Notes from Shoreline council meeting October 7, 2019: Fircrest and Point Wells

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Shoreline City Hall and Council Chamber
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

Shoreline City Council Meeting 
October 7, 2019
Notes by Pam Cross

Mayor Hall called the meeting to order at 7:00pm
All councilmembers were present.

Report of the City Manager Debbie Tarry

Last Saturday, there was an enthusiastic group at Monster Mash Dash 5K. Thanks to our sponsors and everyone who attended.

Volunteers are needed for Shoreline’s first Emergency Weather Shelter. Volunteers over 18 years old are needed to be on call for a certain number of nights from Nov 1st to Mar 30th. Training provided. For information email or call 206-550-5626

Oct 12 from 10:00am - 2:00pm Celebrate Arbor Day by volunteering to help plant and maintain trees and shrubs in Darnell Park. No experience necessary. More information available online.

Public Reminders

Oct 9 There is a public hearing held by the Hearing Examiner, from 6:00pm to 8:00pm in the council chamber regarding Sound Transit’s petition to vacate portions of 7th Ave NE and 185th right of way

Oct 17 The planning commission will hold a hearing on the Comprehensive Plan Amendment (IronsBC rezone). We have instructed staff to follow up with the planning commission to confirm that the hearing will need to be continued to a date in November that will accommodate attendance by the IronsBC.

Council Reports

Deputy Mayor McConnell attended the Seashore Transportation Forum meeting. There was a report from Metro regarding the additional 65,000 annual service hours they put in last month while working on expansion routes, overcrowding and increased reliability.

There was a powerpoint presentation on the Pioneer Square Platform in preparation for the turning area for light rail.

Also there was a presentation regarding Initiative 976 which Shoreline Council already rejected. This is Tim Eyman’s initiative to bring back the $30 car tabs. It’s important for voters to recognize the impact this will have passed. We are one of the 60 cities that will see a big loss of money for road maintenance. There will be a loss of $1.9B revenue over 6 years in this area. Whatever road maintenance you thought we weren’t doing, we will be doing even less if this initiative passes.

Councilmember Scully. There is a late change in the Regional Homelessness Authority. The original plan had an organization something like a corporation: a board at the top that was comprised of elected officials, and then others who set policies. But another step has been inserted. The top level (elected officials) has little authority, the next level, comprised of a panel of experts, makes most of the operations decisions and steers the money. Councilmember Scully is not happy with this because he doesn’t feel comfortable turning decision making and money allocation over to a non governmental entity that is not accountable to voters. He will continue to follow this.

Councilmember Chang met with Katya Fels Smyth who is director of the Full Frames Initiative. It looks into how we can help a homeless person in a more complete way, rather than just offering housing or just providing drug treatment because choices offered may be untenable. This approach is something we need to implement as we move forward with Community Court.

Mayor Hall noted that they had the last meeting of the Governor’s OrcaTask Force. Draft recommendations were finalized for the second year of the work to try to protect the orcas, and it will be available for public review and comment in about a week. All recommendations were adopted unanimously which was a challenge with 40 people on the Task Force.

Council had a dinner meeting with the school board before this meeting and they talked about various issues of mutual concern, including how our community and our schools are changing.

Public Comment

Item 8a is Public Hearing and comments regarding it will be heard later.

Janet Way, Shoreline, mentioned that Seattle City Council wants to get rid of SEPA but she offers thanks to Shoreline for using this tool, the state environmental act, for issues like Point Wells (Item 8a) on agenda.

Joseph Irons, Shoreline, owner of IronsBC spoke regarding the amendment to the Comprehensive Plan. The notice of the public hearing was given to them late which put a two week delay in the process and he hoped they wouldn’t be penalized for this. However he did just learn that the hearing date will be changed (see comments by Debbie Tarry, City Manager).

Alley Johnson, Shoreline, is a student at Einstein. IronsBC came to the school and made a presentation that said you can pursue your dream and that anything is possible.

Venitia Irons, Shoreline, daughter of Joseph and Melissa. There are a number of people opposed to their amendment so they brought a lot of people with them tonight to show that there are a lot of people who support them and the amendment.

Neil Kappen, Edmonds, does business in Shoreline. He supports IronsBC and the quality of their small business. He talked about their contributions to the City of Shoreline.

Jack Malek, Shoreline, serves on the Planning Commission. Today he is here representing his own interests and his own thoughts on this issue.

He provided a North City sub area plan 2001 to Council. It appears that some commercial extends south of 172nd Street (the location of the IronsBC properties). The planned pedestrian city plan goes north from 175th. The city has grown since then, and it’s a lovely area. He is not a proponent for spot zoning but thinks it’s worth considering this segment on a broader scale, on a bigger plan. To go back and study it.

Cheryl Anderson, Shoreline. Things are happening that we have no control over such as Sound Transit and related rezones, building and remodeling schools, and tearing up Ronald Bog. She does not know the Irons personally, but sees their community contributions at various City events.

Melissa Irons, Shoreline, asks Council to review the facts of the case and the support they have garnered, that has been, in her opinion, overshadowed by emotions and objections by a few vocal neighbors. She asks Council to create a solution for their property that supports harmony for small business and residential neighborhoods.

The agenda was approved unanimously.
The Consent Calendar was adopted, without discussion, unanimously.

Action Item 8(a) Public Hearing and Adoption of Ordinance No. 868 – Establishing a Citywide Moratorium on the Filing, Acceptance, Processing, and/or Approval of Applications for Master Plan Development Permits and Applications for Essential Public Facility Special Use Permits

Staff report presented by Rachael Markle, Planning and Community Development Director

The Department of Social and Health Services is currently developing a Fircrest Master Development Plan permit application that includes expansion of existing uses and that may include new uses and the siting of a behavioral health facility which is considered an *Essential Public Facility (EPF). The Development Code identifies both the Special Use Permit and the Master Development Plan permit as processes to be used for the siting of EPFs.

*RCW 36.70A.200

(1) Essential public facilities include those facilities that are typically difficult to site, such as airports, state education facilities and state or regional transportation facilities as defined in RCW 47.06.140, regional transit authority facilities as defined in RCW 81.112.020, state and local correctional facilities, solid waste handling facilities, and inpatient facilities including substance abuse facilities, mental health facilities, group homes, and secure community transition facilities as defined in RCW 71.09.020.

(5) No local comprehensive plan or development regulation may preclude the siting of essential public facilities.

This was last discussed at the September 16, 2019 Council meeting.

Why is staff recommending a moratorium?
  1. The City’s Master Development Plan permit decision criteria may be outdated
  2. The Master Development Plan permit criteria may not be adequate for siting an “Essential Public Facility”
  3. The Master Development Plan permit process may not be the best method to conduct multi-agency planning
  4. New uses from the State Legislature not yet defined and regulated locally
  5. City’s process for siting an Essential Public Facility is unclear
  6. Clear and robust decision criteria as a guide for the Hearing Examiner
This Moratorium will provide the City Council time to review these regulations and policies.
No questions from Council.

Public Hearing is opened
Public Comment

Janet Way, Shoreline, lives just a few blocks from Fircrest. She is an advisory board member for Friends of Fircrest and is well acquainted with the history. She has been an advocate for preserving Fircrest because of the unique needs of the residents.

Janet Way attended a meeting in Olympia where they talked about the draft Master Plan for Fircrest. She said they thought it was a pretty good plan. It showed development all over the grounds and all appropriate for current Fircrest residents. Fircrest should not be broken up.

Reverend Kristin Ellison Oslin, Pastor at Fircrest Chapel. Lives nearby in Lake Forest Park and grew up in Shoreline.

Friends of Fircrest have a statement where they have advocated for the betterment and enrichment of lives challenged with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We want to support the City of Shoreline as well as Fircrest. The Fircrest Master Plan has been an ongoing project since the 90’s. The current one comes principally from the. Governor’s office. We understand that possible addition of the Behavioral Health Facility may be a cause for some review - but 6 months? Washington State is 47th in the nation for care of people with mental crises. 3 or 4 months will be better.

Michael Abate, North Seattle, just one block from Shoreline. He is the representative of the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE). We have this conversation every few years. We haven’t endorsed the State’s Master Plan for Fircrest, we do not want to limit options of the State to serve the residents. The land should be used to help people and not be limited by the City of Shoreline or private interests.

Rod Palmquist, Seattle, is the organizing director of the Organization of Washington Federation of State Employees, the largest public employee union in Washington. We do not support the limitation of options for land use at Fircrest.

The Public Hearing is closed.


There was a move and second to adopt the ordinance as stated.

The last plan we heard included a behavioral health facility without any description of what that is. We need to know what, exactly, is a “behavioral health facility” This is new to us. Who will live there? What services will be provided? And where in our City would we want it to be located. We need clear guidelines before we can consider. We should have the option of deciding where in Shoreline we want this and also we need to know how the community feels about it.

The State should have talked to us about it. The State legislature didn’t know about it either. There are multiple state agencies working on multiple things. We need to partner and work out any difference, if they exist, rather than be told “here’s what’s going to happen” without any input. Sometimes small changes can better integrate changes into the community. The State took a right turn from where our staffs were discussing the possibilities for the property. All of sudden, there is a new map. At this point we can’t trust our partners to know what the plans are going to be and how much is left for the City’s role

This is not a vote against behavioral health or anti mental health. But Shoreline should be able to use its usual process.

It is frustrating that the State agencies are not on the same page. A year ago we were approached by the State to use part of the land for affordable housing, and just a few months ago the plan showed Fircrest meeting all of its needs without including a lot of the land. Then, with a couple of days notice, we are given this new map that shows Fircrest using all of the property. Like it or not, the State gives local government use authority. That means Shoreline has the legal right, and the responsibility, to zone our city in a way that locates uses in places we have deemed appropriate for those uses.

This most recent map that occupies the whole site with new uses thwarts a budget proviso adopted by the state legislature and signed by the governor that calls for the allocation of some of that land to be available for open space and affordable housing.

Yes, we have a mental health crisis, and it’s embarrassing how Washington State is doing. But we also have an affordable housing crisis. But we need local government to have authority over it.

Two state agencies (DNR and DSHS) still meet with us separately - they won’t all sit down together. We need to know what everyone wants out of this site. We need to all sit down together. It is 85 acres and that is plenty of land to meet everyone’s needs.

Is a moratorium the right way to go? With multiple agencies, that may be the best option. This is a large part of our community and we have to be part of the decision making. While it appears they quietly have moved in a behavioral health facility, we are not getting feedback that we need.

Will another idea come back in a year or two? The staff report uses the work “may” frequently. This “may be outdated”, “may be inadequate”. A moratorium may become a way to stop a project that we don’t like. Could it be a bad precedent?

Vote in favor of citywide moratorium:
Passed by a vote of 5 to 2, with Councilmember Roberts and Mayor Hall dissenting.

Action Item 8(b)Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Settlement and Interlocal Agreement Between the City of Shoreline and Town of Woodway
Margaret King, City Attorney, presented the staff report

The Council discussed the draft Settlement and Interlocal Agreement, regarding Point Wells, at its September 23, 2019 meeting.

The proposed Settlement and Interlocal Agreement provides for clarification of SEPA responsibilities for the two cities and clarification related to Shoreline’s and Woodway’s roles in the provision of sewer services. Woodway is opposed to making changes to the agreement regarding the access road which would give any third parties an implied or perceived right to require that Woodway approve an access road. Woodway is also opposed to any change related to their traffic level of service

Staff Recommends Council authorize entering into interlocal agreement
Motion and second to authorize


We’ve done a good job. Refined and retooled and improved upon. There is overwhelming support from the community. It will never be exactly perfect and it’s time to move on to the next stage.

What about the purchasing of property by Woodway for the access road? Isn’t that the responsibility of the developer? Yes, Woodway wanted to confirm they will not be condemning or acquiring property on behalf of the developer.

If Snohomish County rules to develop this property, then neither Woodway nor Shoreline will have their interests protected so the best approach is to do everything we can do to help provide annexation into a city to protect our interests.

Vote to authorize interlocal agreement
Agreed unanimously.

Meeting adjourned at 8:06pm


Anonymous,  October 9, 2019 at 10:43 PM  

Community Court?

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