Notes from Shoreline council meeting Sept 21, 2020

Friday, September 25, 2020

Pam Cross, reporter


Shoreline City Council Meeting
September 21, 2020
Notes by Pam Cross

The meeting was held remotely using the Zoom platform.

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

Proclamation

Mayor Hall, on behalf of the City Council, recognized that September 12-19, 2020 was Welcoming Week in the City of Shoreline. 

It is noteworthy that one in five people who live in Shoreline were not born in this country, and nearly half of the students in the Shoreline School District are youth of color. 

The spirit of Welcoming Week supports the City’s goal to be an inviting, equitable, and safe community for all.

Report of the City Manager’s Office, Debbie Tarry

COVID-19 Update

Please continue to take prevention measures seriously.

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. Masks are also required 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.

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.

Get tested at the first sign of illness.

Help name a park!

Shoreline is getting two new parks:
  • 709 N 150th St in the Westminster Triangle Neighborhood
  • 1341 N 185th St in the Meridian Park Neighborhood
Submit suggestions for names by October 15 to shorelinewa.gov/nameapark

Remote Learning Camps

Registration is still open for full-day camp opportunities for kids and teens that support Shoreline Schools District’s remote learning. Free for qualifying families. The camps started Sept 14, but there is still room available. More information is available at shorelinewa.gov/registernow

Climate Change Champions Series

This free series is taking place on Tuesdays over 7 weeks. You can attend any or all parts. The City of Shoreline is partnering with Washington State University to offer this educational and action series. Most seminars will have two speakers and last up to two hours with opportunity for online discussion.

For more information: shorelinewa.gov/climate

Free Fall Gardening Seminar: Fall Prep for a Luscious Lawn

Shoreline is partnering with local gardening experts to help you learn to revive and restore your lawn this fall. The first one is this Wednesday, September 23 at 6:30pm featuring Ladd Smith who will cover key lawn care practices to help you grow a healthy lawn naturally. You need to RSVP at shorelinewa.gov/calendar and more information is available there as well.

Public Reminders

The PRCS/Tree Board will meet Thursday September 24, 2020 at 7:00pm. The meeting will take place remotely. On the agenda is strategic priorities - cultural services and public art, and a discussion of a proposal for a park improvement bond. For information on how to participate, go to shorelinewa.gov/calendar

Council Reports

none

Public Comment

Due to the number of speakers, time was limited to 2 minutes each. Complete comments can be listened to in the video of the meeting available on the Shoreline website. Written comments are also available.

The following speakers were opposed to location of the planned Enhanced Shelter (previously referred to as the Navigation Center) at 163rd and Aurora:

Vinay Venkatesh, Shoreline
Ed Jirsa, Shoreline
Joanne Godmintz, Shoreline
Barbara Twadell, Shoreline
Margaret Willson, Shoreline
Larry Pfeil, Shoreline
Nancy Morris, Shoreline
Guruprasad TG, Shoreline
Chris Chalcraft, Shoreline
Nancy Pfeil, Shoreline

Speakers in support of the Enhanced Shelter:

Jason Metcalf-Lindenburger, LFP
Stephanie Henry, Shoreline
Pastor Kelly Dahlman-Oeth, Kirkland. Pastor of Ronald Methodist Church in Shoreline

Rebecca Jones, Shoreline, Save Shoreline Trees, spoke in support of keeping Shoreline’s landmark trees near the pending WSDOT office project

Approval of the Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

The Consent Calendar adopted unanimously by roll call vote.


ACTION ITEMS

ACTION ITEM 8(a) QUASI-JUDICIAL: Approving Preliminary Formal Unit Lot Subdivision No. PLN19-0133, Dividing Three Existing Parcels into Nineteen Unit Lots at 18002, 18008 and 18016 12th Avenue NE

Law requires any written or oral ex parte communications be disclosed before councilmembers can participate in a quasi judicial procedure. Councilmembers confirmed they had nothing to disclose. A quasi-judicial body is a non-judicial body which can interpret law.

Cate Lee, Associate Planner, gave the staff report

Blue Fern Townhomes is a Formal Subdivision because 10 or more lots are proposed for creation. A Preliminary Formal Subdivision is a Type C action for which the Hearing Examiner holds an open record public hearing and makes a recommendation to the City Council. The City Council is the final decision-maker and can accept, deny, or modify the Hearing Examiner’s recommendation. The public hearing was held on July 29, 2020 by the Hearing Examiner. Therefore, no further public comment can heard.

The lot is zoned Mixed-Use Residential 35’ (MU-35) and is located in Station Area 3 in North City.

DISCUSSION

Motion and second to approve the subdivision.

This is what Council decided two years ago, believing it will be a great addition to North City. Street and sidewalk improvements will be at a corner that will be a major connection between the new transit station and the North City business district. We want the hundreds of people walking past there to go to the restaurants, the bars and the shops.

Single family homes in Shoreline are priced too high for many first time buyers. This development will provide a more affordable alternative to a single family home.

Item passes unanimously.


ACTION ITEM 8(b) Adoption 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 Districts.

This was last discussed at the August 3, 2020 Council meeting.

Steven Szafran, AICP, Senior Planner, gave the staff 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.

The purpose of amendment #3 is to allow professional offices through the use of a conditional use permit, to clarify the definition of professional office, and to add indexed criteria to address impacts to adjacent residential use.

The Amendatory Motions proposed by Council:

Remove indexed criteria #1, in order to allow more professional offices throughout the City by removing the requirements that they be located on an arterial and next to a commercial zone.

Remove indexed Criteria #5, making the number of vehicles allowed consistent with home offices. Staff asks: if amended, should commercial vehicle parking be in addition to required parking for the professional office? If commercial vehicles utilize the required parking spaces, employees may be forced to park on the street, which is what we want to avoid.

Remove indexed Criteria #9, sign regulation should not be more restrictive than for a home office. This would allow internally lit signs.

DISCUSSION

Motion and second to approve Ordinance 896.

Motion and second to remove criteria #1 (not require arterial or adjacent commercial).

As more people work from home, having more places for professional offices makes a lot of sense. Removing Criteria #1 would allow professional offices on 145th. 145th is not a Shoreline “arterial” because it’s on the border. But it is a state highway and actually is one.

The original amendment would allow 92 properties to add a professional office. This change will allow them on 303 properties. Professional offices do bring more traffic and more lighting, creating an increase in activity. So having them near areas that are already busy seemed fine. Without this limitation, you have an office here or there throughout the City.

This would benefit the neighborhood as long as professional office owners are good neighbors. But we can’t know who that will be. Maybe we should start small and expand later, rather than starting big and having to cut back. We should revisit at a later date and consider expanding then.

303 parcels out of 20,000 is still small and this could be an opportunity to correct what turns out to have been a mistake in 20th century urban planning. Our cities were designed when people went to factories to work and then returned home. Current worksites are not like that. We are a service economy, not a manufacturing one, and many people can work from their home. A CPA, for example, can easily work out their home. If the CPA is successful, they may want to hire one or two others and suddenly they can no longer work out of their home office. Without the option of a professional office, they will be forced to find office space.

It’s better for the environment living closer to where you work and it also will result in supporting local restaurants at lunchtime.

Vote to remove Criteria #1. Passes 4-3.

Councilmembers Chang and McConnell and Deputy Mayor Scully opposing.

Motion and second to remove criteria #9 (allow internally lit signs).

Sign standards are in sections 20.50.530 through 20.50.610 of the Shoreline Municipal Code (SMC). Table 20.50.540G details information such as allowable sign area and dimensions by zone. The Code sections relating to signs can be found online at: www.codepublishing.com/wa/shoreline/

Professional offices should not be treated differently than home offices.

Internally lit signs look too commercial. Actually we should prohibit home offices from having them as well. We have to think about how we’d feel if it was across the street from our house. We haven’t had any complaints about internally lit signs from home offices, however with 303 potential locations, we may have complaints arise. Nighttime businesses need the lights. Daytime businesses don’t have the same need since they’re basically 9-5. A lot of signs will certainly degrade the appearance of the neighborhood.

Vote to remove Criteria #9 (allowing internally lit signs). Fails 5-2.

Councilmember Roberts and Deputy Mayor Scully supporting.

Questions about indexed Criteria #5 (number of vehicles)

Does “storage of vehicles” mean overnight?

Reply: any parking either day or night. It’s not a defined term. The intent is “day or night”.

Is “a vehicle” limiting to one? Shouldn’t it be the same as home office occupation? And why is it limited to fewer than a home residential site that can have six in addition to those in a garage or carport?

Reply: It’s just that the use is presumed different. Impact-wise you have to think commercial vehicles would be coming in and out more often.

Where did 14,000 lbs, height of 9’ and 22’ length come from?

Reply: it’s about the size of a class 3 box truck. It’s listed in our home office occupation code.

Is a van with a logo a commercial vehicle?

Reply: no

So just one vehicle of this size can be stored on the location?

Reply: limited to two in the home office occupation code.

Move and second to modify Criteria #5 since the home office occupation allows for storage of 2 vehicles.

We tend to think of a home business as referring to a single office. But home office occupation could include an entire floor of a home and possibly another person. They shouldn’t be penalized for changing to a professional office.

This amendment just limits it to one vehicle. Now we have a motion to change to two.

So the rest of the questions aren’t really up for discussion. We can always clean up definitions later. And the Planning Commissioner can interpret in the interim.

Vote on changing from one to two commercial vehicles.

Passes: 6-1. Deputy Mayor Scully opposing
.

Vote on Ordinance No. 896, as amended.

Passes unanimously 7-0



STUDY ITEM 9(a) Discussing Ordinance No. 901 – Amending Certain Sections of the Shoreline Development Code to Provide for Commercial Space on the Ground Floor of Multifamily Buildings

Presentation by Steve Szafran, Senior Planner andCate Lee, Associate Planner

An online survey was conducted April 17 to May 17, 2020 to better understand community preferences and priorities regarding ground-floor commercial requirements. The Planning Commission held two study sessions on this topic on June 18 and August 6, 2020, and there was a Public Hearing on September 3, 2020.

The Comprehensive Plan already includes support for ground floor commercial. 21 jurisdictions around the region have some form of code requirements for ground floor commercial and most include incentives to promote ground floor commercial pedestrian-oriented retail.

Our online survey showed the most favored uses for ground floor commercial are: restaurant, coffee shop, bakeries, brewpubs, and services such as salons. Least favored: adult facilities, marijuana operations, and tobacco/vape stores. Pawn shops and check cashing were added.

As incentives for restaurants, we have offered a height bonus and a hardscape increase.

Minimum ceiling height and minimum depth are necessary for restaurants.

The Planning Commission recommendation included Ordinance 901 as well as recommending a vacant commercial space registry, future code amendments to encourage commercial development of spaces in existing buildings, grant program for the owners of restaurants to incentivize new development, and activate rooftops for commercial use.

Potential adoption is scheduled for October 19, 2020.

DISCUSSION

Could the restaurant space be used for an arcade or dining hall layout? Could this space be broken down for multiple restaurants?

Reply: This is just the minimum size of the shell before bathrooms or anything. It can be configured any way they want and the builder can always use more space.

Vacant commercial registry is a necessary and good idea to let us know what vacant spaces exist here and think how can they be used. It allows the city to take a more proactive approach to filling spaces. People looking for space could go to the website and see what’s available. It would be interesting to have some feedback on this issue. It’s not part of these regulations but a good topic for additional discussions.

In order to fill these spaces, especially for start-ups, the rent has to be low. It will take a while for businesses to build up in this area. A building owner who can rent out housing at market rate is not going to let retail space remain vacant. That means that the cost of the residential space is going to be slightly higher but right now the market will bear that.

We are granting “incentives” because they are in a particular zone. Everyone gets the 8’ height bonus just by being in the zone. If everyone gets it, it’s not an incentive. But if they put in a restaurant ready first floor that includes ADA compliant bathrooms (common facilities are acceptable); A central plumbing drain line; A grease interceptor; and A ventilation shaft for a commercial kitchen hood/exhaust, then they get an 18’ bonus. Correct?

Reply: Typical ground floor commercial requires 10’ height. Restaurants require 18’. Multifamily new construction in the particular zone gets the 8’ height bonus so they are not penalized for building something we now require.

And all buildings currently require a first floor with a commercial height requirement of 12’.

Reply: Right

So it sounds like we’re creating a new zone and calling these things incentives when they are actually required.

When we say certain commercial businesses are not allowed because they’re not “family friendly,” some of these business are already in commercial buildings. We have to be careful saying no to some of these businesses, eg., pawnshop. Would it be allowed in a commercial building right next door?

Reply: Yes

What if new construction has two bottom floors of commercial, with residential above. Could a pawn shop go on the second floor?

Reply: Yes

We don’t want empty first floors.We don’t want adult venue stores, but they but could be in a commercial building right next door. Shoreline Place is concerned about filling their retail space — especially since COVID-19 has caused some of this to fall through. Maybe we don’t want to limit who they can rent to. They may be unable to rent the space. Some of the existing space is vacant now.

The best way to address restricted occupancies is by zoning. There are already zoning limitations for some types of business, such as marijuana retail stores. So this needs to be addressed, but we were trying to get around the delay of the Comprehensive Plan so too much time didn’t go by before we added commercial first floor requirements. As more applications are received and permits are granted, the less time we have to get these new changes incorporated. Maybe should think of this as pilot project.

Reducing required parking as incentive. Did staff consider this?

Reply: since the commercial occupants are unknown, staff set a standard parking ratio for commercial spaces. It’s one parking space for every 400 sf which is much lower than required if they eventually put in a restaurant, which is one space for every 75 sf. So using this standard ratio is actually providing an incentive for a restaurant.

This is scheduled to be brought back for adoption on October 19th. Councilmembers are asked to present any additional amendments or any other questions to staff within the next week


STUDY ITEM 9(b) Discussing the 2020 Resident Satisfaction Survey Results

The results will be publicized on the City’s website and through its monthly newsletter, Currents.

Presentation by Eric Bratton, Communications Program Manager, and Chris Tatham, CEO of ETC Institute.

There were 50 slides with the presentation. It can be found as an attachment to the staff report for this discussion item on shorelinewa.gov

This is the 10th survey of Shoreline. The goal was to receive 800 surveys but we actually received 946. The main point is Shoreline results have stayed steady, unlike the rest of the country. In spite of the challenges caused by the pandemic, residents continue to have very positive perceptions of the City and city leaders. Satisfaction with City services is higher in Shoreline than most other U.S. cities, rating above the average in 26 of the 37 areas that were assessed. Satisfaction with the overall quality of City services rated 16% above the U.S. average.

Details of these major findings can be viewed in the actual report:

#1 Residents have a positive perception of the City

#2 Dissatisfaction with city services has not increased during the pandemic.

#3 Satisfaction with city services is much higher in Shoreline than in other cities

#4 Priorities for improvement: the City’s response to homelessness; the quality of human services; the quality of police services. (We didn’t even ask about homelessness in 2018.)

#5 Streets, sidewalks and housing

#6 Effects of COVID-19 (survey was done in June)


DISCUSSION

Homelessness - Do we want the City to do more? Or do we want the City to do less?

Reply: Unfortunately, we can’t really get that type of information. We tried using a follow-up with another similar city, only to find out the answer came back 50% wanted more and 50% wanted less from their city.

Police services - survey predated the problems that have occurred in Shoreline. So are we seeing nationwide focus rather than Shoreline specific?

Reply: Shoreline hasn’t changed. Most people were satisfied. There’s media input to consider as well. The City needs to communicate what it is doing to keep residents safe.

There are a lot of neutral responses. Thank you for pointing out that neutral can mean the respondent is unsure. It’s important to focus on the red (dissatisfied). It’s not a bad thing to have a lot of neutral answers.

This survey was finished before any discussion of Shoreline’s enhanced shelter. Not a single opponent of the Enhanced Shelter has said that homelessness is not an issue in Shoreline. They recognize that there are problems here that need to be addressed. The dissatisfaction is with the location. When first discussed, we talked about working with a lot of North King County cities (Kenmore, Bothell, Woodinville, and LFP) because it is a site to serve all of them. The survey, if taken now, might have very different responses regarding City communication and satisfaction.

Meeting adjourned



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