Notes from Shoreline Council meeting August 3, 2020

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Pam Cross, Reporter

Shoreline City Council Meeting
August 3, 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.

Proclamation

Proclaiming August 2020 as “Get to Know Your Neighbors Month” in Shoreline.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, National Night Out in Shoreline will not be an organized event this year. However, we still want to encourage people to get to know their neighbors.

Report of the City Manager’s Office
Assistant City Manager, John Norris provided the report

COVID-19 Update

King County continues to see an average of about 100 new cases per 100,000 people each day. The target is to get new cases down to 25, so we have a long way to go.

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. The safest thing you can do is to stay home if at all possible.

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.

City Hall and recreation facilities remain closed to the public. Most City services are available online or by phone. Drop off and pick up of packages, including permits, is available. Contact shorelinewa.gov/remoteservices for additional information.

Shoreline turns 25 this year! Unfortunately this milestone birthday will have to be celebrated with social distancing in mind. We have the following events to mark this celebration:

Shoreline Has Gratitude Event Citywide throughout August

We have a lot of essential workers in our community including government workers, teachers who are working with students online, and employees of grocery stores and other necessary businesses. There are neighbors who help each other. If you know someone who lives or works in Shoreline and who has made a difference in your life, or if you are one of those people, send us an email and tell us about your work or the work of someone you know in the community. We will share all of these tributes during the month of August on our Facebook page.

Also throughout August, we are asking interested residents to write messages of gratitude in chalk on your driveway or sidewalk, to share this information on social media with #I❤️Shoreline

Yard Sign Art and Sign Parade Citywide August 9-17

Celebrate our community by decorating a Celebrate Shoreline yard sign and placing it in your window or in your yard, or along the Interurban Trail between 175th and 185th for a parade of signs!

You can pick up a free Celebrate Shoreline signs to decorate and chalk for sidewalk art Tuesday Aug 4 from 2-5pm at City Hall and Thursday Aug 6 from 1-3pm at Spartan Rec 202 NE 185th St.

More information for these events: shorelinewa.gov/summer2020

What Goes Where Workshop online via Zoom Wednesday Aug 5th, 6:30-7:30PM. Learn from Recology how to become a recycling expert with these tips and tricks to make the process easier and faster. Information: shorelinewa.gov/calendar

Public Reminders

The Planning Commission will meet remotely on Thursday, Aug 6 at 7pm to discuss Ground Floor Commercial Development Code regulations. Information: shorelinewa.gov/calendar

Council Reports

Mayor Hall met remotely with the State Auditor’s Office. They’re doing a routine risk management audit to confirm the City has financial controls in place and security controls in place to make sure we are safeguarding the public’s money. It went well and no risks were identified.

The Mayor has been appointed to a group from the Urban Land Institute, the Transit-Oriented Development Council (TODC) whose purpose is to educate and promote best practices for high quality development in and around transit. They heard about transit-oriented development in a couple of other major cities and how to make it livable, pleasing and successful.

Public Comment

Dean Williams, speaking on behalf of Irons Brothers Construction in Shoreline, spoke about Study Item 8(a) and suggested changes to the proposed Ordinance. These comments were also submitted in writing.

Speaking about Study Item 8(b)

Ann Bates from Shoreline spoke of the importance of trees. The PRCS/Tree Board does not include trees in their list of priorities. The Climate Impacts and Resiliency Study recommends revising the tree list and increasing tree plantings of species that will be more resilient to climate impact as well as reducing heat island effects and greenhouse gas emissions.

Kathleen Russell, Shoreline, Save Shoreline Trees

The Climate Impacts and Resiliency Study recommends the environmental strategy highlighted in the study be applied to several departments: planning and community development, public works, and the PRCS/Tree Board. We hope every department will study these strategies. And we would like it to be broadened to protect existing evergreen trees as well as planting more evergreen trees.

Approval of the Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

The Consent Calendar adopted unanimously by roll call vote.

STUDY ITEMS

8(a) Discussion of Ordinance No. 896 - Amending Certain Sections of Shoreline Municipal Code Title 20 to Permit Professional Offices in the R-8 and R-12 Zoning (medium density residential)

Steven Szafran, AICP, Senior Planner gave the presentation

On December 9, 2019, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 881 which adopted two Comprehensive Plan Amendments. The amendment in question, amendment #3, added “professional offices” to Land Use Element Policy LU2.

Professional offices are currently allowed in R18 - 48 (high density residential), and the TC4 (town center) zones with a Conditional Use Permit. The Comprehensive Plan Amendment #3 added professional offices to Land Use Element Policy LU2, allowing professional offices in the R-8 and R-12 Zoning (medium density residential) through the approval of a Conditional Use Permit.

Definitions of professional office and outdoor storage will be added to protect residential areas from more intense occupancies.

Professional Office definition: An office used as a place of business by licensed professionals, or persons in other generally recognized professions, which use training or knowledge of a technical, scientific or other academic discipline as opposed to manual skills, and which does not involve outside storage or fabrication, or on-site sale or transfer of commodity.

Outdoor Storage definition: The storage of any products, materials, equipment, machinery, or scrap Storage outside the confines of a fully enclosed building. Outdoor storage does not include items used for household maintenance such as hoses, ladders, wheelbarrows, and gardening equipment.

Conditional Use Permits procedures and requirements were amended to strengthen the City’s ability to regulate them: suspension or revocation of permit if terms of permit are not complied with, transferability meaning the permit runs with the applicant - not the land - unless specifically stated, expiration, and extension.

Professional offices do not have indexed criteria to address impacts to adjacent uses. Staff added indexed criteria including location and hours of operation, including services provided by appointment only, no outdoor storage (per definition), parking of a truck for pickup of materials subject to size/weight limitations, customer parking on paved surface, pervious concrete or pavers, and no parking in setback areas. Additional criteria include no onsite transfer of merchandise, compliance with dimensional table, a single sign, outdoor lighting cannot shine onto adjacent properties, and parking areas must be screened from adjacent single family residential uses by fence or landscaping.

Approximately 90 parcels throughout Shoreline have been identified as potentially eligible for professional offices.


DISCUSSION

Will the map showing the 90 parcels be part of this Ordinance?

Reply: no, this is for illustration purposes only.

Have we talked to property owners at these locations throughout the city?

Reply: citywide, there was no direct communication because it could potentially affect so many parcels.

Making people aware could be proactive. With COVID-19, people want to look at ways to work and find services closer to home. People are working from home now. Lots of people have home offices so we’re building on what’s already happening. This is pretty restrictive but is the right place to start right now. Maybe over time we will be able to relax some of the restrictions.

A home occupation business (An activity carried out for gain by a resident and conducted as a customary, incidental, and accessory use in the resident’s dwelling unit) allows no more than two trucks, but professional offices are allowed “a truck.” A home occupation sign can be illuminated, but a professional office sign cannot be illuminated. These rules should be consistent and home occupancy should be the standard.

Staff feels there is clear direction from Council and will come back with some amendments.

This will come back to Council in September for adoption.


8(b) Discussing the Results of the Climate Impacts and Resiliency Study

Autumn Salamack, Environmental Services Coordinator, did the presentation.

When we talk about climate change, we need to look at both mitigation and resiliency. We need to take action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the impact of climate change. We need to be prepared for climate related impacts that are already here and will be coming in the future.

Some areas of Shoreline are already prone to flooding. Current planning should consider increased rainfall intensity expected in the future, and identify the current and future needs of the surface water system.

Christy Shelton from Cascadia Consulting Group and Matt Fontaine from Herrera Environmental Consultants, presented the results of the Climate Impacts and Resiliency Study.

John Featherstone, Shoreline's Surface Water Utility Manager and Project Sponsor, is available to answer questions.

The project goals were to understand how climate change will impact Shoreline and develop a strategy to prepare the surface water system for this impact. As part of this, it is necessary to raise awareness among City staff and the community, and lay a foundation for a community wide climate change action plan.

The average year in the Puget Sound region is currently 1.3 degrees warmer than historic averages. By the 2050’s, the average annual temperature is projected to be 4.2 to 5.5 degrees warmer than 1970-1999.

Extreme rain events in Western Washington have increased moderately. By the 2080’s, precipitation is projected to continue this trend with rainstorms in Shoreline becoming more intense, winters expected to be wetter and summers drier than in the 1980’s.

Puget Sound rivers have peak flow arriving earlier in the spring and having less water in the late summer and fall. By the 2080’s (vs. 1970-1999 average) summer streamflows will be even lower with flooding risk increasing the rest of the year. The Tolt and Cedar River watersheds will have less snowpack to source water from to supply Shoreline’s needs.

The sea level has risen 0.8 inches per decade in Puget Sound between 1900 and 2009. Compared to 1991-2001 average, relative sea level by 2100 is expected to rise 2.0 feet or more resulting in greater risk of coastal erosion and flooding.

How vulnerable is Shoreline?

Vulnerability is a function of the exposure of a system to impacts from climate change, its sensitivity to those impacts, and its capacity to adapt to prepare for those impacts.

The City was assessed by focusing on natural systems (parks, trees, open spaces), built environment (housing, transportation, buildings and development), public health safety and emergency services (air quality, emergency services, heat-related illnesses and mental health stress) and stormwater (low-lying areas, storm drains, pipes, ditches and culverts).


Key areas of vulnerability are due to more frequent heavy rainstorms, increased flooding, more extreme heat and drier summers, and reduced air quality from heat and wildfire smoke.

Detailed results from the assessment are provided in a series of five factsheets available for reference by City staff and the community on the City’s website

As part of this Study, they created a map-based online tool for staff to use to identify a location’s vulnerability to climate change to assist in increasing resiliency for City capital projects. This tool focused on surface water, heat, and equity and justice because vulnerable populations are expected to become more vulnerable with changes in climate. For example, people with existing health conditions, who are very old or very young, or have few social connections may all experience greater physical and mental health impacts from climate change such as increasing heat.


1 as a mild heat area (yellow) to 5 as a severe heat area (red).


The final step of the study was to identify action steps the City can take to reduce climate change vulnerability. The study identified 17 strategies that included policy and regulatory changes, City programs and services, and enhancements to engineering standards and design.

The list refined to 6 strategies, and additional refinements are expected as time goes on.

The resiliency strategies were also evaluated in terms of their applicability with the other Master Planning efforts.

City staff will now take steps to implement the recommendations. They will develop an internal policy regarding use of the Climate Impacts Tool, train additional City staff to use the tool, review resiliency strategies with staff leading master planning efforts, and share study results and educational materials with the Shoreline community.

More information is available here

DISCUSSION

Shoreline is fortunate not to have large, point source pollutants. (The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines point source pollution as “any single identifiable source of pollution from which pollutants are discharged, such as a pipe, ditch, ship or factory smokestack.” Factories and sewage treatment plants are two common types of point sources.)

Unfortunately it makes it difficult to track what changes actually make a difference. Looking at Shoreline’s greenhouse gas emissions over time is the best way to track vehicle use and home heating choices. We need to focus on those hard to measure non-point areas that are probably Shoreline’s greatest contributors to greenhouse gases. We’re not going to have a lot of catastrophic events here. What we’re going to see is a long slow degradation in the quality of life if we don’t rely on small incremental changes.

Reduced use of fossil fuels is an obvious choice. But the revenue difficulties make it difficult for the City to provide incentives for residents to change from oil and natural gas. We will have to see what other cities are doing or the possibility that programs in Seattle be expanded into Shoreline. Commercial buildings have electricity readily available and new construction should not use fossil fuels.

There used to be a lot of places in Shoreline with flooding problems. We’ve worked hard over the years to get them all under control. Are you saying the mapped low lying areas are currently having problems? Or are they areas that will develop problems as climate change gets worse?

Reply: Over the years we have addressed the worst of the worst. The mapped areas are mainly where we have closed contour depressions where, if the conveyance is exceeded, there are inadequate ways for the water to get out. These are often around pump stations and around Ronald Bog, for example. As rain events become more frequent and with larger storms, we are likely to exceed the limits capacity of the conveyance system at various locations. Developers in these areas need to be aware of this.

The section on trees was wonderfully done, with specific examples, and clear doable recommendations.

We need to consider actionable items - things residents can do in their neighborhood. Would like to see the City extending the Soak It Up Program. (The Surface Water Utility offers rebates up to $2,000 for Shoreline home or business owners to install a rain garden or native vegetation landscaping on their property).

In looking at the heat islands overlay, noticed that a lot of the heat zones are around our schools. We should share this information with the School District and neighbors just to create awareness. How do we address the heat island effect? (The term heat island refers to any area that is relatively hotter than the surrounding, but generally refers to human-disturbed areas. The main cause of the urban heat island effect is from the modification of land surfaces.)

Reply: There are five different strategies: trees and vegetation, green roofs and cool roofs, cool pavements that are more reflective and don’t absorb as much heat, and providing shelter for people to get out of the direct heat.

Climate change is real and it’s coming. At one point it seemed like a long term thing that we wouldn’t have to deal with but it’s closer than we thought. We’re talking about 2050 - 30 years from now. We need to do everything we can to mitigate our community based greenhouse gas emissions.

We will be updating the climate strategy at one point, right?

Reply: In early 2021 we hope to update the greenhouse gas inventory, then launch a community effort to reduce greenhouse gases, transportation and residential energy.

In the fall, Climate Champion Webinar series will be offered for free. It will continue over 7 weeks with webinars up to two hours. This series is open to anyone interested in learning more about climate change, zero waste, renewable energy and sustainable food, with information about rebates, programs and engagement opportunities specifically for Shoreline residents.

Meeting adjourned.



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