Notes from Shoreline City Council Meeting November 25, 2019

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Shoreline City Hall
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

Shoreline City Council Meeting
November 25, 2019
Notes by Pam Cross

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

Report of the City Manager Debbie Tarry

Saturday, Dec 7 at 9:00 or 10:45 enjoy Breakfast with Santa at Shoreline Senior Center. The entire family can enjoy breakfast, games and activities. Photo and gift bag are included in the price. Tickets required. Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for kids. Call 206-801-2600

City Hall, Spartan Recreation Center, and Shoreline Pool with be closed on Thursday, Nov 28 and Friday Nov 29.

Happy Thanksgiving wishes to the Shoreline Community.

Council Reports

Councilmember Scully attended a Salmon Recovery meeting about coho salmon. Normally the numbers have been consistent but this year we had 10% of what we traditionally have had. We have seen this reduction over the past couple of years. The focus for this year is lake temperature and lake predation in looking for the cause. They are seeing an increase in both native and non-native predators and a slight increase in water temperature in Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish and Lake Union.

Councilmember McGlashan and other Councilmembers attended the National League of Cities Conference in San Antonio. He attended a class on regulations for AirBNBs. Lacking large hotels, Shoreline won’t see an impact on hotel taxes from AirBNBs but Shoreline should look at regulations sometime in the future.

Affordable housing was the main theme of the event. The National League of Cities has not taken a stand on climate change. The speaker was from Ohio where the average number tornados is 19 annually. This year there was one night when they had 15 tornados. The speaker stated that FEMA is not easy to work with and he recommended every community have a volunteer coordinator designated in staff available in the event of a natural disaster. Someone is needed to control all the volunteers and supplies that come in. Without someone in charge, the lack of coordination is a nightmare. This is something for the City Manager to look into.

Councilmember Roberts added that not only has the National League of Cities not taken a stand on climate change, but in the Presidential Task Force Committee report all references to climate change were removed from the original draft. The Energy Environment and Resource Committee that CM Roberts is on did pass a resolution in support of limiting global warming to 1.5°C (same as the proposed Amendment to our Comprehensive Plan) so there is some movement.

Deputy Mayor McConnell, who is on the The National League of Cities Board of Directors, missed a lot of workshops she wanted to attend because she had several board duties. She is finishing up her second term on the Board but we gained Victoria Woodards, mayor of Tacoma, and Andy Ryder, mayor of Lacey is serving another term, so Washington is well represented. DM McConnell is applying for the transportation committee.

One of the advantages of these conferences is the amount of information shared outside of the presentations. It is an opportunity to talk to other attendees about what what they are doing to address certain issues, what has worked and what hasn’t.

Mayor Hall thanked Senator Salomon and Representative Cindy Ryu who jointed Council to discuss our legislative priorities. Unfortunately Representative Lauren Davis was unable to attend.

Public Comment

Peter Bocek, architect from Seattle, spoke regarding 9(a) Townhouse Design Standards especially as respects mid-block properties

Jack Malek, Shoreline, planning commissioner, local realtor, also spoke regarding 9(a) Townhouse Standards focusing on moving this forward as quickly as possible

Erik Ekstrom Developer. Lake Forest Park, also spoke regarding 9(a) Townhouse Standards regarding mixed single family attached developments

Joseph Irons, Shoreline, spoke regarding Amendments 1 and 3 to the Comprehensive Plan asking the Council to find a way to make this work

Melissa Irons, Shoreline, spoke regarding Amendments 1 and 3 to the Comprehensive Plan, focusing on Amendment 3

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

Discussion/Action items

Action Item 8(a)Adoption of Ordinance No. 872 – Amending the 2019-2020 Biennial Budget as Amended, According to the Mid-Biennium Budget Modification

This is the Main Motion

Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director

By law, Council is required to present a balanced budget. Shoreline, like most cities, adopts by ordinance expenditure appropriations ensuring adequate resources of revenues or fund balance to support those expenditures.

On November 18, 2019, Council moved and passed two motions to amend proposed Ordinance No. 872, as follows: (i) to increase appropriation from General Fund by $7,700 to prepare a Citywide Census Mailer, and (ii) eliminate the non-site specific comprehensive plan or development fee.

This is the Main Amendment for clarity in the following discussion.

Staff has one recommended amendment to the Main Amendment which provides options to reduce proposed amendments for future I-976 response. Because the ordinance includes only expenditures, it’s not clear what happened to the revenues. The staff recommendation is to add a spreadsheet showing resources as well as expenditures as an Exhibit to Ordinance 872.

Discussion

The recommended staff amendment needs clarification.

The chart is for explanatory reasons only.There is no impact if we don’t adopt it. It’s a way to quickly locate how money is being moved between expenditures and revenues. In the past a complete new budget was prepared each year so you could compare expenditures to revenues. Biennium budgeting was adopted last year. The online budget book will not be updated. So if we add an amendment changing expenditures, there is no way to see how that affects the revenues without looking through the staff reports. With this staff amendment, the information will be available.

I-976 just passed and that takes away $1.7M in revenue. If asked how can we show where we cut that out of our budget, the spreadsheet will provide the answer. We are planning to use fund balance and some grant revenue to continue to do some of the transportation projects so the impact of I-976 will be felt in future years instead of all at once.

Decision was to keep this as an advocacy tool but not adopt it as an amendment to the budget.

There is also a proposed amendment to reduce the amendment appropriations by $940,922 in order to create a one-time funding to address some of the impact of I-976. The list of proposed options for reductions can be attached to the amendment and used as a reference. For example, you can refer to “item 2a” instead of having to list the full project name when making future changes.

Discussion

At Council’s request, staff reviewed Exhibit D that was last discussed at the November 18th meeting.

Motion and second to approve proposed amendment that amends the Main Amendment (This motion is made to open allow proposed changes to this amendment).

Motion and second to strike 1 and 2 (snow equipment). Removing them from the list puts them back in the budget as expenditures - so we will purchase snow equipment.

This could be looked at as a $300k reaction to a one time snow event when we have so many tough decisions to make. If we don’t have snow next year, we still have maintenance expenses. Total is large in light of big budget cuts we may need to make next year

It is better to be prepared than not. People were impacted, some severely, by last year’s snow event. These weather related catastrophic events are increasing and we need to be prepared. We have learned that contract work for snow removal is not available. There is a lot of year-round utility to some of the equipment and it will last for years. It is a city’s responsibility to look out for the health and safety of the community. We have been patching things together for the last 12 years. It’s time to actually get some decent equipment.

Vote for this amendment to amend the Main Amendment striking 1 and 2 from Exhibit D, leaving them in budget as expenditures

Passes 7-2 with Mayor Hall and Councilmember Chang opposing

Oppose moving the Sound Transit appropriation from parks where it was supposed to go. With the failure of Prop 1, we need some money for parks.

Motion and second to strike #3 (parks) from main amendment

Discussion
  • “New money” from Sound Transit is put in General Fund (GF).
  • Ordinance 872 shows it as an expenditure, noting it is a transfer from GF 
  • Main Amendment leaves the money in GF in order to reduce expenditures (you can’t spend money you don’t have)
  • Proposed amendment leaves it in capital improvement plan (CIP), general budget policies section for parks
While in the GF, the money can be spent on anything. In the capital improvement plan, it can be allocated to parks. This parks amount is not appropriated to a particular park. It is not remediation. How it will be used will come back when we do the next CIP update.

Vote to strike #3 (parks) from main amendment and leave it in CIP for parks passes 4 to 3.

Now that Council has finished Amending the Main Amendment, they return to a vote for the Main Amendment itself, incorporating these new changes.

This motion is to adopt the Main Amendment and increase the amount of expenditure appropriations by the amounts of 1 (snow), 2 (snow) and 3 (parks).

Vote: Passes 6-1, with Councilmember Roberts opposing

Motion and second to direct city manager to make the changes just voted for. Passed unanimously.

Vote to adopt Main Motion Ordinance 872 as amended: Passes 6-1, with Mayor Hall opposing.


Study Item 9(a) Discussing Ordinance No. 871 – Amending Certain Sections of the Shoreline Development Code to Provide for Townhouse Design Standards

Staff report by Catie Lee, AICP, Associate Planner

The City has experienced increasing demand for the townhouse housing style since the adoption of the Mixed Use Residential (MUR) 35’ and 45’ zoning in the 185th and 145th Station Areas. The City’s current design standards for townhouses are better suited for apartment buildings than townhouses. While the increase in new townhouses constructed helps to expand housing choice within the city, it is important that these developments be appropriately designed to ensure both functional and desirable places to live.

The proposed design standards include planning commission recommendations for
  • outdoor space
  • landscaping
  • building design improvements in how townhouses look from the street.
  • site configuration and building orientation
    • Units next to the street to have the entry oriented to the street
    • Percentage of units to be facing the street dependent on lot size
The Planning Commission has recommended adoption of the proposed amendments in Ordinance No. 871.

Staff believes that the regulations proposed by staff to the Planning Commission on October 3, 2019, particularly regarding site configuration, are more reflective of the design standards contemplated with the adoption of the MUR zoning.

The detailed differences between the recommendations are outlined in the staff report available online, with pictures and lot designs.

Discussion

Shoreline currently has 195 units that are being reviewed. Will those all fall within the current code with flat walls and no setback etc? Yes, they will fall under the current code. Then we need to move as fast as we can if we want our city to look they way we want it.

It would be helpful to have a chart showing the differences between the recommendations of the planning commission and staff in a simple form for discussion purposes. The detail is important, but when reviewing it’s nice to have something concise so we can quickly identify the key differences.

The configuration and building orientation define the number of units that can be built on the site and therefore the profitability of the development.

Question: How many lots do we have that are less than 70’ in width in the 145th and 185th station areas? 
Answer: There’s no simple way to determine that but it appears it’s going to be most of the lots are platted for 60’ width. 
If we can verify that without too much additional work, it makes the decision of site configuration and building orientation crucial.

On a 60’ width, there is room for only one front facing unit. The percentage of front facing units being proposed is 30% or 40%. Using 30%, you would be limited to three units.

Front facing units is important to the community. There have been some suggestions to offer 25%. Question: Any idea what kind of effect this would have? 
Answer: It would allow a single row of five or six units. This will not be attractive to a developer who planned on five units, and it’s not the appearance we are looking for.

Do we want to maximize every piece of property? Other options would be skinnier units, or assembling lots. We don’t want every lot to be a townhouse development. The zoning is mixed-use so it would be nice to have some retail or apartments mixed in.

Question: Is there any flexibility in the site configuration? 
Answer: There is an administrative design review process for everything except the landscaping. If you have a unique lot that is an odd shape or is really deep or is really narrow, you can apply for an administrative design review. This review process was developed for when you can’t meet the code regulations because of the lot configuration, but you’re still meeting the purposes of the code.

Question: What if there are developments on either side of a 60’ undeveloped lot? 
Answer: That would be a time to take it before the administrative design review. We don’t want a bunch of small lots left that cannot be developed.

The planning of these projects starts long before the application goes in. We need these changes in place ASAP because planning is based on development possibility. There are projects being pencilled out now. When changes to the regulations are finalized, applications for these pending projects may arrive before the regulations go into effect. If we don’t get these rules in place soon, we’ll be out of lots to apply these new regulations to.

Question: Other than townhouses, what can you do with property in MUR 35 and 45?
Answer: MUR 35 you can have single family detached, apartments and if you’re on an arterial you can add mixed use offices and retail. MUR 45 allows attached single family, apartments and more of the commercial use retail and offices.

From here, what would we like from staff:
  • It would be easier to have staff come back with two different amendments for Ordinance 871 - one for staff and one for the planning commission recommendations.
  • Or we could start with one amendment, and make changes to it similar to what we did for Ordinance 872. We need the least confusing approach.

Catie, who is making this staff presentation, pointed out that there are only two differences between the two proposals
  1. Site configuration. Staff’s Oct 3rd report stated 40% had to be in front of property and the Planning commission segmented it by # of units
  2. Dimensions of the required weather protection. Staff proposed a larger dimension that was scaled back by the planning commission
Another issue that might come into play is the open space requirement that greatly increases with more than 10 units. This may be an incentive to keep the lots smaller because there are fewer requirements on smaller projects. Not what Shoreline wants.

Decided to work from the planning commission proposal and then add amendments to it.

After discussion and review of the calendar, it was decided to bring this back on Jan 6th.


ITEM 9(b) Discussing the 2020 State Legislative Priorities

Presentation by Jim Hammond, Intergovernmental Program Manager

Brief overview of the 2020 state legislative agenda is very similar to last year’s. Hitting on some of the same themes but worded a little differently to highlight points of interest to Shoreline

Shoreline will be working with a new advocate Debra Munguia who has worked with several other cities across the State over the years.

Role of legislative priorities is to provide clear direction to city representatives and staff so we can be consistent with information about city priorities, and policy guidance in the dynamic legislative environment.

The 2020 legislative session is a 60-day “short” session. It is expected the recent passage of I-976 will play a major role, focusing on the significant financial impacts. And of course it is being challenged in the courts but the effects of the initiative will be addressed while we wait for the court decision.

There will be minor adjustments to the budget since we are mid-biennium. We will learn more next month when we hear from the governor about his budget and policy platform.

Shoreline-specific interests priorities (edit proposed by Councilmember Roberts)
  • Pursue state funding support for a non-motorized pedestrian/bike bridge to integrate connections to the Shoreline South/145th Street light rail station. But we will have to wait and see how I-976 plays out.
  • Maintain project visibility for the N 145th Street/I-5 Interchange as a strong candidate for any state transportation package.
  • Partner with State agencies to seek legislative action that supports City goals and the long-term vision of an approved Fircrest Master Development Plan.
  • Seek passage of legislation which would provide code cities the ability to annex unincorporated areas pursuant to a cooperative interlocal agreement.
    • This is a specific interest/priority because we told Woodway we would do this because we have the ability to and Woodway does not.
  • Restore transportation benefit district authority for Council, like vehicle license fees (addition proposed by Councilmember Roberts)
Shoreline broader policy interests
  • Pursue a comprehensive set of transportation policies that provide new financial resources and local funding options to cities and metropolitan planning organizations (edit proposed by Councilmember Roberts)
  • Preserve city fiscal health with secure funding sources including removal of the existing 1% property tax limitation or revise by indexing it to inflation, population growth, or some related indicator.
  • Continue to address homelessness and opportunities to increase affordable housing at the state and local level through incentives and support, while avoiding mandates.
  • Pursue the creation of a tax increment financing option for cities
  • Support legislation that addresses climate change impacts, specifically in the transportation sector and general budget policies
  • Continue to advance a watershed-based approach and strategic plan to address local fish-blocking culverts along with state culverts, and provide significant local funding.
Coming up:

January 28-29: AWC City Action Days

February 13: Mayor’s Exchange

Discussion

Comment: It would be nice to have something more specific.
Response: This is meant to be policy guidance to keep staff on task for what Shoreline wants. It’s not the work plan.

One other thing:

There was a comment pointing out that there is a flaw in the way state law works. If a jurisdiction adopts what turns out to be an illegal plan or regulation, and a project comes in and vests to it, and then a court throws that plan or regulation out, the vested project is allowed to continue.

Because it’s not facing Shoreline right now, we don’t need to list it as a specific priority but there are opportunities to continue to work on making sure that development is predictable and that the rules are predictable for everybody.

We are trying to keep the list focused and actionable but there are other big things that have been discussed throughout the year that we’ll be working on in Olympia, such as gun safety and tax reform issues. This list is provides guidelines to our legislative staff but it doesn’t mean we won’t be working on other things.

Brought forward on Consent Calendar.

Meeting adjourned 9:50pm



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