Letter to the Editor: Maintain basic services - vote Yes on Shoreline Prop 1

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

To the Editor,

Shoreline City Council has placed Proposition 1 on the November 8th ballot for our consideration. Proposition 1 is a maintenance and operations levy to maintain basic public safety, parks and recreation, and community services. It renews the "Levy Lid Lift" that we, the voters, approved in 2010 which is expiring at the end of 2016. If approved it will set the City's property tax rate well below the legal limit of $1.60 (and lower than the $1.48 rate set in 2010) to $1.39 in 2017 and allow the City's property tax levy to grow by inflation (CPI) each year through 2022. When considering whether to support the City of Shoreline Proposition 1, I asked myself three simple questions:

1. Do I value the services that the City provides? The answer is a resounding YES! Shoreline police, parks maintenance, street maintenance, traffic lights, street lights, traffic cops, recreation programs for all ages and abilities, the Shoreline pool, support for those less fortunate, events that build community and help us to be connected, and the list goes on.

2. Do I believe that the City uses our money responsibly? Again, I have no reason to answer anything but yes. They have a history of clean audits by the State Auditor, they actively seek grants to fund major improvements that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford (can you say "Aurora?") and they responded to the economic downturn by reducing staffing and have been slow to add it back.

3. Are there services that I think could be significantly reduced without impacting our community? When I imagine the impacts of reducing services, I think about the consequences. Higher crime rates? Families in need unable to get assistance? More congestion? Is it worth the risk? At an average increase of $7 per month for a median priced home (assessed value of $353,000) or $84 per year, I don't think so.

Therefore - I will be supporting Proposition 1 and encourage all to Vote Yes on Proposition 1 to maintain basic services! You can get information here or on Facebook. The City of Shoreline's website has their analysis and process here.

Kevin Osborn



Anonymous,  November 2, 2016 at 11:12 PM  

So you think all of the tens of thousands of tax dollars spent on the "you don't know Squatch about Shoreline" campaign this year was money well spent?


Dave Lange, Ridgecrest,  November 3, 2016 at 2:23 PM  

Kevin Osborn's Letter to the Editor promoting a vote for Prop 1 explains the value of normal operations for the city. My campaign supporting a vote against Prop 1 is hopefully a one time attention grab to say the city is on the wrong path. The technical discussion will get lost in the council elections next fall and this really is not a growth/no growth decision. My desired result is to reverse both rezone amendments and the comp plan focusing on station density. Strengthen the business centers we already have and get the congestion off of 145th and 185th away from the stations.

The city is using TOD (transit oriented development) and doesn't understand how it works. Multifamily by itself will not reduce trips significantly for its residents. Your desires and needs are about the same whether you are in a townhouse with 2 cars or an apartment with 1 car. The lack of serious business in the rezones means significant numbers of apartment dwellers will need personal transportation or will have to live elsewhere. By name TOD is supposed to allow planners to greatly add density without creating congestion on nearby streets which would attract non-car residents (smart density). What Shoreline has implemented in the TOD name is purely a multiplier of people and cars (dumb density).

The city has a multiuse doctrine that has been applied to BRT (bus rapid transit) which saves homes and house acquisition, but there is a cost. Leaving buses in general purpose lanes with a benefit of queue jumps keeps them a little faster than the rest of traffic. Once you add significant volume (which both rezone EIS studies show) the buses slow down for multiple traffic light cycles. The misapplication of TOD means the significant volume predicted by the rezone EIS is actually less than should be expected. If we had dedicated bus lanes (and wider streets), we wouldn't have the bus pauses waiting for multiple traffic light cycles. The hybrid lane isn't BRT but the dedicated lane is BRT. With the city working with Sound Transit for ST3 buses at 145th and Community Transit and Metro for BRT at 185th we won't offer good bus service without the dedicated lanes as long as the rezone car volumes are present. Streets in the rezone should not be sized by expected volume, but by expected role. This should mean 3 lane roads on the residential side and 4-6 lanes on the arterial side, especially when buses are present.

The list goes on, the planners are zoning property and not living in their design. The R6 neighborhoods have a mix of arterials and residential streets, including cul de sacs. The development code says density should be rear entry on arterials, which focuses traffic on the smaller side streets (if they exist). We have MUR 70 (and 140) on residential cul de sacs which don't provide adequate fire engine access (not the pumper size, but the ladder truck size) especially considering those units have to turn around. During construction these cul de sacs need to support concrete pumpers and concrete delivery trucks as well as semis for building materials and cranes to place ventilation units on the roof. Our development code assumes R6 will be eliminated in the rezones and actually there will considerable R6 left long term with not even minimal buffers for the shadowmakers next to them. Existing business centers in Shoreline tend to be on higher capacity roads. If we are contracting with transit companies for buses to serve the light rail stations, then Shoreline needs to send its own density to the stations via buses. Putting density around the stations effectively puts a barrier to buses adequately serving the stations for others. Given the written documentation at the city that has to change to reflect this change meant I had to find an unrelated city election to educate the city as a whole. I can support a reasonable lid lift in the future if we aren't using our tax monies or grants to fix dumb density, but we aren't there yet.

Anonymous,  November 5, 2016 at 3:28 AM  

I'll be more than happy to support a levy lid lift once the 12 year property tax exemptions for density developers are done away with, once Shoreline establishes policies to encourage small business development, and once the economic development policies change to not be based solely on building/development. The current model is not sustainable long term. The citizen committee recommended that any surplus from the levy lid lift be used to pay for growth and infrastructure. That's the antithesis of what the city claims their upzoning plan does... growth paying for growth, which it clearly doesn't if there's demonstrated need to skim off the top on the backs of taxpayers to make up for the shortfall with these developer giveaways. Still waiting on an actual dollar estimate of what the dreamers at city hall have pledged away in tax breaks.

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