Notes from Shoreline Council meeting April 19, 2021

Friday, April 23, 2021

Pam Cross, reporter
Shoreline City Council Meeting  
April 19, 2021
Notes by Pam Cross

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

Councilmember Chang was excused for personal reasons.

Proclamation
I, Will Hall, Mayor of the City of Shoreline, on behalf of the Shoreline City Council, do hereby proclaim April 22, 2021, as EARTH DAY in the City of Shoreline.

Approval of the Agenda 
Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

Report of the City Manager, Debbie Tarry

COVID-19 UPDATE

King County new cases have remained relatively stable over the past two weeks but the current rise in infections continues to be substantial. The biggest increase is still among 18-34 year olds. The hardest hit areas are in the southern and southeastern areas of King County. The increase in cases in Shoreline is about half of what has been seen in those areas.


Most of the cases now being identified are from the variant strains and so we are encouraging people to keep following the precaution measures, and to get vaccinated as soon as you can.

  • Wear a well-made, snug fitting face mask.
  • Limit activities with unvaccinated people from outside your home.
  • Avoid crowded spaces.
  • Improve ventilation in workplaces, businesses, and homes.
  • Stay home and get tested at the first sign of illness, or if you were exposed to someone who has tested positive.
  • Get vaccinated when you are eligible.
  • And even once you’ve been vaccinated, continue to practice social distancing and wear a face mask because you don’t know whether others have been vaccinated or not.

COVID-19 Vaccinations



We will remain in Phase 3 until the next evaluation May 3rd.

Sound Transit Survey 

Sound Transit is doing a survey right now as they are looking at the challenges that they are facing from a budgetary standpoint on projects related to ST3. They’ve been hit with both cost escalation and revenue has been less than anticipated due to COVID-19. 

SR522/ 145th Stride Bus Rapid Transit Project


We encourage everyone to complete the survey.

Earth Day Every Day

The last webinars are April 21st and 28th;  7:00-8:30pm

To register and learn more, go to shorelinewa.gov/earthday

SHORELINE WALKS

The walk this weekend will take you through the Shoreline Community College Campus, the Washington State DOT Campus and Shoreview Park.  Face masks are required. For more information including where to meet and a schedule of walks, go to shorelinewa.gov/shorelinewalks

Public Reminders
The PRCS/Tree Board will hold a remote meeting on Thursday, April 22nd at 7:00pm.

Council Reports

On behalf of the Council, Mayor Hall said thank you to the police and firefighters who responded to that huge fire last week at the Linden Apartments. There were 16 deputies from Shoreline, Kenmore and Metro Transit who showed up and risked their own lives saving the lives of people living in those apartments. In the course of doing that, four of the police officers were hospitalized for smoke inhalation. We wish the best to these officers and everyone else who was affected by this fire.

Deputy Mayor Scully attended the meeting of the Lake Ballinger-McAleer Creek Watershed Forum. The cities of Edmonds, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, and Snohomish County coordinate efforts under an interlocal agreement to address problems relating to water quality, habitat enhancement and flooding in the Lake Ballinger/McAleer Creek Watershed. Shoreline’s interest is both upstream and downstream flows from it. Echo Lake drains right into Lake Ballinger. Echo Lake’s health therefore affects Lake Ballinger. 

There is good environmental news from Shoreline City staff on some cleanup that we’re doing on Echo Lake including shutting off one of the last sewage outlets that was draining straight into the flow from Echo Lake to Lake Ballinger.

Public Comment (written comments available on line)

Dicky Leonardo, Shoreline
Jackie Kurle, Shoreline
Expressed concern about the protection of the park near the enhanced shelter.

Approval of the Consent Calendar
Consent Calendar approved unanimously by roll call vote 6-0.


Colleen Kelly, RCCS (Recreation, Cultural and Community Services) Director, made the presentation

Staff recommends that the City Council move to name the property located at 709 N 150 Street as Westminster Park and the property located at 1341 N 185 Street as Edwin Pratt Memorial Park as recommended by the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services/Tree Board.

The naming process included reviewing suggestions from the public submitted during the submission period of September 15 through October 15, 2020.

Staff recommended Westminster Park to the PRCS/Tree board for the property in the Westminster Triangle neighborhood but deferred to the Park Board for the park in the Meridian Park Neighborhood (there is already a Meridian Park in the community). Staff suggested they consider names that reflected nature or that had historical or cultural significance. 

The PRCS/Tree Board formed a park naming subcommittee, and from the suggestions selected Edwin Pratt Memorial Park. 

Following the Board recommendation of Edwin Pratt Memorial Park, staff felt it was important to contact Edwin Pratt’s daughter, Miriam Pratt-Glover, to share the PRCS/Tree Board recommendation and to inquire as to whether she would have any objections to naming this park property after her father. Ms. Pratt-Glover replied that she was truly touched by all of the efforts that the City of Shoreline has undertaken to honor her father and felt her father would be pleased to have the public space named after him since it is near an area where they lived.

DISCUSSION

Motion and second to name the parks as recommended by the Tree Board.

I will be supporting this, but have a couple of questions.
Last year when we purchased the property, the name of Dwight Stevens Park was mentioned but I don’t see that it was ever proposed.
Reply: it was never formally submitted

I have a concern with the policy that basically says we can name a park after someone who is living, but if someone is deceased, they have to wait two years before a park parcel can be named after them.This policy seems strange.

Why name it “memorial” park instead of just park?
Reply: because that’s the way it was officially submitted

Do we know of any memorial parks in the region?
Reply from John Norris, Assistant City Manager: not in Shoreline but there are a handful in Seattle. 

I think use of the word “memorial” indicates that this is someone worth remembering. It’s nice that we are naming parks after local people, including people of color, who really made a difference in history. We don’t really learn about local folks who made a difference when we are in school.

VOTE
Motion passes by unanimous vote 6-0


Steven Szafran, AICP, Senior Planner, gave the presentation

The amendments being discussed address issues that are time sensitive related to: changes in State law; unclear Development Code language; omissions caused by recent amendments to the Development Code; and may directly result in projects either being developed or not. 

Staff will bring another batch of amendments forward to the Planning Commission and Council later this year that also address important issues such as tree protection, tree retention, and tree replacement, the Deep Green Incentive Program, SEPA, nonconforming structures, and Conditional Use Permits.

Review of proposed amendments

1 Increases the number receiving care in an adult family home from 6 to 8 people.

2 Housekeeping issues.

3 Allows a public agency such as Sound Transit to apply for a land use permit for a public project without the requirement of the property owner’s signature.

4 This amendment will clarify that single-family attached developments are eligible for design departures, and that landscaping regulations are also eligible for design departures.

5 and 6 Add a use to the Use Tables for parking areas. It also includes index criteria that parking is allowed as an accessory not a primary use, in order to clarify that stand-alone parking areas shouldn’t be allowed.
 
7 and 9 This proposed amendment is privately initiated. This amendment clarifies that the density for a parcel with multiple zoning districts will be rounded after the density of each zone is calculated. When calculating density for a parcel with multiple zones, staff will calculate the density of each zone, add the densities together, then round the number to get the allowed density of the entire site.

8 Makes the setback in MUR70 zero feet for consistency with all the other commercial zones. It’s more pedestrian friendly. From a distance it looks pretty intrusive, but close up it is more pedestrian friendly. 



Ronald Commons illustrates what a zero foot setback looks like across the street from single family or a parcel zoned single family. The building steps back to reduce the building bulk right at the sidewalk.


10 Parking requirement for uses that are unlisted can be determined by the Director

11 Clarifies when staff can approve a 25% parking reduction when a new development is proposed within a quarter mile of a light rail station or other high capacity transit facility.

12 Specific stall assignments for residential parking no longer applies since the number used is .75 per unit.
 
13 Clarifies that administrative design review is required for all departures from landscaping standards.

14 Expedited permit review without additional fees is included under Deep Green incentives. 

Title 13 This amendment clarifies that in the special flood hazard area, areas below the lowest floor can only be used for parking, storage, or building access. This amendment is being recommended by the State Department of Ecology as a requirement of continued membership in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

DISCUSSION

Regarding amendment 3. Transit agency is defined in code. Why do we need the broader definition of public agency?

Reply: This amendment generated from Sound Transit. They wanted to apply for permits on parcels they were in the process of acquiring. Since we have a definition of public agency we thought it would be a good idea.

But such a broad definition of public agency includes Federally Recognized Indian Tribes, any municipality within the state of Washington, and Counties. We want this to be specific. What if a well meaning public agency starts a tussle between the neighborhood and the public agency?

Reply: We were thinking about projects that are already underway and not purely speculative. For example Sound Transit trying to build expanded right of ways. I don’t know if we could narrow that down. We can look into it. 

I have an issue with #3 as well. I was thinking about the house in Ballard that had a high-rise built around it because the homeowner didn’t want to sell. Shouldn’t they at least be under contract? If they just have interest in the property, how do we know they’ve even had a discussion with the owner? It shouldn’t be just speculative.

Reply: good point. There would have to be some kind of agreement in place before we would allow that application to come in.

Permits are not just applied for, but can be issued - is there a time limit on the permit?

Reply: There is an expiration date on the permit.

The public agency question is interesting. Thinking of Fircrest, with multiple public agencies, if we approve a Comprehensive Plan amendment, we could change the entitlements on that piece of property. But there’s a decent back stop since it has to come back to Council.

Regarding 5 and 6 Parking amendment is to prevent building just a parking lot or a parking garage?
Reply: yes

Regarding 9 determining density. The two examples you provided result in .5 and .6 rounding up. In simple rounding, they would round up. If we’re going to put this in the Code, I prefer to have one case resulting in less than .5 showing that it would still round up.

Reply: OK

Regarding #11 (reduction to minimum parking requirements) Parking in MUR70 refers to a complete pedestrian route. My concern is that in the interim, when the pedestrian route is not complete while we wait for added development, developers may overbuild parking if they don’t get to use the 25% reduction. Should we change this? 

When areas are under construction and development, there are going to be temporary disruptions and things that don’t work well in the near term.There can be parking spillover effects and some roads closed due to construction and right of way permits. A 70’ building could be constructed next to a one-story single family home. We should work backwards from the long view. If someone is building a project next to one of the light rail stations, the station is going to be open in just a couple of years. I would be inclined to give them full credit for building next to a station even though it isn’t open yet. There might be some parking demand issues in the meantime, but a parking requirement plan requires a lot of work for basically a temporary problem. I would prefer instead to say if this stop is scheduled for revenue service within 3 or 4 years, provide the parking management plan when the station is opening.

On #4 (single-family attached developments are eligible for design departures). We pass fairly detailed requirements but later on we’re asked for an exemption where the Director can deviate from the requirement. We need to recognize that we do this regularly and need to be careful not to go too far and end up saying Yeah, we have these “rules” but all you have to do is convince the director…

On #14 (expedited permit) Timing is very important. If we’ve told them they will get an expedited review, there needs to be a way that anyone who has been depending on this doesn’t have the rug pulled out from under them.
Reply: We’ve had the same concern and have been working on some ways we can address that.

There is a letter to Council that is worth considering:
“In order to achieve broad DGIP participation, our client recommends that the City not enact the new constraints on Tier 4 participation in the expedited permit program. But if the City feels compelled to make the proposed change for budget reasons, we request that the City grandfather applications in the pipeline that have expended significant resources in reliance on the benefits provided under the current DGIP. Enclosed with this letter is a proposed amendment to Ordinance No. 930 to grandfather applications that have submitted for ADR by the effective date of the Ordinance, provided that a complete building application for the project is submitted within 120 days of the effective date of Ordinance 930.”

We’ve just had a lot of discussions about the various incentives in MUR70 and we’ve directed staff to work on that. That work is going to be coming forward, and I wonder if we should look at this amendment in the context of the other incentives in MUR70. Maybe we want to expedite all of our MUR70 permits over other permits. I’m not suggesting this - I don’t think I would want to go there. But we don’t want to do something that sounds like a good idea but then it ends up undermining some of our other goals.
Maybe we should hold off until we bring back all the amendments on MUR70.

This will come back to Council as an Action item.


Andrew Bauer, Senior Planner, made the presentation

The Plan has three components:
  1. Housing needs assessment which presents a summary of data and analysis to identify the needs within the City.
  2. Regulatory review assesses the relationship between the objectives of the Housing Plan and the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan housing element, and also analyzes the effectiveness of the various regulatory tools that Shoreline already uses to facilitate housing production. 
  3. Housing Toolkit and potential actions presents the initial list of potential tools to address housing needs and also documents the Planning Commission’s recommendations for implementing the action.

The 2020 Planning and Community Development Department work plan included a Housing Choices Project to expand the types of housing in Shoreline by exploring the “missing middle” suite of options including cottages, tiny houses, vacation rentals and accessory dwelling units. The Draft Housing Action Plan (HAP) was presented to the City Council at the March 22, 2021 meeting. 

Council requested the HAP be revised to clarify that, if adopted, the Council was not committing to any particular housing toolkit strategy, but instead the HAP could be used to inform future decisions on goals and work plan priorities on the topic of housing.


Staff seeking direction for potential action on May 24

DISCUSSION

This plan was a lot of work and should not just go on the shelf. We need to keep the plan in front of us as we move forward. 

SB 52-87 was passed this year and is waiting for the Governor’s signature. It allows cities like Shoreline to have a changed definition of area median income (AMI) from the County AMI to the City’s AMI.

Should anything be added to address this possibility?
Reply: There is nothing in the action plan that addresses this specific kind of topic. We can adjust as this comes up. It’s too early to tell right now.

It’s easy to think that going to our City’s lower median income from the higher County’s might provide more affordable housing. But as we know, developers are going to build where it “pencils out.” We have requirements that make it more expensive and more difficult to build at 147th St in Shoreline than it is in Seattle at 143rd St.  There could be unintended consequences of using SB 52-87. We could require a deeper level of affordability but, instead of that resulting in more affordable housing, we might get none at all. Due to our proximity to Seattle it will always be difficult to keep housing affordable.

We have to use caution when thinking about some of these ideas. Not because they’re bad ideas, but we all know that even minor land use changes can become all encompassing. I agree with others that cottage housing is a good option for Shoreline.

One person said cottage housing is not preferred for seniors downsizing or aging in place. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to attract this large market population because of the cost of land. We don’t have a lot of raw land and when rebuilding on a lot, builders are going to put the largest house possible. This applies to the “missing middle” as well. But these are important goals to have.

When talking about the “missing middle” sometimes things get added in there that may not work in Shoreline. There will always be demand for R4 and R6 single family homes so I don’t want to see that zoning changed to allow triplexes or fourplexes.  We can address these concerns as they come up.

This will come back on Consent May 24th.

Meeting adjourned. 



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