Notes from Shoreline council meeting April 5, 2021

Friday, April 9, 2021

Pam Cross, Reporter
Shoreline City Council Meeting
April 5, 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, do hereby proclaim the month of April as SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH in the City of Shoreline and join advocates and communities throughout King County in taking action to prevent sexual violence by standing with survivors. Together, we commit to a safer future for all children, young people, adults, and families in our community.

Approval of the Agenda
Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

Report of the City Manager, Debbie Tarry

COVID UPDATE


King County has shown a 26% increase in new cases since last week, primarily among 18-24 year olds. They first thought it would be just be a few cases, but this is clearly a trend. In fact our current increase shows we are above the peaks we saw in the first and second surges. There is no indication it will be leveling off soon. We may be looking at a fourth wave of infections.

Shoreline is also showing an increase with 73 new cases in the past 14 days compared to 45 the two weeks prior.




COVID-19 Vaccinations
  • Effective April 15, everyone 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine. So please be patient.
  • Go to doh.org for the most up-to-date information on locations providing vaccines.
18 people are now living in the North King County Enhanced Shelter at the Oaks.


Earth Day Every Day

More than 250 people have already registered for the April 7th event.


Shoreline Walks
  • Saturday, April 10 at 3:30pm. Boeing Creek Plant Walk and Work Party. SPACE IS LIMITED so preregistration is required. contact Marianne Johnson mjohnson@shorelinewa.gov, 206-801-2638
  • Masks and social distancing required.
  • For more information including where to meet and a schedule of walks, go to shorelinewa.gov/shorelinewalks

Mayor Hall thanked the outgoing volunteer PRCS/Tree Board Members for their hard work, dedication and outstanding accomplishments.
  • Bruce Amundson
  • John Hoey
  • Christine Southwick
  • Elizabeth White
Council Reports

Councilmember McGlashan: we had our first standalone Seashore Transportation meeting. We reviewed our work plan, including what to do about future hybrid meetings of in-person with potential remote attendance. The North King County cities are drafting a letter to the Sound Transit board to remind them how important the regional aspect of the 522/ 523 bus rapid transit is to get people from north King County to our light rail stations.

Public Comment (written comments available on line)

Whitney Murray, Shoreline

Expressed unhappiness with chip sealing (tar and gravel) of 21st and 22nd Ave NW. This is not appropriate in an urban setting. She is concerned about the safety of children, the elderly, and property damage from chips hitting vehicles.

Greg Anderson, Aliso Viejo, CA, SVP, Multifamily Development for Shea Properties

Spoke about development in MUR70

Shea Properties develops and maintains ownership of multifamily residential. They are working on two projects in Shoreline. They have concerns about the expiration of Multifamily Property Tax Exemption (MFTE) after 12 years. They would like to see Shoreline eliminate the requirement for affordable housing or at least offer a reduction in number of affordable units or an increase in the income requirements.

Jackie Kurle, Shoreline

She wants to make sure there is adequate monitoring of safety issues around the now open enhanced shelter to protect the residents and neighbors.

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

Action Item 8(a) PUBLIC HEARING and Discussion of the 2022-2027 Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP)

Presentation by Nytasha Walters, Transportation Services Manager

The Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) is used a lot in working for grants as well as with agencies for partnering opportunities. Potential partners and grant applications want to know what’s in our TIP.



Note: CIP is our Capital Improvement Plan which will be presented later in the year.


What has changed since last year?

I-976 which removed the ability of governments to impose Vehicle License Fees (VLF) for transportation purposes was determined to be unconstitutional. Since then, VLF money that was essentially “frozen” has been restored. Shoreline’s VLF has a $20 fee for pavement maintenance and a second $20 for sidewalk rehabilitation.

One new project has been added: 

Eastside Off-Corridor Bike Network (Pre-design study) Looking for an alternative parallel route due to the challenges for biking on 145th

One completed project from the 2021-2026 TIP has been removed because construction will be completed this year.

195th Pedestrian and Bike Connector (a shared-use path along NE 195th St from 5th Ave NE to just east of 7th Ave NE) utilizing Complete Streets grant funding.

There are several unfunded projects that are in the prior 2021-2026 TIP that are not included in the 2022-2027 TIP. It was determined that the TIP should more accurately contain only those projects that (a) the City would be completing, or (b) have a real chance of progression in the identified 6-year period.


The first project shown above actually was funded and that will be completed by developers as part of Shoreline Place.

We don’t see getting any grant funds in the next 6 years for the remaining unfunded projects based on our other needs.


Note: A woonerf (also known as a home zone, living street, or shared street) is a street that facilitates pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular traffic within a shared space. Woonerfs typically lack separate pavement and include a variety of surface treatments, bollards, street lighting, and landscaping to define a shared space. (Shoreline Engineering and Design Manual)

Total cost for the TIP for unfunded projects is $85M with a grand total of $273.5M.

The good news is that a lot of these projects we’re working on have received grant funding.


Highlighted projects are priorities for grants.

Sustaining a grant match is important. Staff recommends the Council continue setting aside revenue annually to utilize as match on these projects and identify additional funding sources, in addition to the retail estate excise tax (REET), to provide adequate grant match for these projects. This enables the City to continue to have the ability and flexibility to apply for and compete for outside funding to help with constructing important projects. Currently there is not enough REET to support grant match for all priority needs.

PUBLIC HEARING

Public Testimony

Whitney Murray, Shoreline

Referring to public comments made earlier in tonight’s meeting, can any of the VLF money we’re talking about here be redirected to different surfacing of roads?

DISCUSSION

Can staff remind Council how the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) revenue is programmed?

Reply from Debbie Tarry: there is $20 for the sidewalks repair and maintenance program.

The other $20 is for the pavement management program. We have to spread our dollars because the revenue from the VLF and the retail estate excise tax (REET) does not pay for our current pavement management program. Some of it goes to overlay on the arterials. We use chip seal to extend the life of the roads because the City cannot afford asphalt paving for all of the streets in the City.

The 15th Ave project is a high priority segment from NE 175th to NE 205th. It is unfunded. We have talked about reducing the speed limit on this segment. How would that affect whether or not you move forward on this project?

Reply: Reducing the speed limit helps public safety but in terms of improvements it would not change what’s being proposed.

It’s one of the few 2-lane roads in Shoreline. Is changing that configuration part of the proposed study? It does need improvement.

Reply: Different segments along 15th are being considered for sidewalks, bike lanes and so forth. Although we are looking at it as one segment, we may break it down into phases.

I hope the work with the business community continues.

Reply: It will. We try very hard to work with the business community.

I would like to see both the Ballinger Way and the 15th Ave projects given higher priority. These are big problems whether you’re in a car, on foot, or on a bicycle. Yes, they are long segments and expensive. But improvements here might save lives unlike the 3rd Ave woonerf. It belongs in a different category.

We have the Ridgecrest Safe Routes to School on the list of funded programs but not as a priority project. I would like it added as a priority project for Safe Routes to School funding.

Matched funds: are you saying that there are some things on the list, or removed from the list, because we don’t have matching funds so you’re not even going out for grants?

Reply from Debbie Tarry: We have never been in the position where we have not applied for a grant because we didn’t have enough matching funds. We have always found a way to have the necessary matching funds.

This needs simplifying. We are looking at the same roads at different times, months apart - speed reductions one time and improvements the next. How are streets and roads coordinated by staff when studied in overlapping topics?

Reply: We look at it holistically, including sidewalks and ADA requirements, bus service, speed reductions and so forth. I think the speed reductions presented by the city engineer will be implemented.

There is a never-ending list of projects. We wish we had more money.

This will be back on May 3 as an Action Item.

Study Item 9(a) Discussion of 185th Street Subarea Progress Report Follow-Up and MUR-70’ Zone

Andrew Bauer, Senior Planner, gave the presentation

The 185th Street Station Subarea Plan Progress Report was presented to the City Council at the November 30, 2020 meeting. Although the data reported show that new residential growth is occurring at the pace anticipated by the plan, it also found there was limited commercial development in the subarea and limited activity of any type within the MUR-70 zone.

We will provide responses to questions asked at the November 30 meeting and will begin the discussion of identifying topics the Council would like further studied, with the goal of facilitating development outcomes in the MUR-70 zone as envisioned in the two light rail station subarea plans.

Staff reached out to representatives from Seattle and Mountlake Terrace and they found common areas of discussion.


There are short term topics we might want to study further. We need to measure the impact as well as the effort required when working with Development Agreements, development incentives, building height, and the extension or expansion of the City’s Multifamily Property Tax Exemption (MFTE) Program. It is an important tool used to encourage the construction of new housing, including affordable housing.

Medium term projects (2023 to 2025) also need to be measured in terms of impact and effort required. We need to consider catalyst projects that would encourage developers to come to the table early, identify and build more flexibility in parking standards, and look at revising and altering some of these areas that have historic plat restrictions (we may have to work with the State on this). We need to look at property aggregation in order to encourage and facilitate larger scale developments, and infrastructure including utility planning and transportation areas such as sidewalks and bike lanes.

Long term we need more ways to offset infrastructure costs and identify deficiencies and fixes in external utility planning.

Staff recommends short-terms topics be advanced for study.

DISCUSSION

The stations aren’t even open. I’m ok not making radical changes yet. But we should start doing the studies.

I believe we need to make the rules now. If we don’t, we won’t get the kind of product we want. Once a building is built, it’s there whether we like it or not. Remember when we finalized townhouses, there were already multiple developers and 100 projects in the pipeline that we couldn’t touch with our new guidelines.

Before expanding MFTE (Multifamily Property Tax Exemption), I’d like to see some data. We are giving up significant revenue used for public benefits like parks and schools to get a little affordable housing. We don’t know what will happen with market forces. The apartments may stay affordable. But at the end of 12 years, I don’t want the buildings to be places where only the rich can live.

The Development Agreement with Pacific Place took too much time and effort from us and the developer for what was ultimately decided. The City was too involved. I think it would have turned out about the same without the City’s micro-management. I would prefer moving forward with fairly rigid requirements allowing some flexibility for individual circumstances.

There is a lot to study here. I would benefit from a workshop rather than trying to have this discussion under the limitations of the council meeting rules and time constraints.

Extremely glad we are having this conversation. Seattle, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace seem to be doing better and I’m concerned Shoreline has too many requirements in MUR70 so development doesn’t pencil out. Now is the time to look at this. We should be seeing things in the pipeline.

If it doesn’t pencil out for the developer, it’s not going to happen. Do we have the expertise in-house to figure out what things actually cost? We need to be working closely with developers so see if what we put out actually make sense. We aren’t looking at things the same way developers are. Need technical expertise to go along with our wish list.

You said Mountlake Terrace and Seattle express caution about too much commercial. Can you elaborate on that?

Reply: they focused on where commercial would work. If you require it everywhere, the outcome may result in empty storefronts. In Mountlake Terrace, it’s allowed everywhere but only mandated for a very small area.

We need to keep moving forward in order to get to Council goals for MUR70. We get letters about the cost of building parking. We need to look at parking standards to protect the environment and local neighborhoods and different rules on setbacks between local road vs other roads. Why do we have a setback on a local street in an MUR70 zone when it’s across the street from another MUR70 zone? Sometimes it’s right next to the station.

We need to make changes but I don’t want to take away too much parking because of spillover parking.

Aggregation is a big issue. Mountlake Terrace was lucky enough to have a huge property owned by their School District. We don’t have that opportunity. We have a bunch of single family residences that would need to be aggregated.

I’m reluctant to go over 70’. 70’ was a big jump for our community. Before we go to 200’, I’d like to see the data. I don’t see a lot of that kind of height going on along I-5 in north Seattle and they’re built out pretty heavily along I-5.

We don’t want a bunch of 3 story buildings or a row of 70’ buildings and it ends up looking like a flat landscape. We were able to keep the two stations as long as we supported transit oriented development there. If nothing gets built, that’s a waste of a $30M station.

Developers may be waiting until light rail is open. They don’t want a building to sit at low occupancy in the meantime.

We’re looking at about 24 months before these buildings are built and ready for occupancy. That will be right when the stations open.

Our regulations need work. In the past few years we lost two projects due to too many regulations. For one, Council came in with so many amendments, the developer said no way. Another one was SHAG housing with so many amendments, SHAG said it no longer worked for them.

We need look not at a project, but an AREA, with too many regulations according to developers. Maybe we should do away with the development agreement process because we micromanage and it takes a long time. It has to be easier to start a project or they won’t be done by the time light rail gets here. And it will be here before we know it.

Maybe we do need a weekend workshop in order to address so many items. It’s going to involve several hours of discussion.

This is not a crisis but we don’t want to wait a year either.

Now is the time to do something. And consider adjusting regulations to stay ahead of the curve.

We will get together with staff about how we want to move forward

Study Item 9(b) Discussing Resolution No. 473 – Establishing the 2021 Wastewater Rate Schedule

Randy Witt, Public Works Director, gave the presentation

The assumption of the Ronald Wastewater District (RWD) is set for April 30, 2021. The City is required to develop and implement a schedule for the wastewater utility fees.

The 2021 Wastewater Rate Schedule will be converted to the format of the City fee table.

Staff is proposing no changes to the rates or rate structure as established by RWD.

There is a City’s 6% utility tax.

Late charges will be discussed in more detail next week.


DISCUSSION

A late charge is a good idea but 10% is a very high charge for an essential public service. It can be significant for many residents. We need to think about what charge is appropriate.

Is there help from County programs with this utility charge after the pandemic? The pandemic does not allow late fees.

Reply: Low income and senior discounts will continue. Also, the City gave money to Hopelink for help with utilities.

It’s 10% of what?

Reply: It’s 10% of that one bill. And there is a one-time waiver if requested based on either “I forgot,” or for a reasonable cause.

At this point and so close to finalizing, we need to maintain continuity.

Returning April 19 on Consent.

Meeting adjourned


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