by Jack Mayne 
The once every 10 year exercise in recreating a comprehensive plan to accommodate the newcomers to the city was begun Monday night in the Burien City Council monthly study session.
The critter rules are proposed to allow miniature goats, maybe even grown-up goats after more study, but the city will ban noisy birds like peacocks and the already banned almost everywhere crowing roosters.
The Council also heard the first blush to lower the density of the Lake Burien community from moderate to low density. One concern is whether a low impact development technique known as infiltration is feasible. No action was taken pending a public hearing before the Council later on.
Comprehensive Plan update
David Johanson, senior planner, began the Council on its required update and changes in the city’s comprehensive plan that the Council will begin debating at its regular meeting next Monday, Dec. 1.
Last updated in 2003, plan reworking was started at the beginning of 2014 and has been shaped and approved by the city Planning Commission, and now is before the Council for final approval, by state law no later than June 2015.
A comprehensive plan is implemented by city actions, such as project reviews, land use provisions and development regulation, Johanson said, but also is influenced by state laws such as the Growth Management Act and the Shoreline master plan.
It is also shaped by forecasts in population growth, job type growth and the amount of housing needed to accommodate the growth. The Puget Sound Regional Council has forecasted most of the growth for core cities, such as Burien, to be in service businesses.
The plan has to prepare the city for the growth that is forecasted in the Puget Sound region, Johanson said.
Provide enough housing
“The overarching goal is we want to preserve, improve and expand the housing stock to provide a range of affordable healthy and safe housing for every resident,” Johanson said.
The city has taken a housing survey of existing housing, how affordable it was, did a unit count and surveyed conditions, even looked at trends and employment directions. The housing stock is on the margins and the city needs to keep that in mind when making regulations and decisions that affect housing development.
A challenge was there was no broken out census data for the south part of the North Highline Unincorporated Area that Burien has annexed, Johanson told the Council.
The 2010 census data showed that the median countywide household income was $69,346 while the Burien median income was lower, at $49,921.
Another statistic was that 43 percent of Burien residents were paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing.
Johanson said all of the figures show that Burien has an aging population and number of people in a household is shrinking.
Here are some relevant screenshots from a Powerpoint presentation:
Goats welcome; no roosters
Community Development Director Chip Davis said the city staff was proposing “defining potbelly pigs” and a definition of setbacks and enclosures for miniature goats and for “domestic fowl.”
One revision in the city master plan was the number and type of animals that can be kept on housing lots.
The current regulations were adopted from the King County standards and, Davis said, “were probably better suited for rural and large lot suburban areas” than for a city. He noted that the city had gotten more requests for “more flexibility in the code for the keeping of fowls, small animals, livestock and beehives on smaller lots.”
Davis said that in response to the request, a survey of seven “jurisdictions” that have amended animal codes since 2010 and the result was proposed amendments to Burien’s standards.
“Better definitions of potbelly pigs and miniature goats are proposed” for the size of the critters and for consistency in the city code, Davis said. The city is proposing rules on the maximum number of miniature goats and fowl and how they are housed and fed.
Peacocks would be banned along with roosters because they are noisy, he said.
Deputy Mayor Bob Edgar wanted to know what the city could do about people abandoning small animals.
“We don’t have any enforcement provisions in our code at this point for abandoned or abused animals,” Davis said, adding the city relies on King County Humane Society on its provisions for these animals. The issue did not seem to be appropriate in the zoning code.
Edgar said that may be true, but the city should consider regulations.
Councilmember Gerald Robison wondered why the number three chickens or three rabbits were selected.
“People I know that keep rabbits or chickens generally keep more than three,” he said.
Davis said the number was kept from the previous city code but people have complained about the limit.
Mayor Lucy Krakowiak said the staff could look into Robison’s suggestion to add other miniature livestock and also do a survey of nearby city’s rules on the subject.