Update: Burien council once again rejects Lake Burien land-use request
(Editor's Note: This update reflects corrections to the previously-posted story.)
The Burien City Council rebuffed Lake Burien residents again April 1 in their efforts to have the city’s land use map changed to show the neighborhood as low-density use.
Mayor Brian Bennett and council members Jack Block Jr., Rose Clark, Gerald Robison and Joan McGilton opposed placing the request on the 2013 comprehensive plan amendments docket. Deputy Mayor Lucy Krakowiak and Councilmember Bob Edgar voted to place it on the docket.
The vote was not on approving the request but just on whether the city should consider the matter further.
‘It’s like the Supreme Court deciding which cases to take,” City Manager Mike Martin noted.
The council is expected to vote on the comprehensive plan amendments at the end of the year.
The City Council has previously rejected the proposal. The proposal is not eligible to be put back on the docket for another three years after rejection unless circumstances have changed.
During public comments a tag team of Lake Burien residents argued the neighborhood has markedly changed since 2010 when the request was on the plan docket.
Robert and Robbie Howell, Linda Plein and Chestine Edgar said the lake’s water quality has significantly declined due to inadequate storm water management facilities for the area. They said the city has neither the money nor resources to remedy the problem in the next 10 to 15 years.
They pointed to incidents of flooding and showed photos of toxic algae on the lake.
Senior Planner David Johanson said the city had not received an application to add the Lake Burien proposal before the application deadline.
Chestine Edgar did e-mail a request March 1 to place it on the work docket. According to Edgar, it is the right of any citizen to have a valid land use request to be considered for the docket. She said the neighborhood had paid for the research in 2010.
If the council had decided to add the request, the city not the Lake Burien residents would have had to pay to study the matter further. That rankled some lawmakers,
Deputy Mayor Krakowiak moved to add the request to the docket.
Councilmember Bob Edgar said the city had misinterpreted the state Growth Management Act and had not used best available science in deciding not to change the land use map for the Lake Burien neighborhood.
Councilmember Block suggested lake residents could assign development rights to a land conservancy group. Then the lots could not be divided in the future.
Councilmember Robison said the residents could also enact restrictive covenants to protect density.
After the council rejected adding the Lake Burien request to the docket, Edgar moved that the city’s critical area designations be consistently applied throughout the city in Burien’s comprehensive plan and maps.
Councilmember Clark denounced the motion as a back door way to address the proposed map change.
Edgar’s motion failed by a 2-5 vote as Krakowiak voted with Edgar.
Johanson told lawmakers the city had received one application for a zoning change.
Navos Mental Health Solutions applied for a rezone of the Ruth Dykeman Children’s Center from moderate density and single family residential to a special planning area. The facility is at South 152nd Avenue and 10th Avenue Southwest on Lake Burien.
Navos is planning to build a two-story apartment building for clients enrolled in programs at the campus. Other projects are also in the works at the campus. Construction will start this summer.
Navos officials noted the proposed amendment would change the zoning back to what it was in 2009. At that time, Dykeman officials planned to subdivide the property and build three residential lots to raise money.
Since then, Dykeman has merged with Navos. Navos is closing its children’s home in Queen Anne and consolidating programs at Dykeman.
Just before council members considered items for the 2013 docket, they approved the 2012 Comprehensive Plan Amendments, which included changes to north Burien zoning.
Mayor Bennett said passage of the 2012 amendments had been delayed to April 1 from December 2012 in order to hold a council public hearing.
These were the first zoning changes to north Burien since the area was annexed into Burien in 2010.
The rezoning focused on adding higher density to the west side of north Ambaum Boulevard and the Boulevard Park commercial area.
The council had previously changed some staff recommendations to accommodate individual property owners who told lawmakers they were in the process of developing their properties.
The last hurdle was a proposal by Robison to change the requirement that a new development show it would be “a benefit to the community.” Robison’s wanted the standard changed to“ not a net loss to the community.”
Bennett withdrew his previous concerns and Robison’s language was incorporated into the comprehensive plan.
The vote was 5-2 with Krakowiak and Edgar voting against final passage.