City Council Begins Process of Reviewing Proposed Changes to Shoreline Plan

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by Ralph Nichols

Whether it’s hot or not, this summer promises to be long for Burien City Council members and staff and local shoreline property owners.

Tonight (June 14, 7 p.m.) begins their marathon process of reviewing proposed changes to the city’s Shoreline Master Program.

Council members, to whom process often seems paramount, agreed in May, following several prolonged discussions, on a process for review of revisions to Burien’s shoreline plan.

That split decision ended the process to plan this process, which took longer than it took Gen. George Patton to plan his legendary counter-attack in the Battle of the Bulge.

When reminded of this earlier, Mayor Joan McGilton quipped good-naturedly, “Patton was a general. This council is made up of seven strong-minded individuals!”

Tonight’s meeting will feature a panel of scientists who will discuss shoreline science, presenting to council members information about the health and ecology of Puget Sound and Lake Burien.

The panelists – Dr. Kathy Taylor from the state Department of Ecology, biologist Cassandra Moore from Grette Associates, and fisheries biologist Carl Hadley with Cedarock Consultants – will also discuss what can be done to protect and enhance these shoreline environments.

A second forum on shoreline issues will be held on June 21 at 7 p.m. when major issues in the proposed Shoreline Master Program update will be discussed.

Topics will include shoreline buffers and setbacks, non-conforming structures, bulkheads, vegetation, and public access, as well as what is required by the state Shoreline Management Plan and state shoreline guidelines,

Major concerns of these property owners – ability to resell homes, resale values and insurance – also will be addressed.

Following the presentations at both forums, audience members will be invited to participate in a facilitated question-and-answer session with the panelists and city council.

Robin McClelland will facilitate the presentations and question-and-answer session. McGilton earlier said she wanted these meetings to be conducted by a facilitator so she could participate rather than moderate.

City Manager Mike Martin and Community Development Director Scott Greenberg open the meeting with brief remarks. Each forum is scheduled to conclude around 9 p.m.

Following these introductions to shoreline plan review, which Councilman Gordon Shaw earlier dubbed “Shoreline 101,” the council will continue discussing the proposed revisions at their July 19 and Aug. 2 meetings.

A public hearing will be held on Aug. 16, with final discussion and adoption of an updated Burien Shoreline Master Program scheduled for a special meeting on Aug. 30.

Once the city’s plan is adopted, it will be submitted to Ecology for its review and final approval.

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