Shoreline City Council defers discussion on Ronald School

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Updated: Mar 1, 2011
by Diane Hettrick, Editor ShorelineAreaNews

Monday night, the Shoreline City Council held a hearing on the appeal of the Shoreline Landmarks Commission's decision to give the go-ahead to the design for the new Shorewood High School as an addition to Ronald School by awarding the school district architects a Certificate of Appropriateness for their design.

The Ronald School is a two-story brick schoolhouse on N 175th, next to the current Shorewood High School. It was formerly the home of the Shoreline Historical Museum, which is in the process of moving in to its new property on N 185th and Linden.

Former City councilmember Janet Way formed a new group called the Shoreline Preservation Society and it is that group which filed the appeal.

Representatives of the Landmark Commission, Shoreline Preservation Society, and the Shoreline School District made their cases to the city council, which chose to make the meeting public.

The point where the council got stuck was the issue of whether the Landmark Commission had a quorum at their November 17 meeting, so they could legally make a decision. (See previous story)

The Council ultimately decided to wait for the City Attorney, Ian Sievers to research this issue before proceeding.

The Shoreline Landmark Commission is actually a King County group. Shoreline and other jurisdictions contract with the county for the expertise of the Commission which is a volunteer board with professional staff support. The Commission Board has nine members. Two of the positions are vacant, waiting for the King County Executive to appoint new members. Of the seven current members, the Shoreline appointee is Vicki Stiles, Director of the Shoreline Historical Museum. She recused herself from the November meeting and did not attend. However, as Director of the Museum and a party to the transactions, she submitted a letter in support of awarding the Certificate of Appropriateness. Of the five remaining members, one who was unfamiliar with the area went to the wrong location and missed the meeting. That brought it to four.

The meeting was convened with four members. One of the four works for Bassetti Architects and recused himself from the discussion and decision on the Ronald School. He rejoined the board for the rest of the agenda.

The Landmark Commission say they acted in accordance with their bylaws, and 4/7 is a legal quorum. Preserving Shoreline says that 3/7 is not a legal quorum. Ian Sievers said he thought it wasn't a quorum but that he would need to study it more.

The attorney for the School District said that whether it was a legal quorum was not included in the appeal and was not what was on the table for decision by the city council. He said there was no objection to the quorum the night of the November meeting, no objection in the formal appeal, and that it was just now being brought up.

Councilmember Terry Scott stated that it was an important issue for him and he would be unable to make a decision without knowing whether it was a legal decision or not.

Other councilmembers expressed concern about leaving grounds for additional appeals. They also worried about delaying the process and leaving all parties in limbo waiting for a council decision. Ian Sievers said he was not available for the next five days. The decision had been scheduled to be made on March 7. If it were pushed out another week, the Council is on retreat. It could be three weeks before a decision is reached.

Another discussion which took some time was the Shoreline Preservation Society assertion that the Landmark Commission had no Shoreline member.

The City Council meetings are telecast three times a day on Channel 21 and Frontier Channel 37, and are available online.


Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 7:06 AM  

Actually, it was brought forth that a lack of a quorum was raised in the appeal in that the brief filed by the Shoreline Preservation Society cited that the King County Preservation Board failed to follow both their own procedures and the Shoreline Municipal Code, which inclued the appointment of board members and a complete quorum.

Please refrain from being so one-sided in your reporting in the future.

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 8:38 AM  

Dear Anon @ 7:06 a.m.,

You do realize that this is a news blog and not the New York Times, yes?

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 10:57 AM  

Dear Anon 7:06,
What is your point about the New York Times? One would think that the Shoreline Area News wants to report the facts, correct?

But, they've obviously made mistakes here. The appellants are named "Shoreline Preservation Society", not Preserving Shoreline. And the story about the Landmarks Commissioner's recussal is getting seriously out of wack.

Anyone who attended the hearing Nov 17th will remember that the hearing adjourned immediately after the Commission voted and that Brian Rich did NOT rejoin the meeting. There were 75 witnesses in the audience. It's a big lie!

The quorum issue is a big mess.

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 12:13 PM  

Dear Anon @ 10:57,

I actually replied at 8:38.

My point is that you guys expect too much. This is a blog by people who aren't getting paid to do this for a living. It is one thing to kindly correct, but quite another to be punitive.

Are you like this with everyone or just people you don't have to face/can be anonymous with?

Am I saying this isn't a mess? No. What I'm saying is remember the golden rule, give Diane and Evan a break, try a little - you'll catch more bees, etc. I'm sure your Mom tried to teach you this stuff. I hope you haven't forgotten. I'd like to think the people in Shoreline can still be civil.

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 12:20 PM  

@ 8:38

Who the heck cares about the New York times when this is a Shoreline issue. The SAN is still considered our main local news source and must at least put effort into balanced reporting. In fact it's issues like this one being reported on that makes it important to have non biased LOCAL news.

My understanding is that the Shoreline Member has recused herself since '08. There was plenty of time to replace this person for all RSB issues. This should have been done. Now, after the fact it will need to be done if this case is remanded for a redo of the KC commissions process with that had a tally of only 1/3 involvement of all possible commissioners, and less than half of the active member minimum to make a quorum. Wasn't this the same head count shortage at the Sept COA review meeting also?

If King County isn't going to follow their own rules then it's Shoreline Council's job to make sure they try harder next time around.

Also, if it was so dang important for the District to hurry along their timeline, they shouldn't have wasted an entire MONTH delaying the COA public hearing!

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 12:24 PM  

Dear 12:20,

Please read my reply at 12:13.

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 1:01 PM  

Right on 12:20!

It's clear that the KC Landmarks Commission is completely incompetent.
They can't even run a meeting with a quorum to vote on an issue so crucial to the community they're supposedly serving. "Shoreline Landmarks Commission'? Ha! It's more like the Shoreline School Board/Bassetti Landmarks Commission. The Sue Walker Landmarks Commission!

What a joke. And what's at stake? The oldest, most significant historic building in town that is LANDMARKED! Hello?

What are you charged with KC Landmarks Commission? Just being a forum for developers?

Meanwhile, the Shoreline Historical Museum is stuck in a tiny little office with the gargantuan task of refurbishing a slum building they're stuck with. And they can't even talk about it. Thanks to the tactics of the Shoreline School District.

Talk about civility! Ask the Museum about how civil their treatment was by the District? Ask the voters who were scammed into voting for the Bond with the deceptive "Agreement in Principal".

Who is in charge here? How could this be happening?

Emde March 1, 2011 at 1:31 PM  

Why do so many commenters on SAN refuse to use a profile to post under? (You know you can make up a screen name, right?) It's frustrating to try and follow this argument because everyone is anonymous.

SAN, since so many choose to use the anonymous designation, you might want to consider nesting comments.

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 1:41 PM  

@ 12:13

I don't understand what is so uncivil about the conversation here. This is a heated debate about a hot topic, though.

Diane has been doing this a long time, I'm sure she is experienced enough to handle the rougher aspects of her hobby, volunteer work, unpaid work, whatever you want to call it. Otherwise she would not be doing this.

You are likely to find MUCH less heated discussion on another topic. You could start one on the bird article, for example. That may be more your cup of tea.

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 1:58 PM  

So where was it left then? When will they meet to discuss the determination? On March 7th?

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 2:14 PM  


Just ask you guys to point out what might be incorrect in a nice way instead of accusatory - "Please refrain from being so one-sided in your reporting in the future." - and I get told I can't stand the heat.

Too bad the people of Shoreline feel that being a jerk is just "heated debate."

That's why I like to read the comments in this blog, it is a great reminder of why I moved. I wanted nicer neighbors.

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 4:08 PM  

@ 2:14

How can you be sure where that commenter lives, anyway? It might be ANYWHERE in the area.

Besides the article did leave out good comments that the SPS's attorney stated, while including a comment by the District's attorney. That could have been less one-sided.

But, I'm glad Diane reported something and I'm glad the commenters helped balance things out. Hope you find the cool niceness that you require, too.

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 5:21 PM  

BTW, I'm not so sure that technically Vicki Stiles actually wrote a letter supporting the COA as the School District's attorney stated. I believe the Museum (Board & Director) were required to support the 3-sided Bassetti/Scool District design concept (well before the COA), which they did do, as part of their sales agreement in order to walk away with anything near what the building was worth. This was done under threat of condemnation. It's re-writing history to now act as though the Shoreline Member of the Commission fully supported this overtaking the Ronald School, when the Museum board and staff tried so hard to remain there and continue their stewardship of the building.

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 5:41 PM  

The KC Landmarks Comm. has nine seats. Three are vacant. The Shoreline Member is in addition to the other nine and only participates in local landmarking issues. Out of 3 landmarking issues in Shoreline, our member recused herself twice, both having to do with Ronald School (the original landmarking in 2008 and now for the coa). Out of the six sitting members, several are long-past their term limits. Of the current Six Commissioners, only three participated in the hearing. Two participated in the Design Review process. None were from Shoreline in either case.

Evan Smith (not anonymous),  March 1, 2011 at 5:49 PM  

The first anonymous commenter wrote about one-sided reporting. Maybe we're two sided. I have been an opponent of gutting the Ronald building for the new high school. Our editor has been a long-time school supporter.
I know only what I read, but I don't see Diane's bias here.

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 7:36 PM  

I guess if we are truly serious about preserving historical assets, we must, at the very least, get unbiased, and more of a full slate of commissioners on duty for properties that are both at risk and of high priority to the public.

I'm still surprised that Brian Rich of Bassetti was even on the roll call for a hearing that involved his employer. That just complicated things.

I am a school supporter, education supporter, due process/procedure supporter, and Ronald School Building supporter.

Anonymous,  March 1, 2011 at 10:25 PM  

Actually, SAN is not the professional news source any longer for the area - Shoreline Patch is. Why don't you try to keep up with current events better in the future @12:20 pm?

Anonymous,  March 2, 2011 at 12:10 AM  

@ 10:25

It doesn't look like 12:20 said this blog was "the professional news source" for the area. Are you saying that the Patch is the ONLY local news folks should read? Are you saying that professionally paid is ALWAYS the best? I beg to differ. I do believe that the more sources, the better.

BTW, the Patch has had their share of mistakes, too. EVERY source of info has mistakes and biases now and then. That's just reality. That's what the commenter above @4:08 also mentioned- that it was good to have Diane write something AND have commenters add to that. Again, the more sources, the better. No one can get it ALL perfect all the time. We need each other to get anywhere close to that.

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