Notes from Shoreline Council meeting April 11, 2022

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Pam Cross, reporter
Shoreline City Council Meeting
April 11, 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

In January 2017, the City Council passed Resolution 401, declaring the City of Shoreline to be an Inviting, Equitable and Safe Community For All, and prohibiting inquiries by City employees into Immigration Status.

It is important to the City of Shoreline that all community members feel valued and a sense of belonging.

Council Reports

CM Ramsdell toured The Oaks enhanced shelter. He heard from them about the challenges the shelter is having but was very impressed by the quality of the staff and the variety of services. Housing placement is the biggest challenge, followed by mental health services.

CM Mork attended the Regional Water Quality meeting. It is likely they’ll want a 5.75 rate increase in 2023 for sewage (about $6 increase per household). They also discussed sewage flow monitoring, the purpose of which is to guide investments to the conveyance system as the population grows. 3 of the 8 priority projects are in Shoreline, including the Richmond Beach Pump Station upgrade.

Public Comment (topic, name, city)

Each speaker allowed 2 minutes. There were also 8 written comments (archived here)

Topic: Saving our urban tree canopy
Susanne Tsoming, Shoreline
Nancy Morris, Shoreline

Topic: The Oaks Enhanced Shelter
Jackie Kurle, Shoreline

Topic: Duplex/Triplex in residential zones
Mallory Van Abbema, Shoreline
Kirsten Schneider, Shoreline
Doug Schneider, Shoreline

Topic: Saltwater Park tidelands
Tom McCormick, Shoreline

Topic: Planned 7 story apartment on Linden Ave N
Derek Blackwell, Shoreline
Courtney Ewing, Shoreline
Charu Lakshmi, Shoreline
Kathy Plant, Shoreline
Laura Lind, Shoreline

Approval of the Consent Calendar
The Consent Calendar was approved unanimously.

Action Item 8(a) Action on the Final 2022 Comprehensive Plan Amendment Docket

Presented by Steve Szafran, AICP, Senior Planner

Original Docket Amendments were presented to Council on March 7. The Planning Commission recommended the following Comprehensive Plan Amendments:
  1. Amend the Transportation Master Plan and Transportation Element which includes updated goals and policies.
  2. 2024 Comprehensive Plan Major Update. This is a multi-year project.
  3. Amend the Comprehensive Plan Land Use map that corrects an error. The only property covered by this amendment is the King County Park & Ride lot.

4. Amend the Land Use Element to add a new policy “Housing development and preservation of significant trees can co-exist with the goal of maintaining and increasing Shoreline’s urban tree canopy”.

The 5th Amendment to add a short term rental definition and related issues was not recommended by the Planning Commission.

During the Council’s discussion of the Draft 2022 Docket on March 7, 2022, CM Roberts introduced two additional potential Docket items for consideration.

One additional staff-initiated Docket item was brought forward to change the land use designation of one parcel in the Richmond Beach Saltwater Park from Public Facility to Public Open Space.

Move and second to approve Amendments #1, 2, 3, 4 be added to the Final 2022 Docket, and add the City initiated potential amendment #1 (land use at RB Saltwater Park).

Amendment #4 (housing and trees can co-exist) seems like a value plan rather than a work plan.
  • Reply: Yes that is accurate.
In some of the public comment that we received about potential amendment #1 (land use at RB Saltwater Park), there was a question about parcel #..9073 that contains Saltwater Park as well as the tidelands. The proposed amendment does not include the entirety of the parcel #..9073. Why not?
  • Reply: When we looked at that parcel, it was our understanding that the majority of that parcel to the north on tidelands, is underwater. This is something we would look at during our process and then decide.
But the amendment only talks about #..9010. If that’s the specific amendment, how can we expand that to additional parcels?
  • Reply: If Council would like us to look at the entirety of the park based on the public comment, we can do that.
Motion and second to amend amendment #1 (land use at RB Saltwater Park) to also include the parcel ending in #..9073

All parcels should have same designation on the comprehensive plan. We have seen this before in other areas when there is split zoning on a single parcel.

I don’t understand why staff didn’t put that in initially.
  • Reply: I don’t know. I think we were focused on the original map that was submitted. We can look into the bigger picture once it’s on the Docket.
  • Reply Julie Ainsworth-Taylor, City Attorney: The parcel that’s really at issue is usually underwater. Can we color it green? We don’t usually color it green. They are normally blue to show they are part of the park.
I don’t see a problem if it’s colored green or blue on the maps. It’s part of the park and is publicly accessible. Some accessible property doesn’t have a parcel number.

Is there any downside that staff sees with approving this amendment?
  • Reply: No
  • Reply Debbie Tarry: What you are actually doing is asking for this to be studied - you’re not implementing that change. Making the change happens after it goes through the Planning Commission process.
The second parcel is underwater almost exclusively? Under low tide as well? Is it owned by the City?
  • Reply Julie Ainsworth-Taylor: Yes, it is owned by the City and connected to and part of the park. It’s part of the legal description of the park. It is subject to tidal flow so it is underwater a lot of the time.
I don’t see any compelling reason not to add this parcel.

Vote on motion to amend amendment #1 (land use at RB Saltwater Park) to also include the parcel ending in #..9073.
Passes unanimously

Motion and second to add (CM Roberts’) potential amendment #1 (duplexes/triplexes) to the Final 2022 Docket

As a member of the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) we recognize there is a shortage of housing in the region. PSRC believes we are 44,000 units short now. In order to provide a house for everyone who is living the region, this number is expected to increase by 2050 to 418,000 units. Multifamily housing is very expensive to build especially for those units that are for those under 30% AMI (area median income). To build this type of very low income housing, we need the federal or state government to come in to build it. We really need to increase supply. To do that, we need to build more housing. How do we do this?

Our existing code already allows duplexes. Plus we allow ADUs that go over the maximum density in R6 (6 residences per acre). Cottage housing got an exemption. We need to do this. We don’t restrict the number of people who can share a home. But we can’t call it a duplex or triplex. An attached garage converted to housing is ok because it’s not a duplex - it’s a house they are sharing. So we’re not being terribly bold to add duplexes and triplexes to our code.

If this passes, we are allowing the Planning Commission to study whether or not this makes sense.

There are concerns. People don’t like multi family next to single family residences.

From a business perspective, members of the younger generation cannot afford a house but a duplex could be doable and allow the next generation to continue to live in Shoreline.

Staff is opposed to this amendment not because of the concept, but because of the increased workload?
  • Reply Rachael Markle, Planning and Community Development Director: true.
  • Reply Debbie Tarry: Some of the staff concern is potentially this could result in significant change to single-family residential zones. It will require significant public outreach and comment and that is a significant amount of work. And given all the rest that is going on, that is a concern that we have. We anticipate a lot of work on the public outreach side.
Question by Rachael Markle: Was it the intent with this amendment to have an affordability component or to just allow the duplexes and triplexes?
  • Based on the language of the amendment, I am unable to determine what the intent was.
  • The Comprehensive Plan should be broadly high level, and any kind of specifics should be in the Development Code.
  • The language is read into the record: “Amend the Comprehensive Plan Land Use Element to explicitly allow duplexes and triplexes and allow with conditions other dwelling types that are similar in scale with single family detached homes, in low density residential zones.”
Now I’m confused. What does this do differently since duplexes are currently in the code?
  • Reply: The current Land Use Element #1 in the Comprehensive Plan states: “the low density residential land use designation allows single family detached dwelling units. Other dwelling types such as duplexes, single family attached, cottage housing and accessory dwellings (ADU) may be allowed under certain conditions. The permanent base density for this designation shall not exceed 6 dwelling units per acre.”
This amendment would move where the period ends the first sentence and would add duplexes, triplexes, and other dwelling types that are similar in scale to single family type homes. (In wording to be prepared by staff.)

The current code requires we adhere to the base density standard. That means if you have enough space for one house, you can build one house. If you have enough for two houses you can build two houses or a duplex (with conditions). But you can’t put a duplex on a lot that has only enough space for one house. 

The effect of this motion would change that rule and potentially triple the base density by allowing duplexes or triplexes on a lot that is currently allowed only one home. Is this fairly accurate?
  • Reply: That would be the policy guidance which would be translated by staff into the development regulations and conditions. But that’s what it’s basically saying.

I believe that we do need to add density. This idea isn’t fully baked yet. I ‘m going to hold off on supporting it on the Docket for this year.

This can really change the character of neighborhoods and I think this needs a longer public process as mentioned in the staff analysis. This is a bigger change than what I’d heard. We can have duplexes even if we don’t have the land that prior code required in R4 and R6 zones? That’s bigger than a simple amendment
  • Reply: I believe you are correct. We want our Development Code regulations to be consistent with our Comprehensive Plan and that would require a lot of work.
I’m really interested in increasing density but the Planning Commission is already working on cottage housing and the missing middle components of this.

(Note: “Missing middle” refers to the housing gap between multi-unit housing and single family homes by providing a range of house-scale buildings with multiple units—compatible in scale and form with detached single-family homes—located in a walkable neighborhood.)

I think we need to clarify if it’s a policy that is feasible before having staff commit so much time and effort. We don’t want to take it through the process and then decide it shouldn’t be executed. Am I right?
  • Reply: Goals and policies are aspirational. That’s how we look forward to our City growing and that’s why we do these things. You don’t usually see these aspirational plans in the Comprehensive Plan if we don’t think we’re ever going to work on them.
I will be voting for this but I am really hesitant about supporting whatever comes out of this. But I’m curious to see what the options are. We put a lot of work into increasing density in carefully selected areas, increasing density where there were utilities available and a lot of other criteria. And even with that careful planning, we are seeing problems in the light rail areas - such as getting adequate power from Seattle City Light. This proposition is much broader than what we did in the station areas. 

If we did this citywide, we’re talking about tripling density, and we’re fooling ourselves if we think that would not radically transform the way Shoreline looks, the way Shoreline operates, and whether we can provide services and what those services will be like. One or two in an area will just be absorbed, but if it happens wholesale that’s a big change. 

On the other hand, we need affordable housing overall, and we’re missing the ability for folks to buy an entry-level house with a yard. Studying this make sense now. This type of thing is being looked at statewide as well as by other municipalities.

I think this is the missing middle component that we need to study which is in our Housing Action Plan. Also, the real trick is the development code to make sure we get the type of housing that we want. We want the housing to look like single-family detached homes. If we’re going to move forward, we need to amend the Comprehensive Plan to do some of this additional work to make it into code.

Is this part of the missing middle?
  • Reply: Yes, along with cottage housing and other types of housing.

VOTE on motion to add potential amendment #1 (duplexes/triplexes) to the Final 2022 Docket
Passes 4-3
Dissenting: CM Mork, CM McConnell, DM Robertson

Cottage housing in the Development Code specifies 6 units per acre (R6), but there was a density bonus that went beyond 6 units. This is an apparent contradiction. Shouldn’t the Comprehensive Plan have been changed to amend the definition of R6?
(Note: Shoreline adopted cottage housing in 2000, but repealed it in 2003. It is no longer permitted, but continues to be studied)

For low density residential, the current land use policy in the Comprehensive Plan reads R6 “may not exceed 6 units per acre.” Won’t that have to be removed or changed if we move forward with this?
  • Reply Rachael Markle: Yes.
Motion and second to add to the Final Comprehensive Plan Docket to explore striking or removing plan strike or remove R6?

Is the amendment necessary at this time? We need the Comprehensive Plan to be in sync with the Development Code.

My understanding of what we are doing here tonight is not to work out the details of a particular proposal. We will get back a proposed amendment from staff, and that proposed amendment could include language to other portions of the Comprehensive Plan that are required by what we adopt. Correct?
  • Reply Julie Ainsworth-Taylor: The Comprehensive Plan isn’t really precise - it’s not targeted to a certain element and it develops over time. Staff can’t just freeform it. Also, if we remove the density limitation for all R6, you might want to qualify that in some way because otherwise it would allow any density.
I think it should be carefully explored.

This is too nebulous for me. And not a good use of staff time.

VOTE on Motion to explore striking or removing R6
Fails 6-1, CM Roberts dissenting

VOTE ON MAIN MOTION as amended to include duplex/triplex amendment
Passes unanimously 7-0

Action Item 8(b) Public Hearing and Discussion of Resolution No. 489 - 2023-2028 Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP)

Presentation by Nytasha Walters, Transportation Services Manager

The City’s six-year TIP must be consistent with its comprehensive plan transportation element. The six-year TIP should include transportation projects, such as road and bridge work, as well as new or enhanced bicycle or pedestrian facilities.

Descriptions of projects including status of funding can be seen in the staff report.

Todd Cullen, Shoreline, need for sidewalks and better street lighting


I’m curious about the off-corridor bike network. The current plan seems like a roundabout way through the neighborhoods to the 148th light rail station.
  • Reply: The off-corridor bike network is located north and south of the 145th corridor, and is seen as an alternative to traveling east to west along the entire corridor from Aurora to SR522. The segment you’re talking about steps down from the Interurban Trail connecting to the future 148th non-motorized bridge. That segment is on the contingency list for funding - I’m optimistic it will be funded in time for the light rail opening.

Thank you for the hard work your staff have done on this - it’s really impressive. Investments in sidewalks and bike lanes are good things and get people out of their cars. There are some projects where a little money would go a long way (stop sign or speed bump for example) and I’m concerned about how little money is left for these things.

This will come back to Council on May 9.

Study Item 9(a) Discussing the 2021 Year-End Financial Report

Presented by Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director

This report provides details on the actual revenues and expenditures for 2021 and is provided to keep the City Council informed of the financial issues and the financial position of the City as we complete the second year of our first biennial budget. This is not the audited financial statement which is not yet available.

Revenues exceed our plan and expenditures are well below our plan. 2021 was a much better year than 2020.

This detailed report is available in the staff report.


I would like thank you for how well the City handles our money in both good and bad times, obviously with the help of residents who are spending money to keep restaurants afloat. It’s important that your staff knows how much we appreciate the stability of our City’s financial picture.

Council retires to an Executive Session.

Council returns to the regular meeting.

The floor is open to an action item related to the Executive Session.
Note: since this is related to the Executive Session, no details were provided.

Motion and second to authorize the City Manager to execute a voluntary compliance plan and settlement agreement setting forth a $40,000 payment and implementation of a mitigation restoration plan.

This imposes the maximum possible penalty without some extenuating circumstances that we don’t think we have. It is a significant reduction in the potential restitution, but under all the facts and circumstances I believe it is a just result. I also believe that imposing the maximum penalty in a case like this is appropriate under the version of the code in effect at the time - that is $2,000. We recently enacted some amendments to that penalty code that will increase it for future situations.

Passes unanimously 7-0.



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