Notes from Shoreline Council Meeting December 2, 2019

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Shoreline City Hall and Council Chamber
Photo by Steven H. Robinson
Shoreline City Council Meeting
December 2, 2019
Notes by Pam Cross

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

Mayor Hall proclaimed December 6, 2019 as Edwin T. Pratt Day in the City of Shoreline. 

Sarah Haycox started the 2018 community petition and campaign to name the Shoreline School District’s early learning center after Edwin T. Pratt. Sarah accepted today’s Proclamation on behalf of the Pratt family by reading a letter from Miriam Pratt, Edwin’s daughter, who was unable to attend.
Edwin T. Pratt was a civil rights leader whose work was pivotal in implementing the Equal Opportunity Act in the Greater Seattle area, fighting housing discrimination, segregation, employment bias, and police brutality. He moved to Shoreline with his family to highlight the segregation within housing communities. Edwin Pratt was killed at age 38 outside his home fifty years ago and the crime remains officially unsolved.

Report of the City Manager Debbie Tarry

About 275 attended the Photos with Black Santa Event at City Hall on Sunday.
Saturday, Dec 7 is another opportunity for pictures with Black Santa at the Dale Turner YMCA from 3:00 to 6:00pm

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

Saturday, Dec 7 at City Hall Council Chamber, the City is hosting a free community viewing of the documentary film MOTHERLOAD in support of our designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community. This is the story of a new mother's quest to understand the increasing tension between modern life and our hunter-gatherer DNA, and how cargo bikes could offer a solution. Learn more and reserve a free ticket at After viewing the 90 minute film there will be a short discussion with a panel of Shoreline bicyclists.

Sunday, Dec 8 Shoreline Social Justice Book Club meets from 1:00 to 2:30pm in City Hall Council Chamber. December’s book choice is When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele. Please note the meeting time change this month.

Public Reminders
The PRCS/Tree Board will meet on Thursday, Dec 5 at 7:00pm in room 303
The Planning Commission will meet on Thursday, Dec 5 at 7:00pm in the Council Chamber.

Council Reports

Public Comment
Speakers in support of Amendment #2, Update Natural Environment Goal V by limiting greenhouse gas emissions to 1.5° C of global warming above pre-industrial levels.
Lee Keim, Shoreline
Bill Dwyer, Shoreline
Jonah Volenti, Shoreline
Annette Ademasu, Shoreline-
Pam Sager, Shoreline
Lois Harrison, Shoreline
Ginger Hayra Gunn, Shoreline

Speakers opposed to Amendments #1 Change the land use designation from medium density residential to mixed-use 2 and change the Zoning from Residential, 8 units/acre (R-8) to Community Business (CB) of Two Parcels at 1510 and 1517 NE 170th Street.
And #3 Amend Comprehensive Plan Policy LU2 to allow for professional offices in the R- 8 and R-12 zones.
Liz Poitras, Shoreline
Kristi Rettmann, Shoreline
John McCoy, Shoreline
Tom Poitras, Shoreline
Yoshiko Saheki, Shoreline
Mark Rettmann, Save Shoreline Neighborhoods

Speakers in support of Amendments #1 and #3
Joseph Irons, Shoreline
Melissa Irons, Shoreline

The following speakers spoke in support of the arts, and in favor of stabilizing funding
Ted Andrews, Shoreline
Bruce Amundson, Shoreline
Roger Feldman, Seattle
Eric Swenson, Seattle
Elana Winsberg. Shoreline
Megan McDonald, Edmonds
Erik Ertsgaard, Shoreline

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

Study Item 9(a) Discussion of Ordinance No. 881 – 2019 Comprehensive Plan Annual Docket Amendments to the Shoreline Comprehensive Plan and Concurrent Rezone

Staff Report presented by Steven Szafran, AICP, Senior Planner

The State Growth Management Act limits changes to the Comprehensive Plan to once per year. A docket is created throughout the year. Those items on the list are reviewed and a final Docket is approved. This year there are three items on the Docket as shown under public comment above.

Amendment #1 (change land use and zoning)

  • Pros: retention and expansion of existing business, job creation, encourages small scale commercial activity, and provides a mix of residential and commercial activity.
  • Cons: accommodation of intense commercial uses if redeveloped (60’ height, no maximum density, noise, traffic, spill-over parking on residential streets, lights, no landscape buffer between commercial and single family homes.

Amendment #2 (reduce greenhouse gas emissions to less than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels)
This will require substantial changes in the energy we use, the transportation we choose, and the construction methods and materials allowed. This will likely necessitate policy adjustments in land use, housing, economic development, utilities and transportation elements of the Comprehensive Plan.

Reducing carbon emissions has been a City priority for several years. It has been in the Comprehensive Plan since 1998 and is currently in the City’s Work Plan,

Amendment #3 (add professional offices to the description of Land Use LU2). If approved, a Development Code Amendment will be required to implement it because professional offices are currently prohibited in R8 and R12 zones. Less than 2% of Shoreline is zoned R8 and R12.

  • Pros: encourages more economic activity throughout the City, fosters infill development, supports existing businesses, and allows lower-impact uses to occur within single family neighborhoods.
  • Cons: capacity for housing taken away, home-based business already allowed under certain conditions, may not be compatible with existing neighborhood, currently low demand for additional office space, additional traffic, parking and general intensity in the existing residential neighborhood.

This amendment is consistent with the Growth Management Act, addresses changing circumstances and changing community values, and will benefit the community as a whole.

The Planning Commission recommended approval of Amendment #2, and denial of #1 and #3.


As with previous discussions, Councilmember Chang has recused herself from Amendments #1 and #3 because of a longstanding relationship with Melissa Irons, property owner.

The Mayor suggested beginning with Amendment #2 so that Councilmember Chang can participate. Hearing no objections, the discussion begins with Amendment #2 (greenhouse gas reduction)

Questions: We know we have to make some difficult choices, but would like to know what this means to city operations. Could we be looking at the pool since it is one of the biggest greenhouse gas users in the City? We already emphasize public transportation and bicycling. Will we be promoting every form of moving around except for cars? We understand that this is a “target” but what does it mean relative to policy? How bound would we be to some of those decisions that may not be things we want to do even though we support the goal?

Staff response: this could also mean changes in building codes, energy codes, mechanical codes etc. We’ll have a better idea of how that translates into new goals and policies to be incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan once we run the analysis of updating the policy and plans that we have now.

Councilmember Chang leaves dais and Chamber.

Discussion of Amendments #1 and #3.

Question: Amendment #3 would allow people to apply for a conditional use permit for a “professional office” correct? That is the zoning change?

Staff response: yes. Either a conditional use permit or a special use permit. This just adds “professional office” to the current eligibility list (schools, churches, home based businesses, bed & breakfasts, marijuana co-ops, day cares, eating and drinking establishments).

Question: If we allow this, can the conditional use permit be revoked? How does it go away? If things change, can it be revoked?

Staff response: It runs with the property. If a new owner continues the same business, the conditional use permit continues.

Questions: What happens if the new owner keeps a professional office, but for a different type of business?
Does it operate like the casinos? Where after a year’s time of not operating as a casino, it can’t be permitted again?

Staff response: Margaret King, City attorney, responds that casinos are a different issue because they were grandfathered in. She will respond to this question in more detail before next week’s meeting.

Question: Amendment #1(change land use and zoning) Could the owners have requested a Comprehensive Plan amendment and rezone when they first purchased the property before they did anything with it?

Staff response: Yes.

Question: Amendment #3 (add professional offices). Citywide, less than 2% of properties are zoned R8 and R12. If #3 goes through, it has to come back to Council for Development Code regulations such as set-backs and parking, correct?

Staff response: Yes. Council could list index criteria i.e., various uses or activities with supplemental criteria applicable to that use or activity.

Question: If it goes forward, could we add a height limitation or building mass different from what is currently allowed in that zone?

Staff response: Margaret King responds: it gets complicated. Another option would be, if you weren’t just looking at a particular parcel, looking at an overlay. (Overlay zoning is a regulatory tool that creates a special zoning district, placed over an existing base zone(s), which identifies special provisions in addition to those in the underlying base zone.)

Question: Then could we limit height?

Staff Response: Margaret King: yes. You can also pick different areas to be included in the overlay. Or a use may be allowed in a zone, but only subject to certain criteria.

Most of the R8 and R12 zones are located along major arterials. On 15th, off of Midvale (right behind Sky Nursery), Richmond Beach Road, 145th and 175th, or right behind commercial centers.

On 10th and 175th there is a business operating in an R8 zone.

There are businesses that already exist not counting home based businesses that we have a list of but don’t know how they are expanding.

When you see where these zones are, and what is currently allowed (especially eating and drinking establishments), expanding professional offices seems to be a very appropriate step.

We need to think of people living closer to places to shop. This small incremental step also fits into our goal to reduce greenhouse gases.

Question: Do we allow residential in all of our commercial zones?

Staff response: yes

Allowing mixed use is the more modern way of thinking about cities.

The old way was exclusionary zoning: you can live only in this area, and work only in that area. That, of course, resulted in all the travel back and forth. We have planned for mixed use around the light rail stations as well as along 185th.

Additionally, Shoreline has a lack of commercial land. We need to expand the land base that is available to commercial businesses. Vision 2029 envisioned a shift from a bedroom community with a single story strip mall running down the middle to being a more integrated community.

Someday in the not too distant future, 15th is going to change to all commercial. There is very little residential there now.

Council: The Planning Commission approved Amendment #2, but opposed #1 and #3. So the Ordinance before Council today includes only Amendment #2.

Does anyone want staff to prepare an Amendment to remove Amendment #2 from the Ordinance? Response: No.

Not supporting Amendment #1: Deputy Mayor McConnell, Councilmembers Scully and Robertson. This amendment generated a lot of anger and resentment and is limited to a single property.

Council will deliberate and vote next week.
  • Current Ordinance 881 includes Amendment #2 (per Planning Commission recommendation). 
  • Staff is asked to prepare an amendment to Ordinance 881 adding Amendment #1, so Council can complete their discussion once additional information is provided in response to their questions.
  • Staff will need to prepare another amendment to Ordinance 881 adding Amendment #3.

This amendment #3 will apply citywide. Businesses will have to be good neighbors too, or combining residential and commercial concepts could become problematic resulting in so much conflict the City will have to go back to exclusionary zoning.

Exclusionary zoning comes with its own risks. One of the bills that has come up in the state legislature allows the State to come in and enforce its own zoning code on cities. This is a concern. California and Oregon have gone this way. As Shoreline thinks about zoning, we have to be an example for the rest of the state. All the State needs is another city to be a bad example to justify the state stepping in. Cities have the right to develop zoning and make their own decisions. Zoning and budget are the two biggest decisions they make.

Last session there was legislation that got into committee that would have preempted local authority and we are likely to see it again.

The more we are seen to accommodate growth, the less pressure there will be from the legislature.

Question: If #3 passes, what does that do to the two properties in question? 

Staff response: Council will instruct staff to draft a development code amendment that they can take through the public process again: to the planning commission for review and recommendation, back to Council to set the guidelines for how a professional office would be regulated in R8 and R12 zones. Only after the Development Codes have been amended can these two properties move forward. Only after that can the property owners apply for a conditional use permit.

Meeting adjourned at 8:45pm


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