LETTER: ‘Minimum 400 plus Apartment units coming to our Town Square…’

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

City Planning Commission Meeting thoughts;

Hello, my name is Robert Richmond, I am concerned citizen of Burien. Having recently been to a City Planners Commission meeting, I thought it was my civic duty as a Real Estate Agent to advise you of the upcoming Zoning Code changes the City Council is about to vote YES on. There are going to be at the minimum 400 plus Apartment units coming to our Town Square.

I am concerned about this for 2 reasons:

  1. A thriving “Downtown Community” in my professional opinion, consist of not just retail but non retail business, restaurants, shops and green spaces. Which this zoning change would not accomplish.
  2. The economic impact of down grading our commercial core should not go unnoticed. There are other options/locations to our commercial core; (i.e. 160th and Ambaum is avail, 1st ave and 138th can be avail, 4th Ave S and 138th should be looked into as well). If we want to be creative why not combine a new Community Center into any project coming down the road?

Again I am not against the upcoming projects. What i question is the logic behind the location of the projects coming. I for one will be paying attention when our elections come around to see which council members are going to vote once again for “if you build it they will come.” A quote from a Commissioner at the last meeting was “I believe it’s been 20-25 yrs since anyone on this Commission last lived in an apartment.” They want to build 750-1100 sq ft Apartments, with “juliet” sized decks. They have already voted like this once for the Condo development in the town square and its just now 65% full, it was built in 2008 with 140 plus units.

They are going to vote YES on this change, that’s a fact of life with this council. So I say lets all pay attention to these projects because when Burien’s Apartment vacancies are at the highest in the region. And when we as a city are sitting on 300 plus empty, brand new apartment units, we will see which council member back tracks on their vote and then blames the “economy”, as was mentioned at the B-Town Blog debate this summer.

I have a feeling that they all will run from their vote to make this zoning change, just like they all ran from their annexation vote!

Thank you for your time,
Robert Richmond

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35 Responses to “LETTER: ‘Minimum 400 plus Apartment units coming to our Town Square…’”
  1. Vera says:

    There are not very many apartment vacancies in Burien right now. It’s kind of hard to find an apartment. We’ve been looking. But I do agree that they should not be built right in town square. That is ridiculous.
    It’s like when they tore down the funeral home to build a new fire station. Of all the eye sore buildings that could have come down, the nicest looking building was demolished. I’m surprised they are not going to start tearing up first ave again. Seems like that’s the only place in Burien that gets any attention. Sometimes I too really wonder about the decision making capability of whoever makes these decisions.

  2. Section 8 Apartments says:

    It’s a lot easier for someone to afford to rent an apartment than to save up the down payment for a condo.

    Those apartments would be full in less than 6 months.

    The only problem is they will be filled with more Section 8 Losers, who bring no money into the city, only more problems.

    Less apartments = Less problems.

    Normandy Park has few apartments & even fewer problems.

    • World Vision says:

      I agree,,are these going to be section 8 apartments? Why should the welfare live in the heart of the city when there are $ 300,000 condos near them? someone fill me in on this. Is it section 8??

      • Section 8 Apartments says:

        Apartments are the new Government Housing Projects.

        Now low life’s get to live next door to decent hard working people thanks to Section 8.

        Bring back the projects!!!!

  3. sureok says:

    This is socialism at it’s finest. No motivation to provide for yourself? No thought to family planning? No career? Let us provide you with a subsidized place next to transit and City Hall where you can access free internet and cheap or free transportation. Who cares about the average joe who bought a place next door. Who cares if his property values go down? His taxes won’t. We’ll use them to provide the above for you!

    I am sickened by the lack of personal responsibility for oneself and their families nowadays. To heck with it; we can all be myrmidons! Power to the Sheeple!

    • Eric says:

      “At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge,” said the gentleman, taking up a pen, “it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and Destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.”

      “Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

      “Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

      “And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

      “They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

      “The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?” said Scrooge.

      “Both very busy, sir.”

      “Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,” said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.”

      “Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,” returned the gentleman, “a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?”

      “Nothing!” Scrooge replied.

      “You wish to be anonymous?”

      “I wish to be left alone,” said Scrooge. “Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned — they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”

      “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

      “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

      Quote from “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.

      • sureok says:

        There are certainly those among us that need and deserve assistance. My above comment was not in reference to them. Many a crumb is stolen from a deserving mouth to feed a lazy one. I’m guessing though, that you didn’t grow up in the hood witnessing the cycle of dependence. No disrespect. The Christmas Carol is a touching story. Peace be with you and those that are truly in need here and around the globe.

  4. dcollier says:

    If you think you can keep section 8 housing out by charging higher rent, you better think again. The government is willing to fork over the higher rents. The only way to keep section 8 renters out is not to let them in in the first place because the moment you do, you will have an apartment building full of them.

    • Vera says:

      Of the 2+ million people in King County, only a small number of new section 8 vouchers will be issued over the next 5 years. Given the numbers, it is not likely that Burien is loaded with people who receive section 8 assistance.
      This is a benefit that our government thankfully provides to keep people with small children and disabled and senior citizens from living in a tent. Just because someone is a loser and lives in an apartment doesn’t mean they are on housing assistance.
      I know a man who recently died from the effects of Multiple Sclerosis at the ripe old age of 60 and lived independently almost to the end partly thanks to his Section 8 housing assistance. He was a Vietnam Vet and earned every penny of that assistance. He worked hard his whole life until he could no longer walk.
      You should try not to be so judgmental about people unless you know their story.

      • Clark says:

        Just because someone lives in an apartment doesn’t mean they’re a loser.

        • John Poitras says:

          The point is that it was NEVER in the plan for Town Center to be filled up with low cost apartments.. The apartments in of themselves are not the issue its the LOCATION!
          Town Center is the wrong place to put them. They will do NOTHING to stimulate the business climate in down town Burien. Wow what a huge attraction cost apartments are for bringing in business to downtown Burien! I am sure they will come from miles around just to admire them. (not)

          • Jennifer says:

            You are right John however; the conversation always turns to how horrible people who live in apartments are. they must all be low life, government sucking people. I live in an apartment, I am neither a low life or a government sucking person. I am also not section 8. I have lived in the same apartment for more than 10 years.That said I agree town sqaure shouldn’t have apartments. I would like to see more community driven development, a place to bring people together.

  5. John Poitras says:

    EVERY COUNCIL MEMBER that votes for this BS should be held accountable in November! Lets see who really cares about Burien. Any council member that votes Yes on this should be voted out of office.

    • dcollier says:

      The sky is not falling. What you mean to say, John, is that any council member that dares to vote against you should be voted out of office. Your group tried its best to get the Planning Commission to vote against downsizing new construction and they shot your group down. According to your thinking, every planning commissioner should be removed from office or at the very least tar and feathered. I am sure they conspired against your group.

      • John Poitras says:

        And WHAT group do you represent that would support low end apartments in down town Burien dcollier or whomever you are really are???

        Do you live in white center?

        Is that your plan because annexation got shot down?
        Promote a degeneration of downtown Burien so it becomes another white center?

        The planning commissioners are APPOINTED by the council and any of the planning commissioners that voted for this should NOT be reappointed. You support them of course because most of the current lot were in favor of annexation.
        You always against all reason oppose anyone that shot down your beloved annexation attempt but unfortunately for you the vast majority of the residents of BOTH Burien AND white center DON’T agree with you.
        Your group is a cancer on our town.

  6. Brian says:

    If you are unhappy with this…as I am. Please remember come November that Joey Martinez is currently on the Planning Commission and it needed to pass there before going to the City Council.

    • PanderBear Jack says:

      Please remember that Nancy Tosta is ALSO on the very same planning commission of which you speak.

      Regardless neither commissioner/candidate was at the meeting.

  7. H says:

    The town square condos never made any sense to me. Who would want to pay $300k+ for a view of the dollar store and surrounding apartments? I don’t think Burien needs any more housing until they focus on the crime and homelessness problems.

      • Elizabeth says:

        Except that, you are wrong in that to date about 75 of these condos (and there only about 124 residential units, not 140) have sold so there is a need and an interest for condos in the Burien core. Now that the economy is recovering and the prices have been adjusted they ARE SELLING and selling rather quickly. Perhaps another building that imitates the best of the existing one should be built and the units will sell. This will bring the kind of support for local business in the retail core we need.

        • Elizabeth says:

          In addition the responsibility for crime and homelessness is a government and society problem. Building condos is for the private sector with encouragement and cooperation from local government. As a local Burien person, soon to retire and with a good income I would appreciate more choices in Burien area for high quality housing that is suitable for a downsizing upper middle income couple.

        • Harry Hamlin says:

          The condos are selling at below the cost of property, construction and amortization. The original partners, lenders and holders in due course, wrote them down drastically after it became obvious that the planned original prices were unsustainable. The vacant acreage to the North was surrendered back to the city at a loss. Building more condos (or apartments} there would simply saddle us with more properties that have to be sold or rented at a loss. If there was a market for 300K+ condos downtown, private capital would have built them a generation ago.

          Section 8 apartments are not per se bad. Waitresses and baristas and retail employees are mostly nice people and they have to live somewhere. But, tying up land near the retail core with subsidized housing is so stupid that only someone with a degree in urban planning could have come up with it….

  8. WAKE UP BURIEN! says:


    The City of Seattle is trying to close all it’s own public housing projects to push the low life’s out of Seattte & into Burien, Seatac & Des Moines.

    The more Apartments built in the south end, the more people will show up in our neighborhoods bringing nothing but problems with them.

    Mo’ Apartments = Mo’ Problems.

    • sureok says:

      Indeed. Amazon is going to be on Lake Union with talks of employee housing on site or near by. Yessler Terrace is on the block; Holly Park and High Point were turned into mixed income. I have heard that SeaTac is slated to turn a good portion of Pac Hwy into low income housing opportunities granting access to light rail for said residents and those of Tukwila. So yes, it is happening.

      • WAKE UP BURIEN! says:

        Apartments used to be fine until the Government started closing it’s Housing Projects. Now with Section 8 & other Welfare programs the Gov’t is turning nearly every Apartment Building into the new Housing Projects.

        REALITY! Anyone that can afford to leave an Apartment will. The rest will be left to live next door to the lowlifes.

        Socialism is alive & well in the good old USA.

    • Jennifer says:

      Again more of the if you live in an apartment you are low class. So arrogant!

    • Harry Hamlin says:

      Most urban areas that are experiencing gentrification are exporting the underclass to satellite cities around the metropolitan core. Seattle hasn’t gone as far as say, Phoenix, where the cities of Chandler, Glendale, Coolidge, Apache Junction, Sunrise, Eloy and Casa Grande have become Maricopa County’s de facto relocation camps for the urban poor minorities and their attendant pathologies. But the demographic changes in Auburn, Kent and other towns in South King County are showing the same process to be at work here. Seattle will not upgrade the road network for ideological reasons. This puts a premium on living close to where you work. It’s only natural that Google programmers will force busboys and nurse’s aides out of downtown.

  9. Jack says:

    Why do I go to the West Seattle junction or Ballard to have lunch and shop? Because you can park and find neat stores, coffee shops and good restaurants all in a short distance. Why can’t Burien have a similar business model? It could promote itself as a fun community close to the airport for travelers. The Thursday market and family water park are a step in the right direction.

  10. Sarah says:

    There is no way to keep section eight out unless the owner of the property declines participation in this program. It is legal and within lawful rights to do so (I control over 1, 200 units with no section 8). Most owners won’t do this as income prevails.
    Yes, 400 units to town square will be a demise to downtown burien. This would require lease up efforts and strong lease expiration management. In times of economic downfall, now and tomorrow, *freebies* are offered as incentives to generate income. With concessions comes the less than crowd. Is our crime in burien not great enough already?
    Let’s couple this with a marijuana store close to a high school then we’ll see where the future of our town goes.
    We are a quaint little part of Burien. Lets keep it that way. We should model after Ballard.

  11. John Poitras says:

    Ditto Sarah. You raise the same concerns I have. There is a council meeting tonight. Lets see who votes to protect the developers interests and who votes to benefit the vast majority of burien residents. Allowing low cost rental apartments in town square is NOT in the best interests of burien residents or its down town business’s.
    People walking in Burien (especially at night) already have to avoid the bus terminal area do we really want to add town square to the avoid list also?

    • H says:

      Town Square is already on my avoid list. Whenever I walk through there I always get asked to buy or sell drugs, and there are people sleeping on the benches.

  12. devilsadvocate says:

    Put those babies right in the heart of the city..*muahhhhahahahaha*

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