LETTER: Shorewood Neighborhood Preservation Coalition re: Mary’s Place

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader, and part of a recent ongoing discussion about Mary’s Place. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]

To: Burien City Council

From: The Shorewood Neighborhood Preservation Coalition

Date: Dec. 17, 2018

Subject: Shorewood’s Moderate Counter Compromise to Mary’s Place High Density Compromise

The Shorewood Neighborhood Preservation Coalition (Coalition) is sending this update regarding the Comprehensive Plan Land Use Map Amendment PLA 18-0533 (Amendment) submitted February 28, 2018 by Jessica Clawson, Mary’s Place Board Member/Lawyer, for a previous parcel owner Burien Hill, LLC.

This amendment requests a High Density land designation in a 60% low-density neighborhood – making it inconsistent with designation criteria of Burien’s Comprehensive Plan. If adopted, it will create an internal inconsistency between the Comp. Plan and Land Use Map which is unlawful.

Recently, Mary’s Place created a – 2/3rds High Density plus – Compromise and presented it to the Coalition and the City. The Coalition also wanted to make sure the City received a copy of our Coalition’s counter Compromise. It is attached to this e-mail. Neither Compromise has been accepted as of Dec. 16, 2018.

The Shorewood Neighborhood Preservation Coalition Made a Counter Proposal Because:

Our Coalition lawyer and the Coalition believe that the Mary’s Place Compromise did not provide enough protection for our 60% low-density single family Shorewood neighborhood. The description of how Mary’s Place intended to use the parcel within the Compromise didn’t pencil out when Coalition members attempted to sketch it on paper. Also, the proposal mischaracterized what Coalition members had asked for along 14th Avenue SW and we wanted that further clarified.

From the Mary’s Place description, it was unclear how the parcel was going to be sub plotted to accommodate two different land uses on the single parcel and still be compliant with the Burien Comprehensive Plan. Nowhere in the Burien Comp. Plan or in Title 19 BMCs and ordinances is there a goal, policy or provision for this kind of agreement for changes to the Burien Comp. Plan, members had concerns as to the legality of this or how the Council was to be approached for such a Compromise.

The Coalition wanted protections added for the neighborhood so that once this land use map change occurred that Mary’s Place would not subplot this parcel and sell sections of it off to other developers for High Density Multifamily Residential development. Mary’s Place has recently stated that it intends only to use the middle section of the property for sheltering women, children/families and they aren’t sure what they would do with the upper and lower sections, perhaps sub plot and sell them or use them for other needed uses and/or development.

Another concern was, while Mary’s Place is a nonprofit organization, the parcel is currently owned by the for-profit Mercer Investments II, LLC. Members wondered who they would really be making an agreement with on this Compromise. The Coalition feels that our Compromise for Moderate Density would easily serve Mary’s Place clients.

In conclusion, we recommend that the Council deny this amendment for High Density. The City Council should ONLY vote on this land use map amendment based on the land use designation criteria in the Comp. Plan, which is unmet, making it unlawful.

Thank you,
–Shorewood Neighborhood Preservation Coalition


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