Notes from Shoreline Council meeting July 27, 2020

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Pam Cross, Reporter

Shoreline City Council Meeting
July 27, 2020

Notes by Pam Cross

The meeting was held online using the Zoom platform.

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

All Councilmembers were present.

Report of the City Manager’s Office
Debbie Tarry, City Manager

COVID-19 Update

King County has seen a sharp increase in the rate of COVID-19 cases in the past couple of weeks, bringing King County close to the peak number of cases experienced in March. The safest thing you can do is to stay home if at all possible.

Face coverings are required in all indoor public places, and outdoors when you may be unable to maintain six feet of distance from others. Businesses are required to enforce the use of face coverings for all customers and visitors. Governor Inslee has updated the mask requirement to include wearing masks in common spaces like elevators and public hallways, even when you are alone in those spaces.

Please continue to practice physical distancing of six feet or more, minimize contact with those outside of your home, wash and sanitize your hands frequently, and avoid large gatherings and poorly ventilated spaces.

Children from Shoreline United Methodist Church got creative and tie-died some masks. They are distributing them through the Church and the Little Free Pantry at NE 145th St and 25th Ave NE.

Seattle and King County distributed free masks for King County Residents on July 28th

175th Corridor Project Webinar Wednesday, July 29th 6:00 - 7:00pm online via Zoom. The link is available at shorelinewa.gov/175corridor. Learn about the design concepts developed for roadway, bike and pedestrian improvements on the N 175th St corridor between Stone Ave N and I-5.

Shoreline Farmers Market

The market will be open on Saturdays through October 3rd at 155th and Westminster Way. Current health and safety guidelines limit the number of shoppers at one time, mandate face coverings, prohibit pets except service animals, and encourage pre-orders. Additional information: shorelinefarmersmarket.org

Public Reminders

There is a Public Hearing scheduled before the Hearing Examiner on Wednesday, July 29, at 6:00pm. The hearing will be held remotely via Zoom. The subject is the preliminary formal subdivision application to divide three parcels of land into 19 lots at 18002, 18008, and 18016 12th Ave NE. Link to Zoom and additional details at shorelinewa.gov/calendar

Council Reports

Councilmember Roberts attended the Puget Sound Regional Council Executive Board Meeting where they approved funding 128 different transportation projects totaling $549M. In Shoreline, the 145th and I-5 intersection was funded. They are also moving forward with Vision 2050. The biggest challenge is an amendment proposed by Snohomish County regarding the amount of development planned in rural Snohomish County.

Public Comment

Laethan Wene, Shoreline, stated that the stabbing at 175h and Linden happened outside his residence. He spoke with police officers at the scene but did not witness the event.

Approval of the Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

The Consent Calendar adopted unanimously by roll call vote.

ACTION ITEM

8(a) Adopting Ordinance No. 895 – Interim Regulations for Outdoor Dining

As discussed at last week’s Council meeting, this would adopt interim regulations to remove regulatory barriers and fees for eating and drinking establishments to create outdoor seating areas thereby allowing these businesses to resume table service within COVID-induced seating and capacity restrictions.

Andrew Bauer, Sr. Planner did the presentation

Last week Governor Inslee added additional restrictions to Safe Start Washington with respect to bars and restaurants. Indoor table seating can be shared only by members of the same household, seating at bars, taverns, and breweries is not allowed, and game areas are closed (pool tables, darts etc). However, outdoor seating is allowed emphasizing the need for the interim regulations being proposed.

The drafted interim regulations based on Council’s recommendations
  • Outdoor seating on private property will not require a temporary use permit, and there will be no fees or parking requirement. Instead, the business would file an Outdoor Seating Registration with the City. The outdoor areas can open immediately after filing the registration.
  • Right-of-Way use requires a site permit but there are no fees. There will be an expedited review, and discretion to the public works director to modify the standards in the engineering design manual to further implement the intent of the interim regulations without having to go through the normal deviation process.

DISCUSSION

Since this was pretty thoroughly discussed at last week’s meeting, Councilmembers had no additional questions. Staff was thanked for their hard work in making the multiple revisions in just one week.

Ordinance 895 passed unanimously 7-0


STUDY ITEMS

9(a) Discussion of the Structure of Law Enforcement in Shoreline and King County, Including Current Policy Changes Under Consideration

Jim Hammond, Intergovernmental Relations Program Manager did the staff report, with
Shawn Ledford, Chief of Police, Shoreline
Patti Cole-Tindall, Undersheriff for King Co Sheriff’s Office
Debora Jacobs, Director of Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO)

The death of George Floyd has started a national, regional and local conversation on policing. As part of this, Shoreline is taking a look at how law enforcement is delivered. Tonight laid the foundation for this discussion by covering roles and responsibilities as well as proposals for change that are already on the table. This discussion is meant to provide a common understanding of the current structure and framework of law enforcement in Shoreline, and pave the way for future conversations about this important topic.

The City contracts with the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) for law enforcement services. Shoreline’s Precinct has dedicated Shoreline police. There are 54 full time positions, 51 of them sworn personnel. The 2020 Budget is 25% of the City’s General Fund for a total of $13.2M.

Roles and responsibilities of the police department, sheriff’s office, and County oversight are intertwined and complex. 

However, simply put: 
  • the King County Executive has responsibility for proposing a budget to City Council, and on the labor side is responsible for negotiating wages and benefits as well as civilian oversight;
  • the County Council is responsible for approving the budget and providing policy direction which is subject to labor negotiations; 
  • the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) provides civilian oversight of law enforcement operations; 
  • the King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) has a broad range of basic law enforcement responsibilities; and 
  • labor unions address working conditions and compensation.

The Office of Law Enforcement Oversight is mandated by County charter with authority established by ordinance. Its work covers quality assurance review of the Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) internal investigations, systemic reviews of CSO operations, and feedback on KCSO policy. They have a citizens advisory committee to maintain community engagement.

The King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) is the “conservator of the peace” and its policies are granted by State law. These policies are stated in the General Orders Manual (GOM). This lengthy manual sets standards for conduct, use of force, training and accountability with guidelines for discipline. They have an Internal Investigations Unit to make this happen.

State Labor Law covers working conditions such as use of force, training, overtime and discipline that are subject to bargaining and include civilian oversight. Law enforcement labor rights include interest arbitration for bargaining and individual cases of discipline. This allows an unresolved dispute to go to a neutral third party for a final decision.

Recent Developments

The Law Enforcement Safety and Community Training Act (I-940) contains statewide mandatory training relating to de-escalation and crisis intervention/mental health, the requirement for an independent investigation when there’s use of deadly force.

8 Can’t Wait is an initiative developed by Campaign Zero, a nationwide police reform campaign to reduce police use of force and brutality.

There are proposed Amendments to the King County Charter that will appear on this November’s ballot:
  • Having the King County Sheriff be an appointed position instead of elected;
  • Having the King County Council determine the Sheriff’s duties instead of state law to provide more flexibility;
  • Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) subpoena power (subject to subsequent labor negotiations);
  • Modifications to inquest process supporting families of victims (subject to subsequent labor negotiations).
Other measures in discussion include use of body and dashboard cameras, changes to State labor law, and shifting funding to prevention programs. Increased use of body and dashboard cameras is more involved than it sounds. Considerations include the equipment cost and additional staff to manage the data and to provide the ability to respond to public requests under the Freedom Of Information Act. There is the issue of public privacy vs police transparency. And it would be subject to labor negotiations.

Already happening in Shoreline
  • Nurturing Trust provides outreach workshops primarily to Spanish speakers.
  • RADAR (Response, Awareness, De-escalation and Referral) is a partnership bringing mental health professionals into the process of working with people with mental health or behavioral issues.
DISCUSSION

What kind of statistics can be made available to help us determine if there is a disparity by race in Shoreline? Arrests, traffic stops by race?

Reply: Patti Cole-Tindall (Sheriff’s Office) use of force is ranked in many ways and shown on their site Dashboard. It provides more information than most offices but is not perfect.

Reply: Debora Jacobs (County Oversight) They have provided some statistics and complaint data to Debbie Tarry. This information needs to be tracked over time to judge whether results are low or high. “They are what they are” until viewed over time. For race you need to look at data for stops, arrests, and complaints to see what the nature of the complaints are. We have a good complaint process but some people don’t bother to complain thinking that nothing will happen with it. If state law required keeping statistics it would be ideal.

We have lot of positive feedback on RADAR. Is there a need to expand this program? Who responds first? Police or professional? If they respond together, who takes the lead?

Reply: Chief Shawn Ledford. Shoreline partners with Kenmore, Bothell, LFP, and Kirkland to share 4 mental health part-time professionals. Communication systems are being improved. Would like to see RADAR expand to other cities on the Eastside that have shown some interest. Typically, a plan is made to determine who goes in first depending on the circumstances. Mental health professionals can help de-escalate, but if there’s an immediate need, police will take the lead.

What is the point of subpoena power for the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO)?

Reply: Debora Jacobs (OLEO) They are doing independent administrative investigations, not criminal. Subpoena power would allow access to records and compel witness statements. The main advantage is the threat of subpoena. There are a number of OLEO offices across the country and many have subpoena power.

We need to hear what the individual experiences of Shoreline residents are. Not everyone publicly talks about it. And experiences vary greatly. Some residents are fearful of the police. There was a written comment to Council about more frequent stops of motor vehicles driven by Blacks.

Reply: Chief Ledford. Shoreline has about 5-6% Black population and about 10% of citations go to black motorists. But you can’t compare population to citations because citations are not issued just to Shoreline residents. Drivers from other cities, states, and Canada drive through Shoreline. Right now there is no way to get the type of data Council is asking about. The implicit bias training has proven very helpful. We need more of a discussion to see if this is a common problem in nearby cities and with the State Patrol as well so we can see how we compare to them.

What about type of traffic ticket? Want to know if they are “citations of poverty” for a broken headlight or expired registration instead of actual violations such as speeding.

Reply: Chief Ledford believes he can pull out this information.

Budget for policing needs to also consider the additional costs of jail and criminal justice system operations. Police are called for noise complaints, parking violations etc. Could some of these be handled by someone else? Or should they all be answered by police?

Reply: Chief Ledford. He thinks of this as quality of life vs criminal issues. Police are dispatched to both. Not sure non-police would feel safe handling these calls. He’s in favor of someone else responding to someone sleeping in a park or panhandling for example. But who would respond? Do other entities have the resources? Would they feel safe without police? Also, the police are often asked to accompany fire or mental health professionals if they need a safety net. This would be a VERY large discussion.

Reply: Patti Cole-Tindall (Sheriff’s Office) is also interested in this. The public wants something different from what we have now. Agreed, but what is that? Need community outreach to find out what the community wants, but we must keep in mind that funding is limited or just not available for every program.

According to the 2019 Police Report there were 25,610 contacts. That converts to 70/day or 3/hour. That’s a lot. Is this trend increasing?

Reply: Chief Ledford. Dispatch calls are included in this number (when someone calls 911), as well as when an officer takes action after seeing something suspicious. While we are seeing an increase in dispatch calls for service, our response time has remained constant.

Are we too reliant on the police? It seems like the first thought is “call the cops.” We need to spread calls out to other agencies. Are calls for police support of the Fire Department or CPS tracked?

Reply: Chief Ledford. We could find out whether police turned out to be necessary when along for support. We need to identify how many of these calls we could have deferred to others.

Reply: Debora Jacobs (OLEO) it would be interesting to see how to reduce unnecessary police support calls, and to see what are the outcomes when police step in. Low level engagements should be looked at.

What about dispatch centers? Do they use other resources?

Reply: Patti Cole-Tindall (Sheriff’s Office) The police dispatcher receives calls from 911. 911 operators have a resource guide to assist them in directing the call. But often it’s not clear from the caller what they actually need. 911 does try to de-escalate or refer to supervisors when they can’t determine what the caller really needs. De-escalation and implicit bias training are provided to dispatchers.

Do you feel the departments are adequately funded? Overfunded? Underfunded?

Reply: Chief Ledford. Adequately funded.

Reply: Patti Cole-Tindall (Sheriff’s Office) There are many resource needs. The cuts come to unincorporated areas or to something the contract is not paying for. Maybe some funds could be redirected. Probably not going to get additional money at this time.

Reply: Debora Jacobs (OLEO). Oversight is underfunded. A lot of cuts were made during the last recession. Cutbacks affect training and supervision as staff is reduced. There is a state-wide 24 hour annual training requirement. Not all training should be online (de-escalation for example) so hope they don’t lose money for this in-person training.

The police contract does not seem to offer the kind of flexibility Shoreline had when we established RADAR. It is difficult to make changes especially when labor negotiations are required (choke holds, tear gas). Is the County the one who calls the shot here?

Reply: Chief Ledford. Shoreline police follow the Sheriff’s office General Orders Manual (GOM) which covers choke holds etc. But the police department is asked how some policy changes actually work in the field, how does it apply to best practices and if it has to be bargained (not everything does).

Reply: Patti Cole-Tindall (Sheriff’s Office) a bit of clarification. The City contracts with Sheriff’s Office for police services. The Sheriff’s Office sets the direction on what the officers do/don’t do with the use of chemical agents etc and decisions are very conservative. What weapons (taser, firearm) officers use is not negotiated with the officers. The Sheriff decides. That being said, if certain weapons are prohibited, the union could say it’s an officer safety issue which makes it subject to bargaining.

What control does the City of Shoreline have? As a contract city, what can the Shoreline do? Can we say “no tear gas”?

Reply: Patti Cole-Tindall (Sheriff’s Office) Shoreline has an Interlocal Agreement which spells out what the terms are. Not sure if it gets down to discussing issues like chemical use. As a customer, Shoreline decides what the City wants. If the Sheriff’s office can’t do that, then Shoreline has a choice to make. Deputies only have pepper spray, same as the public. This is a valid concern and needs to be part of the conversation.

Believe we need a civilian body completely separate from the Sheriff’s office to oversee Shoreline police.

Reply: Debora Jacobs (OLEO). While both are King County departments, OLEO is completely independent from the Sheriff’s office. They can bring the Sheriff’s office recommendations but cannot get them to do anything.

We can always do better. Use of force and implicit bias are important issues and we need to own that we as individuals need to continue to work on Race.

Council speaks for the community so we need to be informed by the community. Community needs to be invited to speak.

9(b) Discussing the Update of the Feasibility Study for Transfer of Development Rights and the Landscape Conservation and Local Infrastructure Program (LCLIP) in Shoreline

Steven Szafran, AICP , Senior Planner made the presentation
Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director
With guests
  • Nick Bratton, Senior Policy Director for Forterra
  • Morgan Shook, Project Director ECONorthwest
  • Mike Murphy TDR Program Manager for King County
What is a TDR? (Transferable Development Rights)

The right to develop land for residential or commercial purposes is one of the rights associated with land ownership. King County’s TDR Program allows landowners of rural or resource lands with farm, forest, open space, or regional trail amenities to turn the right to develop property into into a tradable commodity that can be bought and sold. These transferable development rights or “TDRs” are typically bought by developers of urban areas eligible for increased density. The purchased TDRs give developers the ability to build additional units, floor space or height that exceed the number allowed by the zoning density.

Why use it?

Cities can’t afford to get big developments and provide the infrastructure for them. Infrastructure includes parks, stormwater, transportation, streetscapes, and utilities. TDRs are encouraged by the Growth Management Act because they encourage growth where it’s desired, and preserve farms and forests that are important to the region’s health. This is a voluntary market based approach so only private money is used.

How can we make TDRs better?

We can utilize LCLIP (Landscape Conservation and Local Infrastructure Program RCW 39.108). This is a combination of TDR (Transfer of Development Rights) and a form of TIF (Tax Increment Financing). In Washington, TIFs are used to take a portion of the regular property taxes that would normally go to the County and provide it to the City for public improvement projects. It does not create a new tax.

Program requirements


AV = City’s assess value

In 2015 the City received a grant to study the feasibility of applying LCLIP in the 145th and 185th light rail station subareas, Town Center, and the Community Renewal Area (Aurora Square).

The updated LCLIP Feasibility 2020 Study Area includes those, plus along Aurora, and as per the map below. The results find that the City stands to gain $8.5M to $12.4M for infrastructure improvements from revenue generated by new development over a 25-year period if all the City’s allocated TDR credits are placed.

Findings

To make LCLIP work, Development Code revisions are needed to create viable incentive mechanism for development to use Transferable Development Rights (TDR). The current incentive structure is cost-prohibitive in MUR-70. This will provide opportunities for small height increases in mixed use and commercial zones.

Example of TDR placement in MUR-70 zone increase in height from 65’ to 140’ showing narrower building on same lot size.

Recommendations
  • Create effective TDR incentive structure and make achieving bonus height in MUR-70 an administrative decision rather than requiring a developer agreement.
  • Start LCLIP before light rail stations open
  • Develop implementation strategy
  • Incentives explored included added height in commercial and mixed-use zones, multifamily tax exemption, flexibility in parking requirements, and additional height in certain zones
  • Incentives to consider include utilizing Transferable Development Rights in lieu of affordable units, using TDR for tree removal allowing removal of significant trees and planting fewer replacement trees, and expedited permit review.

DISCUSSION

There is a lot of information here. Has any thought been given to rethinking the push towards density in the COVID era?

Reply: no.

Washington’s LCLIP (Landscape Conservation and Local Infrastructure Program) is the only program of its kind in the nation, and there are 35 cities in the Puget Sound area that are eligible, but only Seattle and Tacoma have functioning programs in place now. Right?

Reply: Seattle is the only city as of this date. There is a lot of interest and several cities, like Shoreline, are looking into it. Others are too small or are counties so they are not using the LCLIP tool but are using Transferable Development Rights (TDR).

Is TDR only here in this region, or has it worked someplace else?

Reply: there are about 220 TDR programs in use around the country. King County is the the most successful. Redmond has been using theirs to great effect. This is not unique to King County.

We want to save farmland and forests, but also want to preserve Shoreline trees and parks. In order to make this work, you need the right incentives to appeal to developers, who can be very difficult to please. Their interests seldom overlap with ours.

Let’s see if we have this right: Say you’re a farmer and you want to sell your farm. You can sell it as a farm for $100k. Or sell it to a developer for $1M. You want to keep it as farmland. So you can take advantage of TDR where you can leave it as farm, and get $750k representing the best of both worlds. LCLIP provides the incentive for Shoreline to purchase these TDR credits.

Reply: spot on.

There are some concerns: 140’ vs 70’ building makes an impact. It’s important to make this work. We need to gauge the impact on the City. Don’t want to go to that kind of height everywhere.

Reply: 140’ came up because it is already allowed by code in MUR-70.

TDR makes sense and helps protect farmlands and other critical areas. Hope it expands into Snohomish and Pierce counties too. When we worked on MUR-70, we wanted to make sure people built efficiently on their property. We wanted to put more restrictions on developers who did less than developers that did more. If you have a large frontage area, we want your building on the frontage area. We didn’t want long narrow strips built on lots. LCLIP appears to be going the other way as well as asking for increased height and losing affordable housing. We are giving up a lot for what? Need to see how this really fits into our concept for developing the MUR 70 zones. We have a good process now and LCLIP should only be a part of it, not the dominating force.

How do the incentives work? Do we offer them all for the developer to pick and choose from? Or do we pick incentives that we think will work within our density framework?

Reply: you are not tied to recommendations in the staff report. Council can decide the incentives they want to include in LCLIP.

If we do that, can a developer then choose what they want from the shorter list?

Reply: it’s up to Council how this will work. We listed the various incentives for Council’s consideration. We need to be able to sell this program to the developers, and it’s not cheap. We need LCLIP in order to get that portion of the King County money for the City to use. The most attractive incentives are height, parking reductions, and a Multifamily Property tax exception.

We already have all of these incentives for MUR-70. How would this work?

Reply: I see this coming back as a group of development code amendments available for Transferable Development Rights. These incentives would be described including the area of the City where they would apply and the number of TDR credits needed for different incentives. So these would be different incentives from what already exists.

In planning the MUR zones, we really worked hard at a “wedding cake design” so as not to overpower the neighborhoods with tall buildings. We included transition zones to protect our R-6 neighborhoods. The “small height increase” staff presented (see above picture) doubled the height. The Cons shown in the staff report create a sizable impact on our city.

We like trees and open space and feeling safe. We can address some concerns to get the benefits we want. While we are calling these “incentives” what we are really saying is you can construct a building this tall, but if you want to build it taller, then you have to do a lot more stuff that costs you a lot of money.

We should keep working on this. In 2014 we adopted TDR but haven’t done anything with it yet. We need to pursue LCLIP because it’s a big plus for the city, but need to be mindful of the tradeoffs and its effect on the community.

This program will provide the City with revenue which we need.

Scheduled for another study session with additional information from staff.

We don’t need to start the conversation over again, we just want to be confident that what we decide on has the potential to work out. What would the numbers look like if we include only the few incentives we liked? Does it still pencil out if we select just one or two incentives? We need to see some hypothetical revenue numbers.

It would be nice to visualize what these buildings will look like - maybe staff can locate some of the old graphics we used when we first talked about MUR 70.

Need to take a good look at the second map that extends into other areas of the City with this height, remembering that we don’t want MUR-70 on Aurora and need to protect our transition areas.

Council voted to extend the meeting to 10:30 to make sure there’s time for the executive session.

Council held an Executive Session on a separate Zoom meeting beginning at 9:55PM. They are not anticipating any action following this session.

Executive Session: Property Acquisition - RCW 42.30.110(1)(b)

The Council may hold Executive Sessions from which the public may be excluded for those purposes set for in RCW 42.30.110 and RCW 42.30.140. Before convening an Executive Session the presiding officer shall announce the purpose of the Session and the anticipated time when the Session will be concluded. Should the Session require more time a public announcement shall be made that the Session is being extended.

Meeting adjourned.



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