Notes from Shoreline City Council October 12, 2020

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Pam Cross, reporter
Shoreline City Council Meeting
October 12, 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.

Report of the City Manager Debbie Tarry

COVID-19 Update

Case numbers in King County are still high due to a number of localized outbreaks with an average of 77 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days. The target is 25 per 100,000. Shoreline’s cases remain low, but have picked up slightly.

As the weather cools, we will be spending more time indoors and it is important to keep up safety precautions to reduce the risk of transmission. Face coverings are required in all indoor public places regardless of the distance between people, and outdoors when you may be unable to maintain at least six feet of distance from others. Do what you can to improve indoor ventilation by opening windows as much as you can. Keep surfaces clean and sanitized. 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.

Get tested at the first sign of illness.

More information available at shorelinewa.gov/covid

November 3rd General Election

Ballots will be mailed October 14th and Ballot drop boxes will open October 15th. Shoreline has two drop boxes located at Shoreline Library 345 NE 175th St and the Shoreline Park and Ride 18821 Aurora Ave N.

Drop boxes are open 24 hours daily until 8pm on November 3rd.

It is not too late to register to vote. Deadline is October 26th. Forms are available online or outside the doors at Shoreline City Hall.

More information available at Kingco.gov/elections

Reminder to 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

Everyone is invited to submit suggestions for names by October 15 to shorelinewa.gov/nameapark

RBCA Halloween CARnival

Now through October 24th, the Richmond Beach Community Association is hosting a series of safe family friendly Halloween events including a scavenger hunt, spooky selfie stations, jack-o-lantern pumpkin path, and haunted homes tour. This is open to everyone in Shoreline.

More information at richmondbeachwa.org/carnival

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: Designing Successful Gardens

Shoreline is partnering with local gardening experts to help you learn how to design attractive garden beds with plants that provide multiple benefits. The next one is this Wednesday, October 14 at 6:30pm. You need to RSVP at shorelinewa.gov/calendar and more information is available there as well.

Shoreline After Hours

On Thursday, October 15th 7:30-9:00pm Join representatives from Robert Lang Studios, London Bridge Studios, and others for a discussion on the future of the music studio business and the music they’re excited about now.

To RSVP and for more information shorelinewa.gov/calendar

Public Reminders

The Planning Commission will meet remotely on Thursday Oct 15 at 7PM. It is a Public Hearing regarding the 2020 Comprehensive Plan Amendments and Development Code Amendments related to Point Wells.

Details available at shorelinewa.gov/calendar

ADDITIONAL NOTE

The Shoreline Traffic report is now available on the City’s website at:

https://www.shorelinewa.gov/government/departments/public-works/traffic-services/annual-traffic-report

Council Reports

Councilmember Robertson attended the Puget Sound Regional Council Economic Development District Board meeting. Among items discussed were assistance for small businesses, local government, and the outlook for businesses post COVID.

Deputy Mayor Scully attended the All Home Continuous Care Board.They have reorganized homelessness services throughout King County. There is now an executive board with control of all spending in the County and Seattle, and an advisory board of people who were directly involved in the system. Trying to make sure they get all the right people in and make sure it’s representative of all forms of diversity including regional representatives from all corners of the County. Historically most of the taxes went to Seattle and the other cities got less. Hope to see some changes in that.

Mayor Hall attended the King County-Cities Climate Collaboration (K4C ) annual summit where they discussed updating K4C goals to align with the more aggressive new State goals. Shoreline already has taken this position.

Public Comment

Due to the number of speakers, time was limited to 2 minutes each.

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

Dicky Leonardo, Shoreline
Ed Jirsa, Shoreline
Jack Malek, Shoreline
Joanne Godmintz, Shoreline
Vinay Venkatesh, Shoreline
Sudeeptha Jothiprakash, Shoreline
Diane Pfeil, Shoreline
Jacqueline Kurle, Shoreline
Nancy Pfeil, Shoreline

The Following speakers were in favor of the location the planned Enhanced Shelter

David Trainer, Shoreline
Paul Ashby, Shoreline
Kelly Dahlman-Oeth, Kirkland, Serving Ronald United Methodist Church in Shoreline
Lisa Surowiec, Shoreline
David Anderson, Shoreline

Approval of the Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

The Consent Calendar adopted unanimously by roll call vote.


8(a) Discussion of Ordinance No. 906 - Adopting Interim Zoning Regulations to Allow Siting a 24/7 Enhanced Shelter in the R-48 Zone District

The City Council is working on a change to the Comprehensive Plan. This would allow low barrier shelters (aka Enhanced Shelters aka Navigation Centers) in all R-48 zones in the City of Shoreline.

The presentation was made by

Nora Gierloff, Planning Manager
Colleen Kelly, Recreation, Cultural and Community Services Director

Background

Earlier this year, Council set a goal of developing partnerships with North King County cities and other key stakeholders in support of locating a 24/7 shelter/navigation center to serve homeless single adults in North King County.

In the City Survey, residents had expressed the most important services for the City to emphasize were a response to homelessness, improvement in the quality of human services, and police services.

Funding became available in June through the Department of Commerce. A grant application was submitted and awarded for the site at 163rd and Aurora. Staff briefed the Council on August 10th.

Proposed Ordinance

Interim zoning regulations were proposed to allow siting a 24/7 enhanced shelter in the R48 district. This would be effective for 6 months and renewable in 6-month increments. The regulations could then be renewed, modified, or allowed to expire every 6 months.

It was also proposed to add a new use definition for Enhanced Shelter: a low-barrier, 24 hour/day facility intended to provide adults experiencing homelessness with access to resources including housing, basic needs, hygiene, case management and social programs as they transition to permanent housing.

Enhanced shelters must be operated by state, county, or city government, a WA State registered non-profit, or a federally recognized 501(C)(3) that has the capacity to organize and manage an enhanced shelter. They shall permit inspections by City, Health and Fire Department inspectors. They must develop and enforce a code of conduct within the facility or on the facility grounds, and shall be located with frontage on a principal arterial and within 1/4 mile of a transit stop with frequent all day service.

Staff also is proposing a solid 6’ fence provided along property lines abutting residential zoned districts, and a parking plan for residents and workers.

You can find the locations where low barrier shelters can be located on the map here :

http://cosweb.ci.shoreline.wa.us/uploads/attachments/cck/council/staffreports/2020/staffreport101220-8a.pdf

Existing R-48 zoning districts are in Hillwood, Echo Lake, Westminster Triangle, Highland Terrace, North City, Briarcrest, Parkwood, and Ridgecrest.

Next Steps
  1. Return to Council 10/26
  2. Public Hearing 12/7
  3. King County to pursue permanent regulations in 2021

DISCUSSION

What is a “solid 6’ fence?”

Reply: no fence material or design has been specified

Why can’t we pursue a permit path more specific to this property? Our use table currently allows homeless shelters in MB but not in residential zones. An “enhanced shelter” has a lower bar than our definition of “homeless shelter” yet we are allowing it in a residential zone. That doesn’t make sense. And we are saying this is now possible for 8 other sites - even if, as the staff report says, it is unlikely that someone else would want to put another shelter in. It would still be on the books and allowed. Do we have any other choices to focus on just this one site?

Reply: If, instead of a permitted use, you were looking at a conditional use permit, that would be an additional review step that would be specific to a certain site. You would still have to add it as a conditional use to a zone somewhere.

Can you clarify the difference between conditional use and temporary use permits.

Reply: If we’re trying to address something at The Oaks site, we need a legislative change like we’re suggesting tonight that would put it into the use table as permitted. There’s no way to leap to a conditional use without this change to the code.

We did think about a temporary use permit that would be site specific, but legal advice was that it was not doable in this situation.

Enhanced shelter definition refers only to adults. Could it be redefined to include children?

Reply: We can define it however we want to. The need we saw was for single adults.

What are the taxes we are going to lose when this property goes from taxable business to non-taxable non-profit?

Reply from Mayor Hall: We don’t lose any taxes. We are guaranteed the total levy, so the “lost” revenues from this site will be reallocated to other taxpayers.

Reply from City Manager Debbie Tarry: Mayor Hall is correct. Assessed property value is $4M, with the building valued at $1,000 so we’re not talking about a huge amount.

The Council and the City spent an incredible amount of time and money to improve the Aurora Corridor and the goal was to increase commercial, businesses, and denser housing. An enhanced shelter on that property is a low use of a very viable piece of property. We have been told that some of the adjoining property owners have been talking about selling and are wondering how this will affect their selling price and as well as the community.

We are a bedroom facility close to Seattle, and as elected officials it is our responsibility to move our city forward with the kind of identity we want to have. The zoning in other communities for this type of use is commercial. Bellevue, with a population of over 160,000, located their shelters right off the freeway in highly industrial areas. Is this the right fit for the use of this property? It borders R6 on the west side. A 6’ fence is for visual effect but doesn’t prevent what happens there from bleeding into the other.

This parcel is zoned R48. Most of Aurora is MB. Are there other R48 locations on Aurora?

Reply: There are isolated areas of R48 mostly around existing condos or apartments.

Some of the zoning was carved out as an exception around existing buildings. The current vision as adopted in Vision 2029, is a vibrant commercial Aurora Corridor, with clusters of mid-rise buildings.

Would an alternative be to adopt an interim official zoning map that changed this parcel from R48 to MB?

Reply: I don’t believe we can do interim zoning. We can just do interim development regulations.

City Attorney King: she will look into this and advise.

Is this the right location? It’s hard to find a better location that has a facility like this. And if not on Aurora, where would we put it?

We located 6 or 7 alternate sites that had some of the, or even greater, concerns with interaction with the community. This study should be included in future staff reports.

The enhanced shelter is a lofty goal, but it has not been tried in enough areas. We have to do something more about homelessness, but we need more assurance that we’re not going to bring something into this community that can’t be undone.

A recent tour of the facility (anyone can arrange a tour) and talking about the program and seeing how it could be run, and how the facility is set up to operate, was a valuable experience and provided some confidence in it. But should things not work out, what are the options? And how quickly could they be enacted?

Reply: Council could elect not to renew interim ordinance, or not to pass permanent zoning changes.

When would this type of assessment be made?

Reply: There are legislative touchpoints set out by the temporary or permanent ordinances, and Council could require that they report to Council for discussion at periodic points.

Reply Debbie Tarry: If interim regulations are adopted, and the shelter is located and operated, they do vest to the interim regulations. Even if the interim regulations were repealed or expired, the shelter could continue operations but, from what we have heard from the County and LCP, if this operation is having such a negative impact on the community, it is likely that the County would terminate the contract with LCP and they would cease operation of the shelter. That is what they have told us.

Reply: it was expressed more as a firm commitment to do that if Council made it clear that the use was not welcome, the County does not want to be in an adversarial position with the City.

There was a list of 75 sites provided by staff of other shelters. Is there a spreadsheet talking about where they are and what population they serve?

Harborview Hall was an enhanced shelter in November 2019, but in March 2020 it became a COVID recovery site for the homeless and the original residents were moved out. And it’s not in a neighborhood. So it’s not comparable.

We need additional details on the Renton Red Lion and Licton Springs in Seattle. These have gone badly and would like to know what we can learn from them. Also, Renton Council was begging the County to close down that shelter because of the harmful effects on the commercial neighbors. So even if LCP and KingCo say they are committed to pulling out if things go badly, that hasn’t happened in Renton and it’s currently a battle between the city and the county.

If it goes sideways (we need to define what that means) we need to have confirmation that there’s an exit plan from KingCo because unless it’s in writing how we can feel comfortable the steps would be followed by anyone.

Licton Springs was a low barrier tiny house setting and they did allow drugs and alcohol use to keep them out of the neighborhoods. But there was so much increased crime, and attracted added population, that Seattle had to shut it down. Active addicts will not be allowed to use on site, and that will lead them into the neighborhood.

The Base Camp facility in Bellingham looked very different but would like to see an analysis to see if there were substantive differences from The Oaks.

Permitting is required for more control. The temporary use permit provides some, but then need to look at index criteria allowing a lower barrier than a homeless shelter. Need more guardrails around the criteria like distance from schools, parks and daycare. What are other cities’ regulations

Need more information on compliance metrics, staffing ratio, services on site, and code of conduct, and good neighborhood plan specifics. What would a “Good Neighbor Program” look like? I’d like to see that in writing.

We need to do something but the examples used like Camp United We Stand are not low barrier and we can’t seem to find examples of where it works with no background checks.

And because it’s such a huge need, there’s got to be more grants out there that will match what the city feels comfortable putting into the community.

The community isn’t mostly driven by fear, and the survey doesn’t say how we would like the City to address homelessness. It’s up to the council to not fulfill the need “at all costs”.

For the last half century, the Federal Government has underinvested in public housing across the board. The pandemic and resulting economic situation have increased the visibility of the lack of affordable housing. There is very little housing being built in this region to meet these needs. The last Point in Time Count reported 56 unsheltered adults in North King County. The City has a responsibility to do its part. But there are questions raised about this shelter that must be addressed to ensure the project will be a success. We need additional collaboration between the County, the facility provider, and the City. The recent experiences in Renton and Kent show the lack of an interlocal agreement there are concerning. And only with a conditional use permit, does the City retain control if something goes awry. Once you have permanent zoning, we can only use code enforcement procedures rather than having the ability to say no.

This is a good site for a shelter, but it needs to be a shelter that will be a good neighbor to our entire community like a shelter for individuals and families that can live alongside families.

What is the referral process here? Police from other cities will refer them here. Are they told to come here, only to hang out if there’s no room? Are they dropped off or given a bus ticket?

Can we prioritize beds for Shoreline? They could quickly fill those beds with people from LFP, Kenmore or Mountlake Terrace and still not alleviate the problem right here. We should be protecting ourselves.

Reply: will follow up

Another councilmember stated that there are some legal reasons for opening this shelter to others outside of Shoreline. And it is hard to get anyone to operate a shelter like this, so this will not open a flood of shelters like this in Shoreline. That’s just not going to happen.

These are interim regulations that list these 9 sites. We could have the County utilize this site and let the regulations for the other 8 sites expire, right?

Reply: Yes

Should we support an enhanced shelter at all?

We need to keep in mind the cost of responding to homeless issues today. The police and fire department get involved, and sometimes the homeless person ends up in an emergency room or in the jail when what they really need is some case management and someone to help them get their life back together. So the cost of the shelter would actually be lower than what we have now. These individuals are the ones that are having the most issues accessing services and following through and they need the help.

How many homeless shelters are there now in KingCo?

Reply: 3,770 year-round shelter beds and 74 shelters in Seattle; KingCo 12,090 year-round beds and 38 shelters. None in Shoreline or LFP.

Public Hearing after adoption. What’s the rationale?

Reply: interim regulations are used when there’s a time sensitive issue. State law allows the hearing to occur within 60 days of adoption.

It makes more sense to have the Public Hearing concurrent with or before adoption. We’ve known about this for a while. Isn’t there time for a public hearing at the same time we rule on this?

Reply: Debbie - will follow up to see if there’s time to meet publication timeline

It’s easy to fill shelters for women and children. The challenge is finding locations for single people. This shelter is for single women and men which are the ones there are no spaces for. The reason why this is prioritized, we did the gap analysis 2 years ago, and this need came up.

This funding, if we lose it, will go someplace else.

Shoreline has done a lot of other things to help address homelessness. This is not just an isolated action but in response to the highest remaining gap. We’ve allocated funding, worked with nonprofits to try to keep people from becoming homeless by supporting rental assistance and utility assistance, promoted affordable housing, and have the property tax exemption program. Ronald Commons and Vision House filling other niches. This is part of a portfolio of work to address the issue of homelessness. 



8(b) Transmittal of the 2021-2022 Proposed Biennial Budget and Proposed 2021-2026 Capital Improvement Plan


The City Manager is required to submit the 2021-2022 Proposed Biennial Budget to the City Council no later than November 1, 2020. Tonight’s presentation will introduce the 2021-2022 Proposed Biennial Budget document to the City Council.

Debbie Tarry, City Manager and Sara S. Lane, Administrative Services Director made the presentation

Budget discussions occur all year long as Council sets goals and situations like the pandemic arise. So this is not something that staff works on without guidance.

The budget allocates financial and staffing resources. We are a public service to our community and we create value for the taxes paid, support our staff, maintain fiscal sustainability in line with the 10 year plan, identify gaps, and work to achieve Council goals.

It’s important to note:
  • We still have a bond rating of AA+ with an S&P rating of “stable”
  • We have had 24 years of unmodified financial statement audit opinions
  • 21 years of GFOA Budget Awards

The proposed budget does a lot, but it doesn’t do everything. It doesn’t provide funding for all City needs and desires, does not provide long-term sidewalk repair and expansion (due to the loss of the Car Tab fee), does not fully implement the PROS Plan, or address all needs requested by staff.

But it does maintain highest priority services, increase human services funding, continue long term care of our facilities, provides sidewalks maintenance/repair and expansion, and maintains reserves within policy guidance. Unfortunately it eliminates funding for the Shoreline Pool with resultant staff reduction

Why the difference between revenues and expenditures? Some of our funds are going to be accruing an extra fund balance.

  • The Biennial Budget will be available online at the City’s website shorelinewa.gov
  • Click on Budget and CIP Policies under the Government Plan
  • Budget Books on CD available for purchase at City Hall


DISCUSSION

What exactly are we missing out on when you say it doesn’t fund all city needs and desires?

Reply: Departments will be making their presentations next week so you should see more specifics at that time. But some examples are requests for street lights, ditches along the right of way etc. We only budget so much so it takes time to get through all the various requests. Also, there’s the pool.

When will we have a discussion expanding RADAR as part of police operations? And learn about the success of the Community Court?

Reply: When we negotiate the police contract renewal. Community Court was affected by COVID of course.

Don’t want to reduce the number of sworn police officers but need to increase the police budget for social service responses.

Property taxes increases are limited to CPI or 1%. This year CPI came in under 1%. What would be the effect of using the 1% allowed?

Reply: $37,000. additional revenue

Is it cumulative?

Reply: yes, there is a small compounding effect in the future. It increases our levy by $37,000, then next year’s levy is calculated based upon the prior year’s levy.

Meeting adjourned.



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