Notes from Shoreline Council meeting April 26, 2021

Friday, April 30, 2021

Pam Cross, reporter
Shoreline City Council Meeting
April 26, 2021
Notes by Pam Cross

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

Proclamation
I, Will Hall, Mayor of the City of Shoreline, on behalf of the Shoreline City Council, hereby proclaim the month of May 2021 as NATIONAL BIKE MONTH in the City of Shoreline and encourage all people to celebrate the month of May by bicycling for recreation and transportation.

Approval of the Agenda
Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

Report of the City Manager, Debbie Tarry

COVID UPDATE


As you can see from the COVID-19 slide, King County has exceeded the metrics for being in Stage 3 as respects new cases and new hospitalizations.

Since this meeting, it has been reported that King County will likely move back to Phase 2. The decision will be announced May 3 and will take effect the following Friday.

There is much urgency in the public health field about the current trend of new cases and hospitalizations. Most of these new cases are related to the variants and are occurring in all age groups except for those 65 and older and those under 5 years of age. Shoreline has risen from 70 to 82 new cases, 2 more hospitalizations, and one death in the past 14 days.

We strongly urge that everyone get vaccinated!


Please note there is a phone number to call if you do not have access to a computer.


Earth Day Every Day

If you were unable to attend this informative webinar series, you can see them now on YouTube at YouTube.com/cityofshoreline

Council Reports

Mayor Hall reported that now that the City of Shoreline has officially become the owner and operator of a wastewater utility, we have seats on the advisory committee that advises the King County Council on how to reduce pollution associated with wastewater. The committee is called the Metropolitan Water Pollution Abatement Advisory Committee or MWPAAC (pronounced mew-pac). The Mayor has appointed Randy Witt as the City’s representative, and Lance Newkirk as alternate.

Public Comment

Rebecca Jones, Seattle, has a business in Shoreline, Save Shoreline Trees
Spoke about the environmental importance of large established trees in Shoreline

Kathleen Russell, Shoreline, Save Shoreline Trees
Spoke about the survival rate of newly planted trees and the amount of time it takes newly planted trees to sequester compared to old growth trees. (Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide.)

Jackie Kurle, Shoreline
Reiterated the importance of ongoing close monitoring of the shelter’s activities and operations for the safety of residents and the community at large since the enhanced shelter is open and there are residents living there.

Approval of the Consent Calendar
Consent Calendar approved unanimously

STUDY ITEMS

8 (a) QUASI-JUDICIAL: Discussion of Ordinance No. 925 – Amending the Zoning Map at 16357 Aurora Avenue N from Residential 48 units Per Acre (R-48) and Residential 18 units Per Acre (R-18) to Mixed Business (MB) (PLN21-0008)

Because this item is a quasi-judicial proceeding, Councilmembers must disclose any ex parte communications.


Councilmembers had no disclosures.

Steven Szafran, AICP, Senior Planner, did the presentation

The City proposes to rezone one parcel of land located at 16357 Aurora Avenue N from R-48 and R-18 to MB. There is currently an enhanced shelter operating on the site.

The property owner intends to utilize the parcel for an Enhanced Shelter, a type of homeless shelter, and redevelop the property for permanent supportive multi-family housing after that. Rezoning to MB would allow for a variety of more intense residential and commercial uses not currently permitted in the R-48 zoning district.

Rezone Criteria:
  • The rezone is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. The existing zoning of R48 and R18 is not consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.
  • The rezone will not adversely affect the public health, safety, or general welfare.
  • The rezone is warranted to achieve consistency with the Comprehensive Plan.
  • The rezone will not be materially detrimental to uses or property in the immediate vicinity of the subject rezone.
  • The rezone has merit and value for the community. The proposed rezone is implementing the City’s vision for this area as stated in Comprehensive Plan Policy LU9. This location was chosen for the allocation of the City’s population growth. The rezone will allow the site to redevelop to provide additional density and/or employment opportunities. Commercial uses are planned for the Aurora corridor.
The Hearing Examiner held the required public hearing on March 17, 2021 and subsequently recommended approval of this requested rezone.

DISCUSSION

During the Hearing, there was a lot of public comment stating concerns about the enhanced shelter. People may not have realized that, whether or not we approve this rezone, the enhanced shelter is vested through the interim regulations. The enhanced shelter is there whether we vote to rezone or not, correct?
Reply: That is correct. The enhanced shelter is an approved use and allowed to be on that property.

It makes sense to rezone to make the property consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. It would allow permanent supportive housing, which is similar to an apartment for single families, built with appropriate setbacks. Right?
Reply: Yes, any further development would have to meet the development code which includes setbacks and building step-backs from any adjacent residential.

What happens if we don’t up zone?
Reply by City Manager, Debbie Tarry: Nothing. The enhanced shelter would continue to operate.

Would like to know a timeline for getting a report on how the shelter operation is going.
Debbie Tarry: I have asked for a monthly update. The shelter has been open for a short time and so far there have been no police calls. There was one false fire alarm. They are serving 20 residents and opening an additional 6 spots in a few days.

This rezoning is a good move for future ownership. It will also allow us to fix the anomaly to the zoning. There is a need for consistency in zoning along Aurora not only for the City but for future developers.

This will come back to Council on May 10 as an action item.

8 (b) Discussion of the 2020 Recology Annual Report

Autumn Salamack, Environmental Services Coordinator, introduced the guest speakers:
Erin Gagnon, Government Affairs and Community Relations Manager
Brooke Stroomsa, Waste Zero Specialist from Recology

Who is Recology?


We were impacted by COVID-19 like everyone else. Our staff changed to working from home. All of our drivers are considered essential workers, so we had to develop immediate protocols such as mask wearing, new check-in and check-out technology to make it contactless, as well as social distancing rules for safety meetings and contact with residents.

We saw an increase in recycling (I’m sure we all did a lot of online shopping) and we had to reallocate some of our resources from commercial residential to residential homes.

Green - food waste/compost
Blue - recycling
Grey - trash

Overall diversion rate of 63.74% kept out of landfills. Good job, Shoreline !

We did seven in-person presentations in January and February 2020. After that we made six virtual presentations throughout the end of the year. This included The Story of Plastic which included a panel discussion.

As part of our education and outreach, in 2020 we launched a Contamination Reduction Program in Shoreline to improve recycling by eliminating the introduction of non-recyclables (garbage and food waste) into recycling containers. 

Recology staff visits sites both commercial and multi-family, and visually reviews the material in the recycling containers. We don’t dig through the container or open any bags. If this visual review shows the container has less than 5% contamination, no action is required. However, if it contains more than 5%, Recology will post a notice on the recycling container and then contact the site by phone, and follow up with a letter with the contamination report.

If the recycling container shows more than 5% contamination over three follow-up visual inspections, a fee of $25/cubic yard may be assessed to dispose of the material as garbage.

The Contamination Reduction Program was originally scheduled to begin in early 2020, but because of the pandemic it was postponed to July. At that time the program was amended to reflect the financial hardships brought on by the pandemic. The visual audits are now limited to properties that have more than 50% contamination. City staff is also required to provide approval for contamination fees.

Between July and December 2020, Recology conducted 1,068 visual audits and found 130 that exceeded 5% contamination.

Recology offers education and outreach whenever they contact a customer about a contamination issue.

Multifamily apartments and complexes frequently experience recycling challenges and high levels of non-recyclables ending up in their recycling containers. In July 2020, the City of Shoreline and Recology launched Waste Wise, a virtual pilot program to reduce recycling contamination at multifamily complexes. Waste Wise provides free resources to make it easy for residents and the property manager to recycle correctly. Contamination is a huge issue that the entire recycling industry faces.

The Recology Retail Store hopes to reopen as soon as they can find employees. Full-time and part-time positions are available. Call 206-763-4444 if interested.

When the store does open, it will have contactless drop off for hard to recycle items. Residents will be able to make an appointment, come in, drop off their items, have their name checked off the list, and then leave.

Curbside pickup is also available. Contact Recology customer service to schedule a pickup for items you’ve been storing in your house while waiting for the store to reopen.
The number is 206-763-4444.

Recology customers were not affected by the AFTS Data Breach in February. There will be a confirming notice on their website and notices will be sent to customers.

DISCUSSION

How does Shoreline compare with our peer cities in their diversion rates?
Reply: Generally, Shoreline is very similar but at the higher end.

Do we have a sense of how much more diversion we can realistically expect?
Reply: There is a lot of room for improvement, specifically regarding food waste and some yard waste. Commercial and multifamily do not specifically collect food waste. We will be focusing on food waste in both commercial and residential in the coming year.

The contamination rate you mentioned was based only on audits?
Reply: Yes. Just the commercial and multifamily locations we visited.

Do you track the routes?
Reply: We track the routes first to identify high levels of contamination. Then we go out to specific locations on those routes to audit.

I don’t feel I’ve seen the innovation and new customer service things that I expected. For example, once the pandemic took hold, the amount of cardboard use and the need to recycle increased dramatically. But Recology did not address it. The response was: we’re just going to pick up a certain amount per residence. I don’t see that even penalizing people is changing the rate of recycling.
What concerns me the most is the Whitman Place Apartments. When they had bad audits, they did not participate in the education program, but simply opted out of recycling. We need to find a way to make it work instead of just opting not to participate.
I’m glad Recology is offering curbside pick up. There are other companies doing that and it didn’t make sense that Recology wasn’t.

We approved a rate increase based on the reduced recycling market after China stopped accepting our shipments. Is the recycling market better, specifically regarding plastics? And have you done anything to try to find new sources of recycling? Is there any thought of returning that increase to the ratepayers when a new source is found?
Reply: Finding recycling markets is an ongoing challenge because the international market has changed drastically. Starting this year we can no longer send plastics overseas. Recology has been able to find domestic markets for the plastics we were previously sending overseas.

I didn’t realize cancelling recycling was an option.
Reply: All residents are required to use Recology garbage collection per our contract. Residential customers receive food waste/yard waste and recycling at no additional cost. Commercial and multifamily are also required to use Recology for garbage collection and there is no additional charge for recycling. However commercial and multifamily do have an additional cost for food waste/yard waste collection.
Everyone has the option to not use it.

If you opt out of food waste/yard waste and recycling, doesn’t that increase the cost of garbage collection because you have more tonnage of garbage?
Reply: Yes. If you recycle and compost, you may also be able to select a smaller container for your garbage collection and save money. The savings would be even more for a commercial or multifamily residence.

The Shoreline transfer station allows free recycling of many things while the retail store is closed.

8 (c) Discussion of the 2020 Sustainability Report

The 2020 Sustainability Report provides an overview of the City’s 2020 achievements for five core focus areas and 22 associated indicators, as outlined in the City’s Sustainable Shoreline program.

Autumn Salamack, Environmental Services Coordinator, continued with this presentation

The 2020 Sustainability Report is available online at shorelinewa.gov/sustainability



In 2019 we met or exceeded 4 of the 22 sustainability indicators. While we did not exceed that amount in 2020, we did make progress on 11. And we are close to meeting our goals for our City’s vehicle fleet energy use, and the overall number of green residential buildings.

Climate change was a central theme in our 2020 environmental sustainability programming that was quickly adapted in response to the pandemic. New programs and online platforms were embraced by our residents, transitioning from in-person to virtual programming.

There were 19 new building permit applications for projects in the light rail station areas registering for Built Green 4 Star Energy Certification and two large multifamily projects on the Aurora Corridor registering under the Deep Green Incentive Program.

We did a waste reduction food service outreach program, a recycling guide and quiz, and introduced the Multifamily Waste Wise program previously discussed.

We’ve added enhanced bicycle parking, more EV charging stations, and a small quantity of sidewalks.

Almost 495 new trees were planted in Shoreline last year and we added an acre of parkland. We continued to advance our Salmon Safe progress


DISCUSSION

I think we need more than education to increase our recycling and food waste/yard waste composting. We’ve been talking about this for years now. Is it time to start looking at alternatives?
Reply: There are tools that we can look at that we’ve been talking about at a staff level around both mandates and working with Recology to try more design focused solutions. We need to look at how to redesign systems and redesign containers. We are watching what the State is doing as well. We will be coming back to you with additional asks on that front.

I think that composting food and yard waste could really help with diversion. But on the recycling piece, we’re really in a bind. There’s little a city can do to boost the need for recyclable products. I think it has to come from the State or Federal level requiring producers to use recyclable products in their packaging or to create packaging that does not mix plastics with paper. A lot of the packaging from grocery stores is not recyclable.

Why can’t we get Shoreline-specific data on water use from Seattle Public Utilities and North City Water District? I saw this in the staff report.
Reply: The utilities have reported that they have made some changes on how they classify their billing and they are simply unable to provide water usage by customer groups specific to our City.

I don’t understand that. They obviously send everybody a bill and they know all of the Shoreline addresses. The information has to be available in their database. They measure it to bill!
Reply: Yes they do. But for two years in a row they’ve told us they are unable to provide the data. I’d be happy to share the responses we’ve received with Council. This is an important area that we want to track. We have been able to get some information from them on electricity use associated with water treatment for the potable water that they are supplying to us, so we are getting some data. We will continue to push them on that.

Is it the way we are asking? I just don’t understand. It is a simple query.

This is a reason that cities need to control their own utilities so they can get this type of information.

Product packaging seems to be getting worse and worse with more things being packaged in both paper and plastic. That will take federal action to do anything about. Things like electronics take-back laws have eliminated the charge to the consumer, so the consumer is no longer throwing them in the dumpster to avoid paying the fee. At least we’re getting the most toxic, including batteries and paint, out of the landfills.

I was excited to hear in the presentation of the success that we’re having with development in Shoreline meeting Built Green and LEED Certifications. How does our percentage of this development compare to the rest of King County? Do we know?
Reply: We did just pose this question to Built Green and we are waiting to get an update.

Shoreline is also providing regional and global benefits by shifting toward transit oriented and green building development. How do we compare with other average developments in King County?
Reply: We worked with Cascadia Consulting Group late last year to try to get a sense of what you are asking. We have the results on the City’s website. It shows that housing and transportation choices have a really big impact on our climate footprint. But it’s an analysis based on estimates so you have to take it with a grain of salt. It shows that:
A Shoreline resident living in a green housing development by the light rail station and commuting on light rail (which is now 100% carbon neutral) results in a 1.6 metric ton footprint, compared to a Shoreline resident living in a single family home and commuting alone by car results in about a 8.16 metric ton footprint, and compared to a single family home resident in eastern King County commuting alone by car results in an 18.68 metric ton footprint.

Other benefits for our Shoreline development are that our electricity is provided by Seattle City Light, and since it is hydroelectric power is considered carbon neutral; we have natural gas in many of our Shoreline homes although not as much as utilized in other parts of the County; and combined with light rail and pretty good transit access we have increased opportunities to expand our active carbon neutral transportation network. These benefits really prime us to be a leader in sustainable low carbon footprint community development and design.


Meeting adjourned.



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