Burien Council wants public’s view on keeping CARES as animal control agency 1by Jack Mayne With the animal control contract with nonprofit CARES coming to an end this summer, the Burien City Council was told Monday night (Feb. 1) that it may be asked to extend the contract through next January to allow consideration of a possibility of returning to Regional Animal Services of King County. The Council also heard again from a resident who feels his attempts to open a small piano bar in conjunction with a restaurant is being blocked by the Burien parking ordinance. CARES vs. RASKC With the contract with local animal control agency CARES, which stands for Community Animal Resource and Education Society, ending on Aug. 31, the city staff is preparing to seek bids for a new contract. But because of the length of time for the request for proposals is a lengthy one, the city staff may seek an extension of the contract until Jan. 31, 2017. The Burien staff would seek bids from contractors by this April, present them to the Council for a decision by May and select a vendor by June, said City Manager Kamuron Gurol, and have a contract ready to take effect next January, the same month the current CARES agreement would end if Council extended it beyond the end of August. The potential contract overlap would allow time for Regional Animal Services of King County, or RASKC, if it were selected by the Council, to get ready to take over animal control, he said. If CARES was reselected, then it would be a simple matter to again extend its contract, Gurol told the Council Councilmember Debi Wagner suggested that CARES provide a breakdown of their services for comparison with King County Animal Control and to collect community feedback on citizen comments on how CARES provides its services. Councilmember Steve Armstrong suggested gathering information on the costs of veterinarian services that CARES contracts out. Gurol said he heard Council interest in other cities views on their contracts with King County animal control and would return with more information and proposals in May or June. Piano bar blocked by parking ordinance? Burien resident John White again complained to the Council about the affects of the city’s parking ordinance. “I wouldn’t be here talking about parking if I lived in Seattle or any other city,” White said. “But, in this city, we have this parking issue called ‘the fee in lieu of.’” The ordinance provides that businesses have parking to support their customers or reach an agreement with other property owners to use their parking. White refers to the third option the city allows: pay a set fee the city as the “in lieu of” option. White said he is trying to expand a restaurant by adding a piano bar into a storage area and he says the city calls that a change of business and that makes the change subject to the city’s parking ordinance, which requires a fee of $120,000 for “in lieu of” parking stalls. He appealed the fee but while they were doing that, the fee went up from $7,000 a stall to nearly $10,000 a stall so “we are talking about $40,000 to open a piano bar.” White said that no businesses have ever paid for parking stalls “or been able to use this (ordinance) – not one.” “I plead for you guys to change this ordinance,” White said. The city manager said this was being considered in a review of the downtown “mobility study” which could make recommendations for changes in the zoning code, which would be needed to meet White’s request. Changes to the code would take several months to take effect. Gurol said White has proposed an exemption to the code for “businesses of a certain size,” something that the Council could decide to do. “What I cannot do is to invent a solution” for White’s problem of either providing the parking on site, through a shared agreement or paying the city fee, Gurol added. Councilmember Nancy Tosta wondered, “How do we do what we can to welcome” small businesses to come into and be successful in Burien. Mayor Lucy Krakowiak said the matter will be discussed at the March 28 study session on economic development. Gang unit needed Resident Patty Janssen said people in the city are concerned about public safety. “We’ve had several violent criminal activities that have happened in the last month – three of them involving shootings,” she said. “I learned last week that the (police) gang unit has been disbanded here in the city. We’re not out of the woods yet as far as gang activity is concerned.” Janssen said the unit included a “crime detective” who “did a lot of great work.’ The longer there is no gang unit, “the worse it is going to get,” she said and urged the Council to get the unit “back up and active.”]]>