoning regulations along the corridor, with an emphasis on regulations that support transit-oriented development and to prevent development not consistent with these goals.

A public hearing on this topic is scheduled during the October 5, 2020.

City Manager’s Report

Council expressed support for police reforms recommended by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

Council discussed whether to delay the start of the compostables ordinance, which will require businesses that sell food products to use compostable serviceware. Council will discuss this again at a future date.

Because of pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, Council stated that a minimum wage study, which was slated to begin in 2020, should be delayed to 2021.