Notes from Shoreline City Council meeting May 24, 2021

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Pam Cross, reporter
Shoreline City Council Meeting
May 24, 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 June 2021 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) PRIDE MONTH in the City of Shoreline. And through this proclamation, the City of Shoreline affirms its support and acceptance for children, adults, families, and allies of the LGBTQ community.

This year the Progress Pride Flag will fly at City Hall for the month of June. The flag includes a chevron with black and brown stripes to represent marginalized LGBTQ communities of color, and the Transgender Pride Flag colors of pink, light blue and white.

Approval of the Agenda
Agenda adopted by unanimous consent.

Report of the City Manager, Debbie Tarry

COVID-19 UPDATE

Case numbers continue to improve in Shoreline. Shoreline residents have done an exceptional job protecting our community. Unfortunately, we have had our 100th death from COVID-19 and we mourn the loss of every person who has died from this pandemic.

Governor Inslee has announced that the State will fully reopen on June 30th, or earlier if 70% or more Washingtonians over the age of 16 have received their first dose of the vaccine.




NORTH KING COUNTY ENHANCED SHELTER UPDATE
Located at 16357 Aurora Ave. N.

This update should appear about once a month.


SHORELINE WALKS

Join your neighbors Saturday, June 5, at 10:00am for a moderately easy walk through Hamlin Park, Shorecrest, and South Woods Park. All participants are required to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

For meeting place and other details go to shorelinewa.gov/shorelinewalks

PUBLIC REMINDERS
  • In honor of Memorial Day, there will be no meeting next Monday, May 31. The next Council meeting will be held on Monday, June 7.
  • City Hall will be closed for services on May 31.
  • The Parks/Tree Board will hold a remote meeting on Thursday, May 27 at 7pm.
  • The Planning Commission will hold a remote meeting on Thursday, June 3 at 7pm.

Council Reports

Councilmember McGlashan talked about how well run the Shoreline vaccination site is, and how caring the volunteers are in assisting people with anxiety about being vaccinated.

Public Comment

Jackie Kurle, Shoreline, stated that the enhanced shelter update was encouraging. She would like the City to scale up the shelter residents appropriately, and maintain the gradual approach they are using now.

Kathleen Russell, Shoreline, Save Shoreline Trees, talked about the width of new sidewalks in Shoreline and noted that Shoreline allows flexibility in the 8’ width requirement. This flexibility should be exercised in order to reduce the removal of tall mature native conifers.

Approval of the Consent Calendar

Consent Calendar approved unanimously by a vote of 7-0.

Action Item 8(a) PUBLIC HEARING and Discussion on the Reprogramming of 2021 Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) Funding

Presented by Bethany Wolbrecht-Dunn, Community Services Manager

Shoreline receives Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) Funds on an annual basis. There is a Public Hearing and Action is taken each fall. These funds must benefit low and moderate income persons and a Public Hearing and Council approval is required on use of the funds. Shoreline receives approximately $322,000 annually. Approximately 48% is available for local projects.

For 2021, there was a Public Hearing and discussion on September 14, 2020. The spending plan was approved on September 28. There were two capital projects providing $104,398 for the minor home repair program run through Sound Generations, and $71,885 for a housing development contingency fund. The City has generally used the contingency fund to hold funds until there is a project available that would qualify for CDBG assistance. There is a limit to the amount of time the City can hold these funds without losing them.

The building that contains Ronald Commons and Hopelink Services on Aurora Avenue N has a serious leak issue that has and will likely continue to damage the foodbank and other spaces unless remedied. Unfortunately, the bids for the leak protection project came in significantly higher than the allocated $48,189. Staff is recommending the contingency funds be allocated to fully fund this project. Any remaining funds will be recaptured and available for reallocation.

PUBLIC HEARING

No public comments

DISCUSSION

This is newer construction. What year was it built? Why isn’t this the responsibility of the plumbing contractor?

Reply: The building was opened in 2013. We looked into pursuing the contractor in 2019. We were told the cost of litigation would be too expensive relative to the cost of repairs.

This additional expenditure will not reduce funds in other grants, right? This is just money we have set aside?

Reply: That is correct. These funds are for work that comes out more expensive than the bid. And any funds they don’t use will return for the Council to reallocate as needed.

I recall the 2019 conversation and I’m confident staff had exercised every possible push to find out who was responsible for this. We provided funding to our partners, in this case Compass Housing, and they are responsible for managing their own operation. And yet they come back to us for a significant amount of money to repair their facility. I’ll support it but I’m not happy about it. CBDG should not be a backstop to pay for projects that we fund.

In the future we need to steer CBDG to direct services instead, like the minor home repair program that puts money into the hands of citizens so that they can fix their homes and stay in them.

I share the frustration but, while it seems like a lot of money, it’s just a little over $1,000 per unit. Plumbing repairs are always expensive. At this point it’s important to keep the 60 households, some with small children, in safe, affordable housing in our community.

Council agrees to see this back on Consent at the June 7 meeting.

Action Item 8(b) Action on Ordinance No. 931 - Authorizing the Use of Eminent Domain for Acquisition of Certain Real Properties to Construct the State Route 523 (N/NE 145th Street) Aurora Avenue N to Interstate 5, Phase 1(Interstate 5 to Corliss Avenue) Project

Presented by Tricia Juhnke, City Engineer

The City Council discussed proposed Ordinance No. 931 at the May 10 meeting. It was very detailed so a full staff report was not requested for this meeting.

Very short presentation noting eminent domain is used only as a last resort when they are unable to reach an agreement with a property owner.

DISCUSSION

No additional discussion.

VOTE

Passes unanimously by a vote of 7 - 0

Study Item 9(a) Discussion of the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) Update

Presented by Nora Daley-Peng, Senior Transportation Planner

What is the Transportation Master Plan (TMP)?

The Transportation Master Plan (TMP) is a long range blueprint for multimodal travel and mobility within Shoreline.

It should be a realistic plan that results in action as it will guide multimodal investments over the next 20 years based on community needs and priorities.


Why update it?

The last update to the TMP was in 2011. It must be updated by 2023 to align with the City’s Comprehensive Plan 2025 periodic update and to meet the Growth Management Act requirements; maintain the City’s eligibility for pursuing future grant funding; and set policies and programs for guiding transportation investments in Shoreline.

The purpose of this agenda item is to provide Council with a briefing on the progress of the TMP update and receive Council’s feedback on the draft TMP vision and goals.

What will make the TMP successful?

A clear and consistent vision; priorities that reflect community and Council goals; policies, programs and projects that reflect existing work and future needs; a feasible, financially sustainable roadmap.

Key Considerations

We need to look at the substantial growth, not just in Shoreline, but that our entire region is experiencing. The TMP will look at the synergy of land use as well as transportation choices. Regional transit investments coming to Shoreline include the two light rail stations opening in 2024 as well as new frequent bus connections to/from them. Ongoing transportation issues such as traffic congestion and safety need to be looked at and addressed.

We want to maintain Shoreline’s quality of life by preserving neighborhood character and improving access to parks. Cost constraints are always an issue so we need to develop a realistic improvement plan to be implemented over the next 20 years. The TMP update will prepare the City for the future by planning for emerging technology like electric vehicles and their charging stations, car sharing and micromobility devices such as e-scooters and e-bikes.



Key Discussion Topics that came up in our remote group meetings

Safety of pedestrians due to speeding vehicles, but also due to the lack of street lights, sidewalks and crosswalks, and sight-lines obscured by overgrown vegetation or cars parked too close to intersections.

Transit concerns were about getting to and from the light rail stations as well as getting around the City via transit.

Micromobility included car-free options for making short trips to parks, commercial centers, light rail stations and others.

There were a lot of questions about sidewalks and the status of new sidewalk projects financed by the voter approved tax. There were also questions about formalizing, extending and beautifying neighborhood paths to key destinations.

There was interest in what type of bike facilities are proposed for City corridor projects as well as the 145th St. off-corridor bike network, and the Trail Along the Rail.

Finally there was concern about the loss of on-street parking that is necessary to support local businesses.

The Draft Vision for the TMP

Shoreline has a well-developed multimodal transportation system that offers safe and easy travel options that are accessible for everyone, builds climate resiliency, and promotes livability. This system has been developed over time, informed by a robust, inclusive dialogue with the community.

To achieve this Vision, the Draft Goals are to prioritize safety, seek equity, provide multimodal options, build a connected community, protect the environment, and support a vibrant community.

DISCUSSION

During Public Comment, Ms. Russell talked about sidewalk width. Now that we have lots of townhomes our zoning has changed since we decided on sidewalk widths. Since townhomes are not single family homes, they would require 8’ sidewalks. But some of those streets are relatively narrow. Is this going to be addressed? Also, will overall speed on City streets be addressed?

Reply: These really point to the policymaking of the TMP. The three P’s (policies, projects, programs) need to work together to outfit our City for the next 20 years. The current TMP makes a good start on sidewalks. We are going to be looking at the different travel modes including walking. We can revisit sidewalk width as we move through the process.

Regarding the speed limits, Kendra Dedinsky, our city traffic engineer, has been working on speed reduction for safety. She will be returning with an update for Council.

Debbie Tarry: Kendra did bring forward proposed changes in speed limits and we are currently doing additional analysis. The proposed changes were on specific streets, so it isn’t city-wide. We will follow up to see if there are other discussions going on about city-wide changes and get back to you.

I haven’t heard an update in a while about the Trail Along the Rail. Is it moving forward? Nearly complete?

Reply: (Nora’s connection froze at this point. She rejoined the meeting later by phone.)

Nytasha Walters, Transportation Services Manager, responds: Yes, there is some progress. We are working in close collaboration with Sound Transit on some sections. And we continue to look for funding. There are some off corridor sections that we’re also working on. So it’s coming together but it is going forward in pieces.

How does this process interact with entities like Metro? There’s so much up in the air with the big changes that are planned there and the uncertainties of what cities like Shoreline will end up with.

Reply Nytasha: We are closely following Metro, Sound Transit and Community Transit. With the restructuring and the way the services are being reallocated for King County, we are trying to ensure our interests and needs are well articulated in the TMP. We also have to prioritize capital projects that will help ensure that services provided to Shoreline can be accommodated.

Mayor Hall encouraged Councilmembers and staff, as well as the public, to go to any city, locate a neighborhood that is vibrant and walkable, and measure the sidewalk. In his experience, 8’ sidewalk width is at the low end.

We need to remember that the more sidewalks we build, the more we may impact trees. There is always a tradeoff. We have hundreds of thousands of existing trees in our City and almost none of them is really old growth. 

The vast majority of our trees are less than 70 years old. Shoreline was clear cut once for logging, and later for development in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. I’ve been very pleased with the flexibility our staff has found to protect trees in several projects. And our canopy is being maintained. We are likely gaining 1,000 to 2,500 new significant trees every year because of the ones that were planted 30, 40 and 50 years ago. We are better than many perceive.

I agree we need to be flexible in sidewalk width in areas that are commercial or mixed-use. But there are areas where we really need sidewalks for safety but it’s not reasonable to expect it to be a congregation spot. We don’t need 8’ sidewalks along Richmond Beach Road, for example. Flexibility can also save some of our mature trees. Sidewalks can dodge around a tree. I start with the perspective that we should be saving every last one. Unless we absolutely cannot.

The Council confirmed that the staff vision and goals align with Council goals, expressed thanks for all of the hard work and the detailed staff report.

Following the public meeting, Council met for an Executive Session: Property Acquisition - RCW4.30.110(1)(b)

The Council may hold Executive Sessions from which the public may be excluded for those purposes set forth in RCW 42.30.110 and RCW 42.30.140. 

Before convening an Executive Session the presiding officer shall announce the purpose of the Session and the anticipated time when the Session will be concluded. 

Should the Session require more time a public announcement shall be made that the Session is being extended.

Council took no action following the Executive Session.

Meeting adjourned.



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