Notes from Shoreline council meeting March 21, 2022

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Pam Cross, reporter
Shoreline City Council Meeting
March 21, 2022

Notes by Pam Cross

The remote meeting was called to order at 7:00pm by Mayor Scully.

All Councilmembers were present.

Approval of the Agenda
The agenda was approved by unanimous consent.

Report of the City Manager, Debbie Tarry




Council Reports

Deputy Mayor Robertson
I attended a meeting of the North King County Coalition on Homelessness. The Oaks is still at capacity with a waiting list of 40+. They are also having another transition in leadership. Additional details to follow. The Board of Lake City Partners is very interested in adding members of the Shoreline community to the Board.

I attended the National League of Cities Conference and learned that some financial assistance may be available in order to promote digital equity.

Councilmember Mork
I attended the Community Climate Conversation on keeping warm and staying cool. This is a great series and encourage people to attend.

Councilmember Roberts
I also attended the National League of Cities Conference. With three hour time zone change as well change to Daylight Saving Time, it made the 7:30am meeting very rough (laughter). As a member of the Board, we unanimously adopted a resolution in support of Ukraine, and had a discussion with the Mayor of Kyiv. I attended a panel on how other cities are using their ARPA funding. And we heard from the President, Transportation Secretary, and the Speaker of the House.

Councilmember McConnell
I want to congratulate Councilmember Roberts who received an honor at the National League of Cities Conference for his work with the Democratic Municipal Officials organization.
NOTE: Shoreline Area News reported this award in their March 17 Edition.

Mayor Scully
I also attended the National League of Cities Conference. The huge benefit of this group is that it lobbies for cities to the federal government. A lot of the projects we do in here in Shoreline are funded, at least in part, by federal grants. There is more funding available so staff is working on that.

Public Comment (2 minutes per person)
Note: in addition to the speakers, there were 100 written comments and numerous voicemails left for Councilmembers. The Mayor assured that all of the correspondence was read, and all of the voicemails were listened to. (All Councilmembers nodded in agreement).

Steve Hanson, Interim President of Shoreline Community College
Spoke in support of Council authorizing the City Manager to execute an agreement with Washington State University in the Amount of $363,000 for Small Business Advising and Technical Assistance to Small Business through its Small Business Development Center (Note: This item is on tonight’s Consent Calendar)

The following speakers discussed Study Item 8(c) Regarding the Tree Related 2021 Batch Development Code Amendments

Gayle Janzen, Seattle, Member of the Tree Preservation Code Team Communications.
Clarified that the proposed Tree Codes do not apply to the citywide Shoreline Tree Canopy, but pertain to residential MUR-35, MUR-45, and TC-4 (Town Center) zones only.

Wally Fosmore, Shoreline
Importance of penalties for removal or injury beyond rescue of protected trees on R-8 through R-48, critical areas and buffers. Shoreline is lax on enforcement for developers. There must be consequences. Penalties do not apply to private property.

Suzanne Tsoming, Shoreline, Tree Preservation Code Team Member
John Norris has said additional studies are required. These studies will take years. Instead, include a provision that the decision should be reviewed after studies are completed.
[Ms. Tsoming’s comments regarding Agenda Item 8(b) are shown below]

Nancy Morris, Shoreline
Interdependence of trees and environment must be acted on now to address climate change. We need visionary policymakers - this is no longer business as usual.

Janet Way, Shoreline Preservation Society
I’ve been talking about trees for 20 years - you can make me go away by getting something done. It is time.

Lee Keim, Shoreline
We lose biodiversity when we lose our trees. Shoreline is seriously below meeting our 2030 targets which puts the 2050 target of Net Zero completely out of reach.

Kathleen Russell, Shoreline
Please approve the 6”dbh significant tree measurement and the requirement of a permit to remove trees 24” dbh and larger; and, eliminate Director authority to waive and reduce tree retention and tree replacements. (Note: DBH means Definition of Diameter Breast Height. A tree's diameter at your breast or chest height is the most common tree measurement made by tree professionals.)

Melody Fosmore, Shoreline
A recent NOAA aerial photo shows the true reality of the results of development in Shoreline. Except in parks and privately held lots, it shows our tree canopy cover has become sparse.

Rebecca Jones, Seattle
When we had temperatures over 100 degrees, I measured heat in three separate areas of Shoreline. It was significantly lower at Boeing Creek Park among the large trees. Tree replacement cannot make up for loss of mature trees.

Suzanne Tsoming, Shoreline, Tree Preservation Code Team Member
Action item 8(b) - the 5th Avenue NE (NE 175th – NE 182nd) Sidewalk Project
Would like consideration of shifting the new roadway and sidewalk near NE 178th which is the location of the two largest cedars.

Other topics not on tonight’s agenda

Jackie Kurle, Shoreline
I again want to emphasize the importance of transparency about the operations of The Oaks Shelter. From DM Robertson’s comments, it appears things are going well.

Approval of the Consent Calendar
The Consent Calendar was approved unanimously 7-0.

Action Item 8(a) Appointing the 2022 Members to the Planning Commission

Presented by Steven Szafran, AICP, Senior Planner

The Planning Commission is a seven-member board which is appointed by the Shoreline City Council. Its purpose is to provide guidance and direction for Shoreline’s future growth through continued review and improvement to the City’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan, zoning code, shoreline management, environmental protection and related land use documents.

There were 13 applications.

The subcommittee of Deputy Mayor Robertson and Councilmembers Roberts and Mork met on February 19th and March 1st to conduct interviews, and after deliberations, unanimously recommended that the full Council appoint Mei-shiou Lin for a second term, Leslie Brinson, and Christopher Mosier to the Planning Commission for four-year terms that will run from April 1, 2022, through March 31, 2026.

Praise for all of the applicants. It was a difficult decision.

VOTE passes unanimously

Action Item 8(b) Authorize the City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract with Rodarte Construction, Inc. in the Amount of $3,291,215 for the 5th Avenue NE (NE 175th – NE 182nd) Sidewalk Project

Presented by Tricia Juhnke, City Engineer

We looked at a number of options:
A shared use trail required more width than we have available;
  • Locating the sidewalk behind trees would require easements from the private property owners and would place the sidewalk very close to the homes;
  • An elevated walkway similar to the one on Dayton but the roadway section here is different so that it wouldn’t work;
  • Reducing the sidewalk width (we did this in some places) and removal of the bike buffer would provide only half of the needed distance from the trees to protect them.

This is a critical piece of roadway for light rail. We have listened to the public comment and considered the alternate options. Staff did review the options. We went from removing 90 to 23 trees.

The trees are gorgeous and it will be sad to lose them, but the ultimate goal is to reduce our carbon footprint. We need people to get out of their cars and use light rail so we need to remove barriers for people walking or biking to the light rail stations.

This is just the third sidewalk project. We need to focus on modern sidewalk construction - not the standard ones. We don’t want trees coming down. Let’s not look at 1960’s designs. But we MUST get people out of cars and a safe way to use sidewalks.

Why can’t it happen on the east side of the road?
  • Reply: We have sidewalks on both sides. We talked about moving the roadway centerline, but there is pump station that cannot be moved. So we couldn’t shift the centerline without impacting the pump station.
You said all options were considered except two. Why?
  • Reply: There were two separate options for the foundation of the sidewalks. They might have been considered, but the project manager is on vacation so I was unable to confirm it. However, she did provide the extensive list of what was considered, and these two were not included.
I’m glad this came back as an Action item rather than on consent. It gives everyone the opportunity to see that staff has looked a lot of options that may not have been included in the previous staff report. I hope staff will continue to look at saving as many of the remaining 23 trees as possible.

I think we learned from the Dayton Ave project. With that one we had a proposal that removed a large number of trees resulting in significant public comment. Council got involved and we had hearings and study sessions and the ultimate design removed only a few trees - way less than originally proposed.

This time we started out with how can we save all the trees. And then worked backwards from there. We worked to reduce the number of trees removed. We can’t save all trees because we need sidewalks too. We often can’t do both. I hate to lose trees, but I think we took the right approach this time.

Passes 7-0 unanimously

Action Item 8(c) Action on Ordinance No. 955 - Amending Shoreline Municipal Code Chapters 20.20 and 20.50 Regarding the Tree Related 2021 Batch Development Code Amendments

Presented by Steven Szafran, AICP, Senior Planner

This presentation will just focus on the amendments that resulted in comments and questions from Council, as well as any amendatory endorsements proposed since the last meeting.

This new size criteria is in keeping with other cities in our region which have adopted these measurements for their Significant and/or Landmark trees because they are rapidly disappearing due to development. It also matches the definition of the City’s Public Works Department that is used when evaluating trees in the right-of-way.

On Amendment #C5, there have been questions from various Councilmembers on the provisions in the existing Shoreline municipal code regarding assessing fees and fines for violations to the City’s Significant Tree Retention requirements. The following slide shows what the fees and fines looked like in two examples. The City’s penalties for issues in the right-of-way (ROW) and critical areas are more substantial than the penalties proposed by the applicant.

(See staff report for recommendations and detailed justifications of all 10 amendments.)


Since this a large batch of Amendments numbered C1 through C10, a Councilmember will first makes a motion to approve the ordinance. Following this main motion, Councilmembers make motions to reject/approve any Amendment. This is followed by a discussion and vote on the individual motion. At the end, a final vote is taken on the main motion (either as amended or not amended).

Main Motion to Approve Ordinance 955.

Motion to reject Amendment #C2 (Proposed definition of Significant Tree)
Discussion: It makes sense for consistency as staff noted above. There is some concern about unintended consequences but we should move ahead now and have staff study further and report back, rather than wait years for additional studies and delay this decision.
Vote: Passes unanimously.

Motion to approve the community amendment portion of Amendment #C5 Penalties and Amendment #C6 Exemptions from permit
The two examples provided by staff were addressing residential violations. Have there been any recent violations regarding larger developments?
  • Reply: These were the only two examples we could pull that talked about substantial penalties. The Innis Arden one was a development of over two dozen homes.
There seems to be a lot of discretion by the Director in determining the penalties. I can see room for bias in how the methodology is applied. I like the idea of stated penalty amounts.
  • Reply (Debbie Tarry): In the example about the trees illegally removed from the right-of-way, we had two arborists come in to evaluate. It is not the Director that determines the value of the trees.
I think the current penalties are stronger than those proposed by this amendment. Lower penalties remove the incentive to save trees.
What the community wants is both penalties. In addition to the methodology there would be $3k, $9k or $15k penalties, correct?
  • Reply: That’s how I interpret it. So the penalties would actually be larger.
What makes the City enforce illegal activity?
  • Reply: We find out about it if someone reports it, or a City employee sees it. We have to know that there is illegal activity taking place, unless it’s a development where we go to the site and inspect to make sure the approved plan is being followed.
We need to not only protect trees, but to make sure that any replacement trees remain healthy for the long term. We saw at Shorewood HS that many of the trees did not do well in the first two years. This needs to be studied further.

Could I have additional clarification of #C6?
  • Reply: Exemptions from permits currently exist in our critical area code. Financial guarantee and maintenance bonds are required with 3-5 years monitoring. Amendment #C6 would add an additional two years monitoring for those in the MUR-70 zones that now require only 3.
If it said 3 years to be consistent with current monitoring, would staff recommend acceptance?
  • Reply: That’s what we currently do, so it would be business as usual.
I would like to postpone this particular amendment until we review the rest of the batch code amendments in a couple of weeks. I think we need more clarification of what this amendment is actually doing. That would be the cleanest way to proceed.

Motion to postpone Amendments #C5 and #C6 until further discussion.

No additional discussion.
Vote: Passes unanimously.

Motion to reject #C8 Significant Tree Retention
When we give authority to the staff, we need to be clear who we are giving the authority to. I don’t think it’s appropriate to give waiver authority to the Planning Director on this.

The Director has authority for several things. Why take away the power in this one area? This could be career limiting for the director in this city. I believe it will be used carefully and extremely thoughtfully. We pick our directors very carefully and they represent the citizens directly - more than we do. Director’s authority is there for efficiency and the ability to make a decision and turn it around quickly.

Staff do excellent work. However I believe in reducing liability on individual members. The magnitude of these decisions involve our environmental health. I think it would be better if we have a constituted body to make an informed decision.

The problem with that is potential damage for certain homeowners that need to quickly remove a tree that is causing structure and utility damage (such as a side sewer), and there aren’t other options available.

I’m generally supportive of a Director’s authority for a few reasons. The code is full of these and I’ve always voted against removing the director’s authority. We set a bunch of criteria that decisions be careful, comprehensive with built-in safety valves so decisions are not made in foolish ways. Constitutionally, we cannot take away a person’s “reasonable use” of their property if a side sewer is damaged or a house is threatened by a significant tree. I don’t think council needs to police individual decisions by staff members. That being said, I’m concerned that this is too broad. I’d like to see a more narrowly constrained exemption.

Motion passes 4-3 with CM Mork, CM McConnell, and DM Robertson dissenting

Vote on Main Motion as amended
Passes unanimously.

Study Item 9(a) Discussion of Resolution No. 488 Approving the Relocation Plan and City Manager Property Acquisition Authority, and Ordinance No. 957 Authorizing the Use of Eminent Domain for Acquisition of Certain Real Properties to Construct the State Route 523 (N/NE 145th Street) & I-5 Interchange Project

Presented by Tricia Juhnke, City Engineer

The State Route 523 (N/NE 145th Street) and Interstate-5 (I-5) Interchange Project, “The 145th Street Interchange Project”, has an ambitious schedule to be completed prior to the Shoreline South/148th Station opening with light rail service in 2024.

Currently, the City Manager has property acquisition and relocation claims authority up to $50,000 under Shoreline Municipal Code (SMC) Section 2.60.090. Proposed Resolution No. 488 is project specific, and increases the City Manager’s signing authority to $1 million for property acquisition for the 145th Street Interchange Project. Additionally, it approves the Relocation Plan that authorizes the City Manager to approve documented relocation claims up to the limits prescribed by federal or state law regardless of amount. And it authorizes the City to acquire private property for public use through the use of eminent domain only if all negotiation efforts have been exhausted.

This Ordinance includes six parcels in Shoreline but does not include two parcels within the City of Seattle because they are outside of our jurisdiction, or two parcels owned by Seattle Public Utilities.


What happens with the City of Seattle’s property and that owned by Seattle Public Utilities?
  • Reply: We will negotiate with Seattle, get appraisals and obtain offers. But we cannot use eminent domain over another public entity. We do have a letter of agreement with Seattle, should it be needed, that they will proceed with eminent domain on our behalf. But eminent domain is always our last resort.
Funding is almost exclusively provided by Sound Transit, correct?
  • Reply: That is accurate.
No additional discussion. This will be back on April 4 on Consent.




Action Item 8(a) has been added
Action on Ordinance No. 963 - Waiving Council Rule of Procedure 3.6 and Amending Shoreline Municipal Code Chapter 20.50.300 Regarding Tree Penalties and Financial Guarantees.

This is a result of Council's decision to postpone these items for additional discussion: Motion to postpone Amendments #C5 and #C6 was passed unanimously.


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