Shoreline council discusses sister cities, urban forestry, land conservation

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

By Oliver Moffat

At the June 17, 2024 meeting the Shoreline city council discussed sister cities, a million dollar urban forestry grant, and conservation of forest and farm land.

Sister City relationship with Akropong, Ghana

Earlier this year the city ended its twenty-year sister city relationship with Boryeong City, South Korea. Councilmember Eben Pobee has proposed forming a new sister city relationship with Akropong, Ghana. 

Pobee said, “Why start with Ghana? Well, the history is rich and it’s going to help a lot of people.” He added that the association would be sustainable and flexible, “the association is going to be setup in such a way that we can propose any other city under the umbrella,” Pobee said.

A map shows Shoreline parks and Disadvantaged Communities where a $1,000,000 grant would be spent for urban forestry

Forest Service Urban Forestry Grant

Shoreline received a million dollar grant from the Forest Service to benefit tree planting and urban forestry work in nine disadvantaged census blocks. Parks that will receive tree funds include Echo Lake Park, West Echo Lake Park, Edwin Pratt Park, Hamlin Park, South Woods Park, Ballinger Open Space Park, and Brugger’s Bog Park.

One of the census blocks designated as “disadvantaged” raised a question from Councilmember Keith Scully who asked “how on earth did Richmond Beach end up a disadvantaged area?” 

A map included in the staff report shows the census blocks nearest Point Wells in Richmond Beach have elevated “air toxics cancer risks” as designated by the EPA while a map from the Washington State Department of Ecology shows multiple sites across Shoreline awaiting toxic clean.

A map from the city’s Transfer of Development Rights proposal shows the neighborhoods that could receive increased urban density 

Transfer of Development Rights Conservation Revenue Sharing Program

The council reviewed a proposal intended to conserve farm and forest land elsewhere in King County while increasing urban density within Shoreline. The city has been discussing the program called Transfer of Development Rights (TDR), since at least 2005 but, according to Mayor Chris Roberts, “looks like next week will be the end of the TDR saga.”

Since 1998, the King County TDR market has allowed rural land owners to sell conservation rights to developers who then get to build bigger and denser buildings in urban areas. So far, only five of the thirty nine cities in King County have agreed to be receiving urban areas under the program (Seattle, Bellevue, Issaquah, Normandy Park and Sammamish).

To get more cities to participate, the state offers a complex revenue sharing model that (according to city staff) could generate as much as $12.8 million for the city. But the council criticized the tax scheme as overly complicated and city staff is concerned the program is too restrictive. Now King County is offering a simplified Revenue Sharing program that might pay Shoreline $2-$3 million to allow taller buildings with less parking.


Anonymous,  June 19, 2024 at 8:22 AM  

Looks like 34 county cities are looking out for their citizens and five aren't. The plan is to stack us up, deny roadway, and have parking as dense as Capital Hill. Time to pay more attention on who is on the city council.

Just My Opinion June 24, 2024 at 11:13 AM  

taller buildings around light rail, Aurora and 145th are ok with me. These big blocks of 4 or 5 stories are a waste of land. Can we also get open space/park/playground if allowed fewer parking spaces?

Anonymous,  June 24, 2024 at 11:17 AM  

Can we have a highrise apartment at the intersection of 5th NE and NE 165? The residents would have fabulous views in any direction. The little businesses developing there would get an economic boost, it wouldn't negatively impact the single family neighbors. Why it continues to be a bus parking lot is a mind boggle for me.

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