Notes from Shoreline City Council meeting June 13, 2022

Friday, June 17, 2022

Reporter Pam Cross
Shoreline City Council 
Regular Meeting
June 13, 2022

Notes by Pam Cross

Tonight’s Regular meeting is conducted in a hybrid manner with both in-person and virtual options to attend and participate.

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

Flag Salute and Roll Call

All Councilmembers were present. CM Roberts, Mork, and McConnell attended remotely.

I, Keith Scully, Mayor of the City of Shoreline, on behalf of the Shoreline City Council, do hereby proclaim June 19, 2022 as JUNETEENTH in the City of Shoreline and encourage all people to celebrate and take action to achieve racial justice for all. Juneteenth is celebrated nationally as the end of chattel slavery.

Approval of the Agenda
Agenda approved by unanimous consent.

Report of the City Manager, Debbie Tarry

Artists Myron Curry and Vincent Keele have painted a new mural on the wall of the Shoreline Secure Storage property on Midvale and N 178th St to celebrate Juneteenth.

Vandalized Interurban Trail repairs

Last week to have your voice heard by taking the Climate Action Plan Survey

Watch the weather forecast before you leave for Saturday’s Walk.

Public Reminders
The Planning Commission will hold a hybrid (remote/in-person) meeting on Thursday, June 16, at 7pm in the Council Chamber to discuss the Economic Development Forecast

The PRCS/Tree Board will hold a remote meeting (via Zoom) on Thursday, June 23 at 7pm

Shoreline City Hall will be closed on Monday, June 20 in recognition of the Juneteenth holiday.
There will be no Council meeting on June 20. The next Council meeting will be held on Monday, June 27, 2022.

Council Reports
Deputy Mayor Robertson attended the North King County Coalition on Homelessness meeting. There was a preview of the upcoming budget for the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA). They are planning to provide more severe weather assistance with another potential for a hot period this summer. The other thing under consideration is having the North KingCo cities provide the money they currently spend on homelessness to the Authority for administration of the funds. Current commitments will be honored and the cities will provide guidance. More information will follow as this idea is developed.

Mayor Scully stated that on the Consent Calendar, Council will be appointing the new youth members for the Parks and Tree Board. He want to take a minute to thank David Lin, who served two years on the parks board and was a great contributor.

Public Comment
Each speaker allowed 3 minutes. Both in-person and remote attendees have an opportunity to speak. There were 10 written comments at the time this report was prepared.

Regarding 8(a) Discussion on Tenant Protection Regulations
Randy Bannecker, Seattle-King County Realtors
MariLyn Yim, Seattle, Shoreline property owner
Will Toaspern, Community Policy Specialist at Solid Ground (a homelessness resource)

The Oaks Enhanced Shelter
Jackie Kurle, Shoreline

20th Ave NW Sidewalk Design
Kathleen Russell, Shoreline

Proposed Apartment on Linden Ave N
Derek Blackwell, Shoreline

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

Study Item 8(a) Discussion on Tenant Protection Regulations

The staff report will be presented by Jim Hammond, Intergovernmental Program Manager.

This report will provide a broad overview of the current state of tenant protection at the state level and in communities around King County as a result of the end of tenant protections provided during the pandemic. This is a very early stage discussion that was requested by Council. It is not proposed legislation. And tonight’s discussion will not be complete because it is introductory for Council to discuss and determine whatever else might be desired.

Tenant advocates have proposed the following protections:Increased number of days notice for rent increases;
  • Cap on late fees;
  • Cap on move-in fees;
  • Right to a payment plan for up-front fees (deposit, first/last month’s rent);
  • Alteration of rent due date - important if paid monthly or on a fixed income because payments may not coincide with rent due date;
  • Barring discrimination due to immigrant status;
  • Barring requirement of a social security number (a background or credit check can be done using other information);
  • Barring some additional signatory requirements;
  • Banning abusive, deceptive, unfair practices;
  • Providing relocation assistance to low-income tenants in certain circumstances such as building condemned, owner sells or moves back into residence. Currently it is focusing on rent increased for low income renters;
  • Just cause eviction. State law does cover most of this but not all;
  • Rental registration and inspection in order to capture all rentals in a known jurisdiction;
  • Barring rent increases if property is in poor condition;
  • Right to live with family - cannot evict a dependent child;
  • Prohibiting criminal background checks.
These protections have been adopted in varying degrees by different local jurisdictions.

The City of Kenmore was brought up in public comment today. Kenmore is still considering several other protections. It is notable that in Kenmore, these are enforceable through a private right of action. That is, they are basically defenses to eviction that need to be brought by the tenant through legal action.

Again, this is intended to be an introduction to the topic organized around a model ordinance provided by tenant advocates. Other stakeholders, such as landlords, have not been contacted.

Does Council want us to study this further?


Unfortunately this subject didn’t make it on the agenda for the Council Retreat, when we, as a group, decide what the Work Plan is (actions and tasks that will be performed by staff).

Every time we have to add to the Work Plan it requires time and money for staff. So we do this very carefully and respectfully. We have to be mindful of our resources. Because there is so much here I feel uncomfortable adding this to our Work Plan for this year.

Yes, I would like us to spend more time. Ultimately I would like to see us answer some of these questions. I think the things that Kenmore has done align with my feelings on what is most important. And I also want us to have a robust stakeholder process. That will slow us down but we need to hear from both landlords and renters.

I agree both landlords and tenants should be listened to.

The ability to change the rent due date for people on a fixed income is important and should be looked at right away. These are all big questions. We need to provide some additional security for our renters, but not at the expense of single family housing and “mom and pop” landlords.

As an owner of rentals in Shoreline, I have learned the importance of feeling good about the renter. Although it’s not even in here, credit is the one saving grace for owners to fall back on to protect our investment. Not having that in there makes me very nervous. Seattle has seen a significant reduction in rental single family homes since they have implemented many of these things. Single family home rentals are more affordable than multi-family housing because they are older and smaller but meet the needs of people who really want to live in a home with some land around it and possibly a fenced yard. We need to prepare for unintended consequences if we implement some of these policy changes. We don’t want to take away the incentive for owners to offer these rentals.

Shoreline says we are an “all inclusive” city. We seek to do what is in the best interests of the majority. Some of these items are morally right and invest in a balanced and equitable city. Because these policies are not in place, some people can’t afford to live in Shoreline and move away. Some people who can actually afford to live here may never care for the city and won’t make any impact, volunteer, or even lift a finger when it comes to necessary things to be done with the city. We need to think this through. I think we need to move this ahead - even 2022 or 2024.

We don’t want “mom and pop” landlords selling and thereby reducing the inventory of affordable units here. But eviction moratoriums are over, and there has been a big spike in rents. I would like to discuss as part of Work Plan for 2022-2024.

This is a very complicated issue. I can see both sides having spent much of my life as a renter. What would come off the table in order to make time for this?
  • Reply: I’m just speaking theoretically. We want to know what Council thinks.
  • Reply Debbie Tarry: We wanted to know what the Council discussion would be tonight before talking about what would come off. We don’t have a Housing Office, as such, so we don’t have a specialist in this area. We would have to go back and see if there’s something else that could be put on hold. If there’s flexibility of when this would come back, then that would give us more leeway.
I’m of two minds on this. On the one hand, importantly, the proposals do make a lot of sense. I hope that these will be addressed by the State Legislature. Tenants in Shoreline or Edmonds deserve the same protections as Seattle. City lines are not as important because you go where housing is affordable for you, where you have access to public transportation to your job, and other resources. If you don’t have children so a particular school district isn’t important, where you want to live is much broader than just one jurisdiction. When I was moving from the University District, Shoreline was just another city to me. The protections are important for Shoreline tenants at this moment but what we should be looking at is a statewide standard.

The problem I have with Kenmore’s approach is that it depends on the private right of action - how will lower income tenants afford an attorney? And, since fines and penalties are relatively smaller amounts, how many attorneys are going to take a case, do the research, and spend the time to seek a $1,000 remedy? I think the city has to do the enforcement. To go out and say to the landlord: you are violating an ordinance and here is a civil infraction. The city is the one to enforce legislation. And I think this a big piece of the picture. If the state enacts the laws, then the state is the enforcement agency. It’s hard for a city to do, especially one the size of Shoreline.

How many units are we talking about that are “mom and pop” landlords? We don’t have the data - at least I haven’t seen it. Without the data we are relying on anecdotal evidence. We need the data so we can address the actual problems instead of just what we’ve heard. This is not simple. If we exclude “mom and pop’s,” and say they represent 75% of available units, that’s a lot of people we’re not protecting.

There is a housing shortage in Shoreline and Seattle. But if we could just wave a magic wand and start building more housing, it’s not going to solve all of these challenges. Rent increases are affected by the amount of housing stock we have. I’m happy Shoreline is encouraging new housing throughout the City.

The Washington State Landlord-Tenant Law is pretty robust. Many of the things we’re discussing here are already in state law in some form. For example, if the property is defective or dangerous you are allowed to withhold rent. So we would kind of re-define that to “poor condition” so we’d have to come up with a definition of poor condition and add a separate condition which is no rent increase. That doesn’t get us any better off. The state adopted “just cause.” It might not be perfect but will get worked out with stakeholders. 60 day to 120 notice for rent increase doesn’t get us where we want to be. Regarding a family member’s right to live with family: if you have a family member that is a problem they wouldn’t be allowed to live on their own because of this bad behavior so you backdoor them in by having them live with a family member. I agree conceptually with everything but I’m not sure these details move the needle enough for me to modify our Work Plan. Also, I would like to see the just revised (last year or the year before) State Law operate a bit and see if we really have the emergency that I think people perceive that there is.

What I’ve heard so far, is that three Councilmembers would like to see this move forward and four prefer to schedule for next year’s retreat, where we can see a more robust staff report and then have a more robust discussion.

I think we should start accumulating the data now for the future discussion.

The size of a rent increase should determine the number of required days notice.

Currently landlords don’t have the rights that tenants have, and some tenants take advantage of their knowledge of the system. It takes at least two months to evict someone who has stopped paying rent. Even if I collected the 1st, last and deposit, I’m still not going to break even. Owners of single family rentals don’t raise rent by large amounts because we want to keep good renters. The rent will increase to market rate when tenants move out and new ones move in. There are programs that help people get the money to move (Hopelink, for example). Let’s not think of landlords as the bad guys.

Study Item 8(b) 10 Year Financial Sustainability Plan Update: Strategy #7 – Levy Lid Lift Renewal

The staff report will be presented by Sara Lane, Administrative Services Director.

Shoreline’s 10 year Financial Sustainability Plan was adopted in 2014. With that we established a 10 Year Financial Sustainability Model that allows us to project revenues and expenditures out for 10 years. One of the seven strategies in the Model is a Levy Lid Lift (LLL).

In November 2001, Washington State voters passed Initiative 747. This limited the increase in the City of Shoreline’s levy by the lesser of one percent or the percentage increase in the implicit price deflator (IPD), unless voters have approved LLL by a majority vote (50% plus 1).

A LLL can last up to 6 years. The rate can increase every year. The current one is due to expire in December 2022.

Should Council place the 2016 Levy Lid Lift on the ballot?

To answer this question, the City Manager engaged the Financial Sustainability Advisory Committee-2022 (FSAC-22) in early 2022. FSAC-22 met six times between March 10 and May 19. The results are, in part: 
  • The City Council should place a measure on the November 2022 ballot for a LLL
  • The LLL should seek to maintain the current level of City services.
  • Committee members had differences of opinion on if the LLL should expand services to address emerging issues;
  • The committee did not come to an agreement on a recommended first year Levy Lid Lift rate.
The operating budget 10-year forecast projects potential budget gaps to occur beginning in 2024 with a cumulative size totaling $22.937 million over the 10-year forecast period. These potential budget gaps will not materialize, of course, as the City of Shoreline is required by law to pass a balanced budget. So this would require that we find other sources of revenue or fill with fund balance or most likely reduce expenditures which means reduction of services.

Four options are provided in the staff report. Option 2 is the staff recommendation.

Option 2 – Add Regional Mobile Crisis Response Program to Serve North King County Cities, Partial Funding of Support Services to Maintain Operational Programs and Increased Park Maintenance Staff in Conjunction with New Park Properties to Maintain Level of Service.

This option increases the City’s investment in the Regional Mobile Crisis Response Program to Serve North King County Cities (current RADAR Program) to allow for 24/7 coverage in Shoreline, would fund approximately half of the needed support services staff, and will add one full time employee to maintain park maintenance level of service as new park properties are developed. 

It would not provide funding to maintain service levels in other areas such as code enforcement and recreation and would only fund a portion of the identified support service needs. The new tax rate for 2023 would be set at $1.39766, close to the same rate that was established in the first year of the 2016 levy lid lift, and the lid for the ensuing years would be “lifted” each year by a percentage increase tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).


The current Levy Lid Lift will expire. So on the above slide, “no action” would remove the old Lid Lift, so that taxes actually decrease?
  • Reply: Correct. The current one will expire at the end of the year and they would recalculate the rate which results in a decrease in our rate down to $1.02.
What is the current levy rate so we can compare what people are paying now to what we might be asking them to pay in the first year of the new levy lid lift?
  • Reply: It is $1.13 and we will add a column to this chart to show that.
Why don’t we use fund balance instead of the yearly increases?
  • Reply: It’s not sustainable.
People want to see improved public safety such as RADAR.

It’s up the the Council to determine what programs will be enhanced, rather than to state in the levy what the funds are for. That would tie the hands of future councils.
  • Reply: we are working with bond council now to make sure that doesn’t happen but we needed some way to lay out how to get to a rate. We will be careful creating the wording.
  • Reply Debbie Tarry: This is kind of like what you might see with a City Manager recommendation but we recognize that the final decision is for Council to determine. It’s just to provide some context for conversation.
How uncomfortable are you with option 1? We’re going to have growth around light rail in the next few years and we will need staff in order to handle the increased needs.
  • Reply: My biggest concern is voter acceptance and there is also a slightly higher risk should assessed valuations decrease.
  • Reply Debbie Tarry: I agree. There is a comfort level around the same rate. It’s important to remember it’s not just the rate, it’s the valuation of housing. Even going from the current rate to $1.40 is an increase in property taxes. Our projections are conservative but fairly telling of what the future would look like and hopefully there would be more budget flexibility.
We are coming out of the last 6-year period which was different from any other. We have always passed these.

I prefer Option 1 for the additional revenue for various needs.

What about people who see these increases as a hardship?
  • Reply: Senior, low income, the disabled can be included in the resolution permitting them to apply for an exemption. In the past, this has not resulted in a big decrease in tax revenue.
Does population growth have any impact on this?
  • Reply: Population growth that comes along with development is included in the forecast at a low level with the expectation that costs increase along with the population growth.
This will come back as a choice between options 1 and 2 on June 27.

Meeting adjourned.

NOTE: Confused about how a Levy Lid Lift works? Go the the following link. It’s from Shoreline, it’s current, and it uses simplified examples.


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