Notes from Shoreline City Council Meeting March 16, 2020

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Shoreline City Hall
Photo by Mike Remarcke
Shoreline City Council Meeting 
March 16, 2020
Notes by Pam Cross

Mayor Hall called the meeting to order at 7:00pm

All Councilmembers were present. Councilmembers McGlashan, McConnell and Roberts attended electronically. All Councilmembers will remotely attend next week’s meeting.

The Mayor offered the City’s condolences to families who have lost friends and family members to the coronavirus (COVID-19), and wished a quick recovery to those who are ill. The Mayor stated that the City is taking all available steps to keep our community safe. He also briefly reviewed the current restrictions. Up-to-date information is available at as well as on the State and County websites.

This is the first Council meeting under current assembly restrictions and he apologized in advance for any glitches in their use of this different technology.

Report of the City Manager Debbie Tarry

All recreation facilities remain closed.

Summer camp registration began last week but is limited to online and phone applications. There are a few remaining openings.

Spring/Summer recreation program registration has been postponed until further notice.

Parks and trails are open but please follow social distancing practices and give a 6’ space to others. Note that play equipment is not sanitized. Users should use caution, bring sanitizers and wash hands thoroughly after use.

Outdoor facility rentals have been cancelled.

All meetings and events, except Council meetings, have been cancelled through the end of March. Some April events, including Earth Day, have been cancelled. Open houses will be presented online.

See online calendar for up to date status of events

City Hall is closed to the public. Employees are telecommuting when they can. Services to the public are available by phone or internet, however there may be some services they are unable to provide. For example, inspections inside occupied residences or businesses have been discontinued for now.

Information for small businesses has been posted at, and

State expansion of unemployment compensation information is available at

King County, Shoreline School District and City representatives met to discuss the County’s desire to site a field hospital in north King County at the Shoreline A/B athletic field 19303 1st Ave NE near the Shoreline Pool. This field hospital will have four 100’x200’ hard-side tents with heating and cooling systems, as well as additional trailers for utilities. They will likely be occupied by transfers from overwhelmed hospitals and other healthcare facilities dealing with COVID-19 health needs. Set up may begin March 17th and they may remain on site for a few months. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Council Member Reports

Several Councilmembers attended the National League of Cities Conference in Washington DC.

One of the meetings Deputy Mayor Scully attended was with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) where he and others expressed concerns about aircraft noise. Another attendee commented that this was the most receptive the FAA had appeared to be. The FAA stated they are aware of the issue and plan to have public hearings in the future.

Councilmember Roberts participated in the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources committee. He also volunteered to serve on a subcommittee to review the portion of the National League of Cities platform on energy production. He participated in several Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) events including a forum on how cities can work with federally recognized tribes

Public Comment via telephone

Julien Loh, Local Public Affairs Manager for Puget Sound Energy (PSE)
PSE will not be disconnecting customers during this time but will work with the customer to develop a payment plan, and late fees will be waived.

Kathleen Russell, Shoreline, Save Shoreline Trees, spoke favor of saving the trees on Dayton Ave N.(155th - 160th). The most recent update on March 4th stated the parking and amenity zones have been excluded. Please consider grass or asphalt for the sidewalk.

The City Manager responds: based on the moving of the amenity zone and the exclusion of parking, as well as WSDOT’s revised way of providing the sidewalk while still meeting the City’s code requirements, we are down to 4 trees to be removed from Dayton. They are working to minimize any root impact to remaining trees and ways to provide adequate water in the future. Updated information for trees on 155th and 160th is not yet available.

The agenda was approved unanimously.

The Consent Calendar was adopted, without discussion, unanimously.

Action Item 8(a) Adoption of the 2020 Comprehensive Plan Amendment Docket

Rachael Markle, AICP, Director gave the staff report

The Council discussed the 2020 Docket, as recommended by the Planning Commission, on March 2nd. Council will consider which proposed amendments to include on the Docket.

The following proposed amendments were discussed on March 2nd:

Amendment #1 (City Initiated)

Amend the Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan to acquire park and open space between Dayton Avenue and Interstate 5 and between 145th and 165th Streets, instead of the more constrained area between Aurora and I-5, and 155th and 165th. This will provide additional opportunities to meet the level of service requirements for the Westminster Triangle neighborhood.

Amendment #2 (City Initiated)

Amend the Point Wells Subarea Plan to be consistent with Interlocal Agreement between City of Shoreline and Town of Woodway. This pertains to Shoreline’s support of Woodway’s future annexation of Point Wells.

Amendment #3 (Privately-Initiated)

Amend the Land Use Element to include a new policy requiring commercial uses within commercial and mixed-use zones.

Motion and second to adopt 2020 docket including all three amendments

Discussion of Amendment #3

Council may decide to:
  1. Remove Amendment #3 from the docket, and/or
  2. Begin working on implementing Development Code Amendments, or
  3. Take a two phase approach which would focus on Development Code amendments.

Phase 1 Development Code amendments would consider the non-residential zones in the North City and Ridgecrest Neighborhoods.

Phase 2 Development Code amendments would encompass those areas expressed by Councilmembers that are not included in Phase 1, including Shoreline Place, the 145th and 185th Station Subareas, and Richmond Beach.

This amendment may not be necessary and may delay implementing the commercial use requirement within the Comprehensive Plan. We don’t want any unnecessary delays. There is general agreement that we value a requirement for ground floor commercial where the community is strongly in support of it, such as Ridgecrest and North City. But other areas of the City that are mixed-use may have different views. Some problematic language in the proposed amendment was also discussed at the last meeting “intended to provides goods and services (for) the immediate neighborhood rather than.. the broader nearby communities”. This would exclude regional businesses.

Motion and second to remove Amendment #3 from the docket as recommended by the Planning Commission.

This will allow staff to immediately work on implementation of what is already in the Comprehensive plan rather than first exploring requirements and/or incentives of Amendment #3 before implementing any changes. This will save approximately 6-10 months.

Retail has changed, the economy has changed, and we ended up with mostly residential. Flexibility is needed to try something different when an older model stops working. But Amendment #3 will make extra work for planning staff and delays will result, when we are all in agreement that changes need to be made. It is within our authority to make these changes in the Development Plan without the extra work.


Motion to remove Amendment #3 from the docket passes unanimously

Motion and second to direct staff to review the City’s development regulations to explore the creation of ground floor commercial requirements and incentives within the non-residential zones and mixed use residential zones located in the North City and Ridgecrest areas.

Motion passes unanimously

Motion to pass the 2020 Docket as amended (Amendments 1 and 2) passes unanimously

Study Item 9(a):

Discussion of Evaluating Undergrounding Overhead Utilities for a Variety of Capital Projects and Confirmation of Potential Undergrounding on All or a Portion of the 145th Street Corridor Improvement Project Between Aurora Avenue and Interstate-5

Randy Witt, Public Works Director, provided the staff report

Evaluation Criteria
  • Project meets comp code requirements. Will the project disturb the existing facilities anyway? This is a City capital project. There are no electrical carrying facilities over 35kV, because Seattle will not underground anything that high voltage.
  • Is project eligible for use of the Seattle City Light (SCL) franchise undergrounding action? This will allow the full actual costs of the undergrounding design and construction to be borne by SCL’s Shoreline customers and recovered through an increment to SCL’s electric service rates to its customers within the City, less the estimated SCL costs if the Public Project were to be Relocated overhead. This increment will be sufficient to reimburse SCL for all costs SCL incurs to complete construction of the undergrounding. This provides strong support because without it, we would have to pay for it ourselves.
  • Is the project of sufficient size to warrant undergrounding? Staff recommends a 500’ length threshold since it is the minimum for Seattle. Additionally, we don’t want to spend more on undergrounding than the cost of the project itself. Staff recommends a threshold of $1.5M.
  • What is the estimated cost to residents? This can be measured by rate/KWH however taxpayers are more interested in what the monthly charge will be for the average customer. This can be viewed as the cost of the specific project to the customer or the cumulative surcharge for all projects. If the project surcharge is $2.50 but the current surcharge is $5.50, then ratepayers are looking at $8.00 total. Does it support redevelopment? Staff recommends a $1.00/month project threshold and a $10.00/month cumulative threshold. Does undergrounding support redevelopment? Is it adjacent to high density? Is it on an arterial? Does it facilitate structures closer to the property line? Does the developer want no setback? (Power lines have their own setback requirements). Does it support a needed upgrade of the existing electrical?
  • Other considerations: Can the project schedule accommodate undergrounding? Is the project adjacent to roadways with no overheads? Will it provide an opportunity to coordinate with other utilities?
How does the evaluation criteria apply to the 145th Street Corridor Improvement Project Between Aurora Avenue and Interstate-5

Shoreline is designing the entire corridor and construction is in three phases. Phase 1 is funded, phases 2 and 3 are not fully funded. (see staff report for maps and additional details)

Overall the project meets City requirements for undergrounding.

145th is not within Shoreline’s city limits - it is in Seattle. The electrical is on the Seattle side (south) but Telecom, cable, and electrical utility drops to houses are on the Shoreline side (north). We cannot use SCL franchise because the project is not entirely within our city limits so we would have to use City funds to perform this work and that money needs to be available upfront.

Undergrounding power lines along the south side of 145th doesn’t help Shoreline’s redevelopment because they are in Seattle.

Undergrounding telecommunications and cable utilities on the north side of 145th helps with Shoreline sidewalk and amenity zones. We may have opportunities for cost sharing with the developer or the utilities.

Staff recommends not undergrounding the electrical power along the south side of 145th but to underground the overhead telecom, cable and other utilities on the north side of the street in Phases 1 and 2.

Staff would like Council’s feedback on the evaluation criteria.


Where are these guidelines? Should they be put into the municipal code or this just an analytical tool for staff?

Reply: they should be in a manual or something for staff to use.

Seattle is not interested in undergrounding 145th on their side.

Reply: They’re ok with what we want to do on our side but don’t have any money to help out. We want to underground and eliminate the existing poles.

Does this mean we don’t help on the Seattle side?

Reply: we will be doing signal improvements and ramp cuts at the intersections. We are not replacing their sidewalks, replacing curb lines or widening on the Seattle side.

Where does the money come from for our undergrounding?

Reply: It comes from the overall project. We have some possible grants, developer and maybe utility company contributions,

Is it possible to require undergrounding of utilities in a large development if we require it as a fronting improvement?

Reply: that’s a possibility. Also, developers sometimes have their own interest in undergrounding so they don’t have to be 10’ back from power lines.

Didn’t we create a law for latecomer agreements?

(A Latecomer Agreement allows developers the potential to recover a portion of the costs of installing the new utility facilities. If a neighboring property connects to it, it will have to pay its fair share of the installation costs of the utility because this neighboring property is a benefitting parcel. In this way, the ‘first-in’ developer doesn’t subsidize these benefitting parcels which connect to the utility in the next 20 years.)

Reply: yes, that would be something we would consider.

On 145th, our City is not going to pay to underground on the Seattle side of the street when Seattle is not paying for it. But on our side of the street, there is value to undergrounding. However, it’s expensive. Maybe too expensive when we have a lot of other needs. But at the same time the whole project is a lot of money and we want to encourage development of that MUR70 and MUR45 area.

NOTE: Next week technology for the council meeting will be improved because we will all be on a single system.

Meeting Adjourned


Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.
Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP