Shoreline City Council Meeting Monday July 8, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Devon Vose Rickabaugh
Shoreline City Council Meeting Monday July 8, 2013
By Devon Vose Rickabaugh

Community Renewal Area for Aurora Square
The main focus of the City Council Meeting was a  public hearing on adopting a Community Renewal Area (CRA) Plan for Aurora Square Economic Development and then adoption of Resolution 345 to adopt the plan.

Attorney Aaron Laing, representing the Sears store in Aurora Square, supplied a letter from Sears to the Council asking “the Council to table Resolution 345 and direct staff to engage with property owners prior to presenting a community renewal plan for adoption.”  Furthermore the letter says, “It is unclear how the city arrived at the conclusion that redeveloping the Sears site in a manner that takes the Sears store out of service is desirable or viable to Sears.” Laing said Sears is concerned that the City could take over Sears if not by eminent domain, then by controlling “unilaterally” the development of the Sears property.

City Economic Development Manager Dan Eernissee said that he has tried to meet numerous times with Sears upper management and has gotten no response. He said Sears has been here for 45 years and is happy with the way things are economically and that to defeat this plan for overall renewal of the area would be their vote for the status quo.

Several councilmembers expressed dismay at the letter and said their intention was not to remove Sears but to improve the parking and building, not the business. Councilmember Winstead said she shops at Sears a lot and it is difficult to get to and it is a 1970’s experience. She is hoping to bring it up to date.

City Manager Julie Underwood said, “Sears is a great partner in the city and we want Sears to be involved.” She said eminent domain or taking over any property by the city is not authorized in the resolution.

Mayor McGlashan said the main idea is to make Aurora Square a place where more people want to shop, not to increase income from taxes. Properties come and go there. Big Lots is the latest to leave.

The resolution was passed unanimously.

Property tax exemption program for Aurora Square CRA
Two other public hearings were held. The first was to expand the property tax exemption program for the Aurora Square CRA to 12 year tax exemption to encourage residential development on the site. The plan would include a 12-year affordable multi-family program capped at 500 units, requiring that 20% of project units be affordable with studios and one bedroom units rented or sold to families with 70% of the median household income or less and two bedroom or larger units to households with income of 80% of the median household income or less. There was no public comment on the resolution and the resolution passed unanimously.

Transportation Improvement Projects
The last public hearing was to reveal the city’s Transportation Improvement Projects (TIP) for the next six years. The six-year TIP should include transportation projects, such as road and bridge work as well as new or enhanced bicycle or pedestrian facilities. In addition to local projects, the TIP should also identify projects and programs of regional significance for inclusion in the regional TIP. The City’s TIP is used to secure federal funding for transportation projects as part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan. There is no financial impact associated with adoption of the TIP. The projects identified in the City’s TIP are a combination of funded projects in the capital Improvement  Projects (CIP), including projects that are partially funded or underfunded, as well as currently unfunded projects the City would like to undertake should funding become available. Listing projects in the TIP makes them grant eligible, as most grant programs will not fund projects not included in a jurisdiction’s TIP. The vast majority of projects included in the TIP are unfunded or partially funded. All of the funded programs are identified as underfunded, as additional work could be completed through these programs with supplemental funding.

Councilmember Hall reiterated from the last council meeting he would like to see road maintenance received more money. He said “Our most valuable asset is our road network.” He would like to direct staff to shift money from other “underfunded  projects” to maintain the road system. 


3 comments:

Anonymous,  July 11, 2013 at 1:32 PM  

By the road system...does he mean all the money that goes out to keep the gardens trimmed and the leaves pick up???

Anonymous,  July 11, 2013 at 7:41 PM  

Table 345. If that is such a good idea how about letting us the residents vote on it? As for Sears how about we keep them happy and here? Perhaps our council members remember we are not Seattle but Shoreline. Making the whole area residential seems like a poor idea, are we only allowed to have Aurora business'?

Anonymous,  November 3, 2013 at 10:26 PM  

I have been trying for a long time to find some indication of time for this project. 5 years? Ten years? How long will everything be torn up and under construction, and what will this do to the home values in the immediate area? Ultimately it seems like a good thing, but adding 500 new units in addition to the Community College expansion??? Welcome to Ballard and forget parking.

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