LETTER: ‘Tell the Burien City Council to support affordable housing and vote YES’

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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:]

Tell the Burien City Council to Support Affordable Housing and Vote YES on Comprehensive Plan Land Use Amendment PLA-18-0533!

This coming Monday the Burien City Council will be voting on a proposed comprehensive plan amendment that would allow Mary’s Place to build affordable housing our city so desperately needs. We need as many people as possible to come out and tell our councilmembers to SUPPORT AFFORDABLE HOUSING NOW! This issue cannot wait – we have homeless families on the streets, more families facing housing insecurity, and a shortage of safe places for them to go. Mary’s Place will help our community address the housing crisis in our city.

The more I research this the more I see it as a win-win for all parties.

Citizens of Shorewood and Mary’s Place,
The citizens of Shorewood have asked Mary’s Place to negotiate and compromise to minimize impact to the neighborhood. Mary’s place has complied and offered to build fewer units with less impact; lower density at the top of the hill and higher density at the bottom of the hill.

Some Burien Council Members are concerned the funding isn’t there or that scab labor will be employed? Washington State and King county have expressed interest in funding the project. With this commitment comes the assurance that the project will be built with Union Labor. The MLK Labor Council approves this project.

What’s at stake?
As we learned at Fox Cove Apartments, there is no guarantee of affordable housing. Here we have a rare opportunity to work with an organization that wants to help our community – ALL the citizens of Burien.

What’s the process?
The process is simple – amend the comprehensive plan. Vote YES to change the comprehensive plan so the permit application can move forward

A YES vote means that the:

  • Planning process can start
  • Permitting process can start
  • Funding process can continue
  • Negotiations with the Shorewood neighbors can be finalized
  • Parking, traffic and site issues can be addressed

A NO vote will effectively kill this project for 3 YEARS. Only with a Yes vote can the above can begin.

Why Wouldn’t the Burien City Council approve to amend the Comprehensive Plan?
That’s a very good question and we don’t know why when the:

  • Planning commission, recommends a YES vote.
  • City Attorney, recommends a YES vote.
  • City Planner, recommends a YES vote.

Why wouldn’t the Burien City Council vote yes to approve to amend the comprehensive plan?
This will provide much needed affordable housing on the fastest timeline?

  • The neighbors of Shorewood and Mary’s place have reasonably accommodated one another?
  • Washington State and King County will fund it and it will be built by workers receiving living wage jobs?
  • The trusted servants and employees of the city recommend it?

What would happen if Mary’s Place,
Gave up and re-sold the property?

  • The site is currently zoned for office buildings.
  • If a developer comes in they will cover the footprint with the biggest tallest development they can.
  • The lot will be fully covered as the zoning allows, the citizens of Shorewood will have to take comfort with the set backs and trees required by the zoning requirements.

Mary’s Place tried again in 3 years

  • We would repeat this all over again just like Ground Hog Day.

Please join us on Monday night in sending a message that the people of Burien demand the council takes action to address our housing crisis and meet the needs of our people by providing affordable housing for some of our most vulnerable residents. I strongly encourage everyone to sign up for public comment at the meeting, and have your voice heard on this. Bring your friends and neighbors, bring signs showing support, and tell the Burien City Council to respect the needs of the people and to do what they were elected for; to do what’s best for the City of Burien and to show the leadership needed to guide us to a better future.

David Feinberg

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