Notes from Shoreline council meeting April 4, 2022

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Pam Cross, reporter
Shoreline City Council Meeting
April 4, 2022

Notes by Pam Cross

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

CM McConnell was excused for personal reasons

I, Keith Scully, 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
The agenda was approved by unanimous consent.

Report of the City Manager, Debbie Tarry

Volunteers for Park Planting Events
We wish to thank the volunteers who worked planting in both Twin Ponds and Darnell Parks on March 26, 2022. If you are interested in upcoming events, please visit

Shoreline Walks

Public Reminders

Council Reports

CM Pobee attended the SeaShore Transportation meeting related to the new ORCA card. You don’t need a new card, they will update their software.

Public Comment (name, city, topic)

Speaking regarding 8(a) notice of tree removal in ROW
  • Melody Fosmore, Shoreline, TPCT (Tree Protection Code Team) member
  • Gayle Janzen, North Seattle, TPCT member
  • Kathleen Russell Shoreline
  • Rebecca Jones, Seattle
  • Nancy Morris, Shoreline
Jackie Kurle, Shoreline, The Oaks Enhanced Shelter

New planned 7-story apartment in Richmond Highlands
  • Courtney Ewing, Shoreline
  • Derek Blackwell, Shoreline
Approval of the Consent Calendar
The Consent Calendar was approved unanimously.

8(a) Discussion of Ordinance No. 960 - Amending Shoreline Municipal Code Chapter 12.30 Public Tree Management

Presented by Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director

The PRCS/Tree Board evaluated the TPCT’s suggested amendment, which proposed a 90-day notification period for right-of-way (ROW) tree removal, and recommended that the notification period for the removal of non-hazardous trees in the ROW be set at 45 days; less than the TPCT proposal but greater than the current 14-day requirement in the Shoreline Engineering Development Manual.

While appreciating the objective of the PRCS/Tree Board to provide greater time for public engagement relating to removal of public trees from the ROW, staff did not recommend increasing this notification period from 14 to 45 days for the following reasons:
  1. Increasing the noticing period for ROW tree removal could cause delay in City projects as well as other public and private development projects. When a ROW Permit is issued, the tree removal(s) have been reviewed and permitted through the ROW permit process and noticing on the tree for removal time greater than 14 days will not change the outcome of the removal. The permit holder may bear additional cost in time delay.
  2. Managing and responding to additional public input generated by the additional 31 days of notification time (for a total of 45 days) detracts from staff work to accomplish other priority projects, with no potential to impact or change the outcome of removal.
Staff is proposing some clean-up to the language in SMC Chapter 12.30 to reflect current delegation authority and to provide clarity for these regulations.


The length of time of notification will not change the outcome? What about the WSDOT project on Dayton?
  • Reply Debbie Tarry: The permits had not been issued yet on the WSDOT project. We are talking about notification following permit issuance.
Since everything has to be discussed before the permit is issued, I think 14 days is enough. At the most I would recommend 3 weeks but it’s important to keep things moving along in our our City. We have just made incredible changes to our code and it’s the codes that determine whether or not trees can come down and how they are replaced. There are a lot of goals that we have, there are a lot of other issues and there is a finite amount of time and staff to work on the vast number of very very pressing issues. My question to other Councilmembers is “where do we want to press pause” on those other very important issues?

My concern is not whether it’s 14 days or 45 days, but that the decision has already been made when the notification happens. Is there an easy way we could make notification earlier? They want to know what trees are going to be removed BEFORE they are removed so they can do something about it.
  • Reply Debbie Tarry: The regulations in the Development Code, adopted by Council, determine how we review development applications. That is the process that has to be followed consistently. And plans change as we go through the review process so the final plans may look a little different. It is a time-consuming process. We don’t currently have a way to report on things like the final tree removal. That would be a great goal to get to.
In the section Resources/financial impact, it says these changes will have no fiscal impact but other changes will have an impact. How?
  • Reply: The financial impact would come if we were directed to have the longer time. The expectation is that would require additional staff time in order to manage and respond to the public input. And that would mean either changing priorities and not doing something else (opportunity cost), or adding staff (direct financial cost).
I feel we need to do more analysis.

I need a clearer understanding of what public input is allowed prior to permitting. If nothing, we need to add that opportunity.
  • Reply Debbie Tarry: There are certain requirements for neighborhood meetings for certain types of developments. We will provide you with additional information.
Extending the time after it’s been decided just adds a delay. Our state is very big on transparency so that the public always has the right to comment - even if doesn’t have any effect on the project. But it will have an effect on future projects. I disagree that this is something challenging to implement. When you get a proposal that may impact a street tree, you wrap something around the trunk of that tree which says a development proposal may require removal of this tree. That allows the neighborhood or pedestrians to see what is happening. Then you provide a number to call if you want to comment. In the end, we have a set of policies in place that govern whether staff will approve or deny a particular permit application, and the fact that there is public outcry won’t change that. And shouldn’t change that. But it’s a way to let people comment.

Councilmembers are in agreement that this ordinance be brought back on the Consent Calendar.

8(b) Discussion of Ordinance No. 961 Unlimited Tax General Obligation (UTGO) Bond 2022 – Park Improvement and Park Land Acquisition and Ordinance No. 962 Amending Ordinance No. 929 Limited Tax General Obligation Bond Anticipation Notes

Presented by Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director

On February 8, 2022, Shoreline voters approved Proposition 1 (Parks) with nearly 70% of voters supporting the proposition. Proposed Ordinance No. 961 authorizes the issuance of unlimited tax general obligation bonds (Bonds) in the principal amount of up to $38.5M to finance and refinance: parks improvements to five neighborhood parks; investments in park amenities for three additional parks; and the acquisition and improvement of new park land and public art. Current costs have driven the total past $38.5M to $41.9M, however we can fill that gap with grant funding, which we are aggressively seeking. A contribution from the General Fund could make up the difference.

Proposed Ordinance No. 962 further amends Ordinance No. 829 to allow a three-year extension of the *BAN related to the purchase of the Midvale Avenue N property while the City evaluates options for pursuing a future bond measure for an aquatics and community center.

*A Bond Anticipation Note (BAN) is a short-term interest-bearing security issued in advance of a larger, future bond issue. Bond anticipation notes are smaller short-term bonds that are issued by corporations and governments, such as local municipalities, wishing to generate funds for upcoming projects.

We have received approval to implement this process for the park improvement projects. This method is more efficient and will allow us to bring in the projects at the lowest cost with the highest level of flexibility in accomplishing what we’ve promised to the residents.


What 4 properties were purchased with bond anticipation notes (BAN)?
  • Reply: They were the properties at Rotary Park but I will confirm it.
Looking at components for making up the shortfall due to inflation, how is the General Fund allowed to support that?
  • Reply: The General Fund can support any of the City’s other funds.
I’m very pleased with the aggressive approach to these projects and look forward to seeing them.

I have a question regarding the storage property on Midvale Avenue N. We need to have a policy discussion about what we are going to do with this property: whether we’re going to hold it, what we’re going to do with it, and what’s going on. I’m concerned about putting this in with an ordinance that’s about new parks. How do we have that policy discussion? Rolling this in with a pretty unrelated bond measure means we not having a discussion for a long time.
  • Reply: Right now we’re doing a feasibility study around options for a future pool and community center so I think the policy discussion would happen at that time. With interest rates going up, we think it’s better to lock in a rate now.
  • Reply Debbie Tarry: We are getting $100k planning grant to use with the cities of Kenmore and Lake Forest Park for looking into alternatives for locating an aquatics solution in North King County. We’ll be able to see how the storage property fits into that.
We did a good analysis about where the aquatic facility should be. This property has always been central to the city and I don’t see why we would consider moving away from it unless another property became available that would be better.

Why not put the property on the market right now?
  • Reply: We have options. This extension can be prepaid anytime giving us full flexibility. Otherwise we would be holding it for 3 years and paying the interest which is less flexible.
These are two separate ordinances presented at once, so we could pull one without affecting the other?
  • Reply: Yes.
Councilmembers are in agreement that this ordinance be brought back on the Consent Calendar.

8(c) Discussion of the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) Update: Draft Transit, Shared-use Mobility, and Pedestrian Plan

Presented by Nora Daley-Peng, Senior Transportation Planner

The purpose of this agenda item is to provide the City Council with the fifth in a series of briefings about the TMP with a presentation on the TMP draft Transit, Shared-use Mobility, and Pedestrian Plans.

The City is actively working with Sound Transit, King County Metro, and Community Transit to plan effective bus connections to/from the future light rail stations as well as throughout our city. Since King County Metro, Community Transit, and Sound Transit operate transit service in Shoreline, the City’s investments in transit service are generally limited to providing access to transit and hosting transit service on city streets.

Shoreline wants additional transit service on the priority corridors to enhance speed and reliability for the community.

Shared-use mobility is a fairly new concept in transportation planning. It focuses on providing multiple forms of transportation that people can share either at the same time such as taking a bus, carpool, or light rail or one after the other, like using bike share, scooter share, or car share.

Mobility hubs are places of connectivity where different modes of transportation come together seamlessly at concentrations of employment, housing, shopping, and recreation. They can include space for bike share, scooter share, car share, as well as curb space for ride hailing services like Uber and Lyft. 

They also can provide creature comforts like public bathrooms, information kiosks, outdoor seating, bike parking, public art, and cell-phone recharging stations. Shoreline is looking at potentially 18 mobility hubs. The study, Making Better Connections: Shoreline Shared-Use Mobility Study can be seen here.

The draft pedestrian plan considered existing as well as planned sidewalks, trails, pedestrian/bicycle bridges and pathways. Staff did not propose any additional new sidewalks since that was covered in the Sidewalk Prioritization Plan process.

Staff will return to Council to present the TMP draft Bicycle Plan on April 18.


Where will the funding come from for the Mobility Hubs, recognizing that some things will be provided by a private operator (scooter share for example)?
  • Reply: This is pretty high level at this point, and you are correct. We need to recognize that we need to maximize use of light rail by providing these hubs, but we haven’t drilled down to funding yet. We wanted to identify strategic locations as a good first step. There could be the potential for partnerships or future grants. We looked at this as an emerging technology that we want to plan for, and if there is interest, move into a feasibility study.
There is a balance between visionary and achievable. Places other than around the light rail stations may not have right-of-way property available and partnerships are unlikely outside of the station areas. I’m ok with the concept, but I don’t want to put a lot of emphasis on this because there are a lot of other priorities (sidewalks, potholes, bike lanes).

I think there are sidewalks that need to be built and should be added to this plan.

How will Outreach #3 work as we emerge from virtual meetings? Are we going to do any in-person outreach? Or all online?
  • Reply: We’ve looked at strategies to connect to all people. Pop-up Posters is one idea. We want you to see them everywhere from school cafeterias to Hopelink. We want to make them self-guided posters with comment cards. We will also include added staff hours, an online survey and yard signs with QR codes. We will also prepare shorter 3 minute powerpoint presentations instead of 5 minutes, recognizing that people’s time is limited.
Thank you for your efforts to assist in addressing climate change by encouraging people to get out of their cars. We need people to be enthusiastic.

8(d) Update on the Wastewater Rate Study Project and Policy Discussion

Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director, introduced
Gordon Wilson, Senior Program Manager, FCS Group, who made the presentation.

The City assumed the Ronald Wastewater District on April 30, 2021. After assumption,
the City retained FCS Group (FCSG) to conduct a wastewater rate structure.

Issue 1: Capital Funding Tools
The key idea here is that there is a difference between cost responsibility and financing.
Financing is just a matter of paying now or paying later. The big question is whether somebody else will need to pay (grants, contractual partnerships, property owner funding) or whether we need to pay (rate funding, reserves, debt). Changing cost responsibility makes a big difference. If it’s just a shift in the timing, it makes a smaller difference.

  • Cash funding (pay as you go) is good for repair and replacement projects that are scalable and that you can plan for far in advance. It avoids interest but adds the cost of inflation.
  • Debt financing is useful for really large one-time projects where, if you had to wait to get it funded, you’d pay a lot more in inflation costs. But you’ll add interest.
It’s a balancing act, but you don’t want to lean on debt too heavily. We’ll come back to you later this summer with what balance makes sense for this utility. Ronald WW came to the City without any outstanding debt. So the City has a good starting point.

Issue 2: Low-Income Customer Assistance Programs
Washington State may be the only state that has explicit Statutory Authority for Low-Income Rates. 

Some states prohibit it, still others are silent on it.

There are four levels of utility assistance programs. Shoreline currently has level one which applies to seniors who own their own home. Unfortunately it only reaches about 5% of the low-income residents. 

Should Shoreline expand this program? Again, there are trade-offs. Larger participation in assistance programs can affect the rates paid by others. This is a complicated topic, so the details of an expanded low-income program might not be ready within the time frame of this rate study.

Issue 3: Wastewater Rate Design Options
Current residential customers are charged two separate charges for wastewater service:
  1. City charge which is a flat charge per unit to recover cost of collection, transmission and administration and
  2. Treatment charge which is a flat charge per unit to recover treatment costs paid to King County or the City of Edmonds. Most of these costs are paid to King County, based directly on the number of residential customer-equivalents (RCEs).
There has been recent interest in whether to incorporate a volumetric component to residential wastewater rates. Having looked the considerations for Shoreline, we suggest keeping the current flat rate design.


I support the staff recommendations for #1 and #3. My only hope in terms of the broad financing piece, is that we continue to contribute enough maintenance that we’re continuing to make strides in keeping the system working well. We need to stay ahead of maintenance needs.

We are giving thousands of dollars to Hopelink for utility assistance. I realize we need to do more to remove the barriers to people applying for this assistance, but through Hopelink we’re providing this assistance already to people who are living in multifamily households. I think we can do more and I think we should. Designing our own program might be overly complicated to administer.

  • Reply: If we teamed with Seattle City Light and we accepted their qualification, it might make it a pretty limited administrative burden. SCL has about 2,200 Shoreline residents that currently receive their low income reduction. Rebates to renters would be a tremendous administrative burden so that is why we did not recommend that level of utility assistance.
  • Reply Gordon Wilson: I did not include Hopelink when I referred to only 5% of residents receiving reduced utility bills because I don’t have data on that. The question that every municipality is struggling with now: is that enough? Should we be more aggressive to make sure that all the people affected by the rate increases (that we have to consider in order to keep our system up) are provided with enough support? Do we want to go there? Right now you have 310 people in the wastewater reduced utility program. If SCL has 2,200, that means there are a lot more people out there who need help. But the rate impact of expanding from 310 to 2,200 would be really noticeable. If you broaden the base by that much, maybe we should offer something less than a 50% discount in order to keep the rate impact manageable. Also, administrative costs will undoubtedly be charged to Shoreline by SCL so we can’t really avoid administrative costs. And the rate revenue has to be made up. Is it worth charging everybody 3.1% more in order to help low income people by $31/month? That’s the question and you can’t answer that without the numbers.
  • Sara Lane responds: That is why we are recommending that we model a couple of different options that staff could bring back, because the variables are incredible. If Council is interested in exploring this further, we could model a couple of different options and see what that looks like and provide more guidance for Council. You might then realize you can’t do that option.

I don’t think people think of utility bills separately. We talk about the cost of housing which is inclusive of utility bills. So as we work to try to reduce the cost of housing, the utility bills will be a little less of a burden.

If we reduce the cost of utilities here, the money still has to come from somewhere. So we will really need to see more numbers.

Rates are going to go up, and they’re going to keep going up very significantly. We need to keep that in mind in trying to determine the most efficient way with the limited funding the we have.

The cost of utilities is a real burden on a lot of seniors and low-income adults. Paying utility bills for them can help prevent evictions.

The entry points for these homelessness programs on the West Coast are so much greater than the City can handle. So we need to keep people in their homes. There’s not much we can do about affordable housing. This is something we CAN do. Utilities are a big deal. We need to look at all options. And we need to do something rather than nothing. .

Meeting Adjourned 9:24pm


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